Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (November 17)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood

The Killing of Polly Carter


When famous supermodel Polly Carter is found dead at the bottom of a cliff all signs point to suicide, but as the evidence continues to mount DI Richard Poole declares it to be a murder. Now, with a houseful of suspects Richard has to narrow the field and discover who the murderer is before it’s too late. At the same time his mother is arriving from England and throwing his whole perfectly ordered life into turmoil. Not only does she want to be involved in island life, but all signs are beginning to point to not all being right in Richard’s own family…something he cannot help but attempt to fix.NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


Detective Inspector Richard Poole sat on the verandah of his beachside shack looking up at the cloudless Caribbean sky in inarticulate outrage.

A passing parrot had just crapped in his cup of tea. It didn’t seem possible, but Richard had watched the little bugger fly in over the sea and defecate in mid-air, the little ball of released guano flying in a perfect parabola only to land in his English Breakfast Tea with an accuracy, Richard realised, that Barnes Wallis could only have dreamed of.

Chapter 1

Richard Poole’s dark secret was that his mother Jennifer was about to arrive on the island. Why on earth she’d chosen to visit on her own, Richard had no idea, but he also had no idea how he was going to get through two wees of keeping her company, and that seemed the more pressing problem.

Please note that these excerpts are taken from a proof copy

Do you want to know more?

If you have an opening to share, please leave your link in the comments box below

Posted in Books I have read

Cleopatra Loves Books is One Year Old Today

PicMonkey Collage

After debating whether or not to start a blog to hold my book reviews I finally got going one year ago today so I thought it would be nice to do a post to celebrate.

Although I’d been writing reviews for some time I like to think that those posted on my blog have more to say about what I have enjoyed or not enjoyed in a book.  My reviews are written with the aim of giving my readers enough information to decide if a book is for them with absolutely no spoilers.

I love receiving all your comments, the book blogging community were so welcoming and over time I have found others who share my love good books,  Here is a very small sample of those I admire:

FictionFan’s Book Reviews

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

Rebecca Bradley

Raven Crime Reads

Clothes in Books

Musings From a Bookmammal

The Games Afoot

This is a very short list but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who converse with me and of course for recommending even more great books for me to read.

I have a thing about data and whilst I prefer to have comments on my reviews, after all connecting with other book lovers is partly why I started to blog, I do like to check my stats. It is always pleasing to see how many visits my latest post has got but I also get great pleasure out of seeing people visiting my reviews after they have been up for a while.

The Ten Most Visited Book Reviews for One Year

in reverse order

The Secrets We Left Behind by Susan Elliot Wright; reviewed May 2014

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts; reviewed November 2013

Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters; reviewed December 2013Year Top ten PicMonkey Collage

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty; reviewed August 2013

Wake by Anna Hope; reviewed January 2014

Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary; reviewed February 2014

Before We Met by Lucinda Whitehouse; reviewed January 2014

That Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler; reviewed March 2014

The Book of You by Claire Kendal; reviewed February 2014

Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott; reviewed March 2014

The Ten Most Visited Book Reviews for The Last Quarter

in reverse order

The Kill by Jane Casey; reviewed June 2014

Spilt Milk by Amanda Hutchinson; reviewed July 2014Quarter PicMonkey Collage

The Good Girl  by Mary Kubica; reviewed August 2014

After I Left You by Alison Mercer; reviewed July 2014

The Book of You by Claire Kendal; reviewed February 2014

The Long Fall by Julia Crouch; reviewed June 2014

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey; reviewed May 2014

The Broken by Tamar Cohen; reviewed May 2014

The Secrets We Left Behind by Susan Elliot Wright; reviewed May 2014

Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott; reviewed March 2014


Now I am looking forward to many more years of talking about the books I love, and sometimes those that didn’t meet the mark and reading everyone else’s fantastic blogs – Thank you everyone!


Posted in Books I have read

Top 10 Books published in 2013

2013 was a great book reading year for me, I have read many great books of a variety of genres, although as usual the majority were crime fiction! It has been a real struggle to whittle this list down to 10 but here they are, in no particular order!

Click on the book covers to read my reviews.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction

My list starts with a book set in a bookshop. This was a great book for this booklover, with references as diverse as Paddington Bear and 1984 littering the pages, great characters and a bookshop I wanted to work in!

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them…
The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.
A superb psychological thriller set in Devon over one claustrophobic weekend in November 2013 this book rivals Barbara Vine for one of the best books in this genre.

Dot by Araminta Hall

Women's Fiction 5*
Women’s Fiction

a long-forgotten photograph of a man, his hair blowing in the breeze. Dot stares so long at the photograph the image begins to disintegrate before her eyes, and as the image fades it is replaced with one thought: ‘I think it’s definitely him.’
Secrets and female relationships dominate this book. Full of delightful characters with an undertone of humour to lighten the emotions that must surely melt the hardest of hearts.

Apple Tree Yard
by Louise Doughty

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction

Safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement, but you can never buy them back.

This powerful book was my surprise find of 2013. A women in court but how and why? At its core this is a book about how we perceive ourselves, through our own eyes and what is reflected back to us in the eyes of others.

Entry Island by Peter May

Crime Fiction  5*'s
Crime Fiction

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

I had the final part of the Lewis Trilogy down as a favourite of 2013 but have decided Peter May can’t have two books on the top ten (but if you haven’t read the Lewis Trilogy I suggest you do!) so have decided his latest book set between a past on the Isle of Lewis and the present in Canada was the winner for fantastic characters along with a well plotted tale of a woman accused of murder and a past that must be found.

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction

when a convict escapes from nearby Dartmoor prison, their isolation suddenly begins to feel more claustrophobic than free. Fearing for her children’s safety, Anna’s behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. But why is she so distant from her kind husband Robert, and why does she suspect something sinister of her son Paul? All teenagers have their difficult phases…

This was another great find part psychological thriller but containing elements of so much more; a mystery, a crime and relationships.

A Funeral for an Owl
by Jane Davis

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction

Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student.

This is one of those stories that stays with you long after you have closed the book. Jane Davis Davis really does bring characters to life, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers are all perfectly described along with their actions and reactions to events. (oh and if you have copy I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements!!)

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Women's Fiction   5*
Women’s Fiction

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.
Lisa Jewell really knows how to write a great story, her books never fail to delight me as they are so much more than ‘chick-lit’ they deal with serious issues without becoming depressing. This is my favourite (I think) of all her novels.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Women's Fiction 5*'s
Women’s Fiction

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Another great story-teller (I read What Alice Forgot after this one) with all the ingredients included; a believable plot, characters that are well-developed and writing that pulls the reader in from the first page, plus this isn’t the story you think it is going to be!

The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

He’s gone. And telling the truth won’t bring him back…
When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

A lot of tension in this book, this is definitely not light reading but it is certainly absorbing and haunting.

What did you think of these books?

Does your list contain any of them?

I’d love to see your links to your best reads of 2013 (as I always need more books to add to that TBR!)

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Last Boat – John F Hanley

Before I moved to Jersey, like every other child in the British Isles I learnt a lot about World War II in history lessons, but I never realised that the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans.  This happened when it was deemed by Ministry of War that the islands were indefensible. Now it may be that I wasn’t paying attention being more concerned with growing the hole in the sleeve of my jumper or whispering to my friends but I was truly surprised that it hadn’t been mentioned (I was quite good at and very interested in history)

Living here the signs of the occupation are still around and whenever we have guests to stay we go to the War Tunnels which demonstrates what life was like in the islands at that time.  Jersey War Tunnels

This means that being offered a free book to review which centres on the very cusp of that time, June to July 1940, is always going to be a fascinating read, but there is so much more to this book than familiar surnames and place names (although I love that part too)

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction

So here is my review:

The Last Boat is the sequel to Against the Tide and as the reader I was plunged straight back into Jack Renouf and his adventures along with all the other characters met in the first book. In all honesty I hadn’t realised how much I missed them all. The Last Boat brings an extra depth to these characters, Jack himself is a year older, a little wiser but still a young man with a lot to learn about life, love and himself.

The book starts in France in June 1940, Jack having left his studies due to the war is involved in the rescue of some of the thousands of Allied soldiers from the beaches around Dunkirk. This book has switched from swimming to sailing, the timings of the tides become crucial to the various missions that litter the pages as Jack begins to realise what type of man he really is. I found myself much more involved with the characters, I actually shed a tear before I was halfway through the book as actions and decisions in the past begin to have very real consequences in the present.

Living in Jersey and having often thought about the sheer enormousness of the decision the locals had to make; to stay and live under German rule or go and leave everything they knew behind, balancing the safety of their loved ones on an uncertain set of scales. John Hanley has done a fantastic job of bringing the scenes to life, those when it was clear the islands could not be defended along with the queues to register for evacuation.

So in conclusion don’t read this without reading Against the Tide, the characters you meet there will explain a lot in this story. Expect a more thoughtful book; the Famous Five mad missions, hiding and carrying out daring deeds, are all still there, but this time the magnitude of what is at stake is far more apparent. I loved it. there is something for everyone within the pages of this book, pure history, the story of a young man finding his way in the world along with some boat-fixing and various other mechanical skills I never knew I wanted to know.

John Hanley has provided some useful timelines and notes at the end of this book which I wish I’d realised whilst reading as they provide answers to some of the questions I had. I was even more delighted to discover that there is to be another episode to find out what happens to Jack and the others.
I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for this honest review.

See my review of the Against the Tide by clicking on the book cover.  I now wish I had asked for a physical book rather than the e-book as the symmetry  in the two covers look amazing.

Against the Tide

Read more about The Last Boat  and John F Hanley from HBS Author’s Spotlight or if you’d like to see a little bit more history regarding the Occupation look at the Jersey War Tunnels

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 25)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by  Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore

I am about half-way through this book and despite my fear that this wouldn’t be for me. I am really enjoying it. The stage act of the mediums in the early twentieth century is fascinating and I have got caught up in trying to work out what happened to Dacre, Lady Amelia’s brother. This is a fantastic bargain at 99p on


Epiphany and Martha are sisters with a stage mediumship act in Edwardian London. When they are asked to give a private spiritualist reading at the home of Lady Adelia Lyward to find out the truth about her brother’s death, Martha must face up to her past. For two years ago, her affair with Lord Rafe Lyward ended in pregnant disgrace, and her attempted suicide in the River Thames. But there is more at stake than Martha’s anonymous return, for Epiphany bears the burden of restoring the equilibrium, not just to the Lywards but to her sister and ultimately to herself.

The Historical Novel Society review “recommends “Equilibrium” to readers who enjoy historical fiction with spiritualist influences.” Amazon

Find more about the other books Evie Woolmore has written here

I have just finished The Bridesmaid by Jenny Scotti which features the murder of a 16 girl in an English village populated by the worst kind of villagers

The Bridesmaid

Click on the cover to read my review

Next I plan to read The Last Boat by John F. Hanley. This book is based in Jersey at the time of the German Occupation and follows on from his first book Against the Tide.

The Last Boat
Read a little bit more about these books and the author by clicking on the book cover

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (September 20)

Friday FindsHosted by

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Happy Friday everyone I hope you all found some good books this week…

Bearing in mind my post on Monday I would like to affirm I haven’t bought any books at all this week. I have however accepted a book to review from John Hanley, The Last Boat.

The Last Boat

… I know I have a whole stack of books to be reviewed but he flattered by saying he had liked my review of his first book Against the Tide, and this is the sequel so it would have been foolish to decline a book set where I live, on the beautiful island of Jersey

Against the Tide

Click the cover to see my review of Against the Tide

Our local paper the JEP ran an article on John and his book which can be read here

For my second piece of author news, Jasmine Sparks the author of Dolly let me know that this book is currently selling for a mere 77p on kindle at
So if you love a rags to riches saga click the book cover to see my review.

I have been restrained and only added a couple of other books to my TBR

Capable of Murder by Brian Kavanagh


Capable of Murder

An old lady’s decaying body is found lying at the bottom of the stairs.
The police believe it was simply an accidental fall that killed great-aunt Jane.
But was it?
When the young Australian Belinda Lawrence inherits her great-aunt’s ancient cottage and garden on the outskirts of Bath she is convinced it was murder.
Her unexpected legacy comes shrouded in mystery.
A secret room.
Unknown intruders.
A hidden ancient document.
And then a second terrible killing.
Suddenly Belinda Lawrence is plunged into a terrifying mystery.
Half of the village seem Capable of Murder.
And if she can’t find out who the killer is, she may be next.

The other book I had to add to the TBR was When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde which I came across courtesy of Andrea on in her Teaser Tuesdays post.

When I found you

When Nathan McCann discovers a newborn baby boy half buried in the woods, he assumes he’s found a tiny dead body. But then the baby moves and in one remarkable moment, Nathan’s life is changed forever.

The baby is sent to grow up with his grandmother, but Nathan can’t forget him and is compelled to pay her a visit. He asks for one simple promise – that one day she will introduce the boy to Nathan and tell him, ‘This is the man who found you in the woods.’

Years pass and Nathan assumes that the old lady has not kept her promise, until one day an angry, troubled boy arrives on his doorstep with a suitcase . . .

so another book about a child which I simply must find a slot to read very soon!

The Book Mammal also had three fantastic looking books about books in her post on Tuesday which also snuck there way onto my list but she did assure me 84 is a thin book so it won’t take up much room.


Forgotten Bookmarks

Read all about them here

Posted in My book problem, Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (September 16)


Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week… It is hosted by

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Monday ramble is about the number of books I own and haven’t read. My thoughts turned to organising my bookshelves when I saw that there was a book challenge from to clean out your e-reader.

I have spent a good portion of my weekend feeling organising, feeling guilty and so here is a post part confession and part dealing with my problem!


I have lots of books on my kindle that haven’t been read and sorted by genre only
I have no idea how much I paid or what they cost now
I also have books on my bookshelves, in cupboards, bags and other hidey holes that remain unread
I keep buying more kindle books
I keep buying more physical books
Until today I couldn’t face up to the size of my problem

Starting on Saturday I loaded an excel spread sheet and set to work to find out the magnitude of books to be read.

The verdict I have 48 unread kindle books dating back to October 2010
I have 32 unread physical books dating back to I really don’t know
The kindle books would cost £149.22 at today’s prices (good news is I got them for £67.33)

Realistically these 80 books will take me until the end of July 2014 if I don’t read anything else. That would mean no ARC’s and no author reviews; too sad to contemplate. Instead I have taken a few measures to tackle the problem as a compromise.

I have signed up to clean out your e-reader challenge and identified 9 books to be read in November

Clean out your e-reader Challenge
Click here to join up too

I have also sorted out 11 of the physical books and put them on one shelf in the bedroom. These I will read before the end of the year.

Pictures books to read

The next step is to exercise some willpower. I am not going to stop reading blogs and coming across books I want to read but I can’t buy every book.


I will not order anything else from my TBR, not even if they are in the daily deal, identified as a price drop on or for any other reason than I am going to read them within the next couple of days.

I will start sorting out the TBR over the next week or so and removing books I don’t really want to avoid the price drop temptation.
I will make proper notes on why I want a book so that I can review these lists regularly.

As penance I will listen to any other book confessions that need to be made by other’s with a similar affliction.

I have two bags of books to donate to the charity shop so someone else can enjoy them.

bags of books

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Until You’re Mine – Samantha Hayes

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller


Claudia seems to have the perfect life.
She’s heavily pregnant with a much-wanted baby, she has a loving husband, and a beautiful home.
And then Zoe steps into her life. Zoe has come to help Claudia when her baby arrives.
But there’s something about Zoe that Claudia doesn’t like. Or trust.
And when she finds Zoe in her bedroom, Claudia’s anxiety turns to real fear…

Warning this is not a good book to read while you are pregnant! If you are pregnant buy it for when you are cradling your baby in your arms during those sleepless nights ahead.

This is a book starts with the description of a young girl sprinkling her tiny-tears doll with ‘magic dust’ to bring her to life, when the girl has no live baby in her arms by the time she is twelve, she throws her doll onto the fire in disgust.

This book is dominated by mothers; mothers-to-be and women who long-to-be-mothers, step-mothers and mothers of teenagers. Underlying each page is the feeling that there are untold truths and half-told lies. The quest for the truth left me with a sense of unease, a longing to know what was going on while fearing what the next page would reveal. In short a great psychological thriller that made my heart race, gasp out loud shortly followed by a sharp intake of breath.
Samantha Hayes has an eye for detail in her descriptions particularly Claudia’s home with the worn stair carpet and locked study door. Zoe’s interactions with Claudia and her best friend Pip have an authentic feel, with the truths and lies exchanged with reddening faces and quivering limbs. This is a fast moving story which had me in it’s grip from the first page to the very last revelation.

If all that has enticed you to buy this book it was published in the UK 20 June 2013 but I’ve been advised that it is not out in the US until April 2014.

This was a hard book to review as there was very little I could add to the blurb without potentially ruining the story for anyone hoping to read this themselves. A good indication of how quickly you are into the action. For a couple of quotes from this book please see my Teaser Tuesdays post.

Previous books by Samantha Hayes

Blood Ties

Blood Ties

January 1992. A baby girl is left alone for a moment. Long enough for a mother to dash into a shop. Long enough for a child to be taken.

Thirteen years later, solicitor Robert Knight’s stepdaughter wins a place at a prestigious London school for the gifted. The only puzzle is his wife Erin’s reaction. Why is she so reluctant to let Ruby go? Doesn’t she want what’s best for her? As Erin grows more evasive, Robert can’t help but feel she has something to hide, and when he stumbles on mysterious letters, he discovers she has been lying to him. Somewhere in his wife’s past lies a secret; a shocking secret that threatens to destroy everything… Goodreads

This book grabs you from the start, it is every mother’s worst nightmare to have their child abducted but everything is not as it seems. The story covers the moment when a mother realises her baby is missing and then moves forward 13 years.

This book covers a lot of sensationalist subjects but it in a realistic way. One of the best books I’ve read this year, would certainly recommend it. (I gave this 5 stars when I reviewed it on Amazon)

You may detect a bit of a theme in Samantha’s subject matter here and my preferred reading. For years when my children ask what I am reading and I tell them they ask ‘does it have dead or lost children in it?’

A secret is about to destroy a family in Sam Hayes’ breathtaking follow-up to BLOOD TIES…

Mary Marshall would do anything for her daughter Julia. A devoted grandmother to Julia’s children, she’s always been the rock her family can rely on. Until now. Mary has a past Julia knows nothing about, and it’s come back to haunt her. Julia’s husband Murray French is walking a tightrope. A solicitor struggling with an alcohol problem, he’s about to lose his wife and his children to another man: someone successful, someone they deserve. Someone who’s everything he’s not. Can he ever get his family back? Just when Julia thinks life is starting to turn around, she stumbles upon the brutalised body of a girl she teaches. And as the terrible present starts to shed light on her mother’s past, Julia realises her family’s nightmare is only just beginning…

I enjoyed this book written from the viewpoint of a couple, Murray and Julia, on the verge of divorcing, and Mary Julia’s mother.

Mary is found mute by her daughter who visits for Christmas Day and the story revolves around what happened to cause this. Running parallel to this we learn about a local girl who Julia finds badly hurt nearby. The local GP David steps into help with Mary and Julia falls for him.

I’m not going to ruin the story, although a lot of it is fairly obvious I found myself eager to find out exactly what happened to all concerned. Some parts of the story are not convincing at all but still well worth a read.
I gave this one a 4* review on Amazon

Someone Else’s Son

Someone Else's Son

What would you do if your teenage son was stabbed to death in the school playground? That’s a question chat-show host Carrie Kent can well imagine posing to any one of her studio guests. Her daily morning TV show deals with real life in all it’s grubby glory – from underage sex to benefit swindlers, cheating partners to DNA testing. It’s a million miles away from her perfect, polished existence…But when she gets a call to say that her beloved son Max has been murdered, Carrie and her ex-husband Brody will have to enter a world of poverty, fear and violence if they want to find out what really happened. And when the shocking truth is finally revealed, will they be able to live with it…? A tense and powerful emotional thriller that asks: Do we ever really know our children? Goodreads

Carrie Kent is mother to Max, but more importantly in her eyes she is a chat show host which is a cross between Jeremy Kyle and Crimewatch. One day Max dies and the book revolves not only why he died but what was his life like before he died, Carrie needs to know because she hadn’t a clue while he was alive. Carrie realises that she has become just like the guests on her show when she had always felt so superior to them, now their worlds have collided.

Neither of the two mothers in this book are characters I could remotely sympathise with and, unfortunately, they appeared very two dimensional tabloid creations. There are also so many threads that don’t seem to go anywhere, I was sure that there would be some big revelation around why Brody and Carrie divorced but this never really happens, there is one paragraph where the reader is left to assume that the marriage broke down for good but again there wasn’t enough depth.

The story itself is good, there are elements that are realistic however the ending let it down as it was so unbelievable. The portrayal of Max and Dayna is thought provoking, they both felt themselves to be different from everyone else and both suffered because they weren’t part of the crowd.

In this one like her previous books Samantha Hayes tells an emotional tale this one just wasn’t quite as convincing.

I gave this 3*’s in my Amazon Review

Tell Tale
Tell Tale

What do you do when there’s no way out and nowhere left to hide? A woman stands on a bridge, the water rushing below, the wind catching her skirt. In a few seconds she will jump, plunging more than 200 feet to the bottom. Who is she? And why is she desperate to take her own life? Nina Kennedy is afraid. A man is following her, threatening her family, toying with her sanity. What does he want? And how long will it be before he strikes? Eight-year-old Ava sits waiting for her daddy. But, like the others in the children’s home, she knows her father will never come. The home is a place of whispers and shadows. But no one dare tell the truth. Until now …Goodreads

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (September 9)

musingmondays51 Hosted by Should be Reading

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

This week I’m musing about the use of Family History as Fiction; This genre combines two of my interests in one:

It I have traced some of my ancestors mainly through tracking them back through the UK Census using birth, marriage and death certificates to add a little flesh to the bones of this 10 year glimpse at their lives. I often wonder what their lives were really like. How did my Great-Grandmother cope at the age of 24 when she realised she was pregnant and unmarried at the turn of the century?  Funnily enough this wasn’t passed down in the oral history I’d been told by my beloved Grandmother. Oh, I knew that Rose, her mother, had married a man who had been widowed and was 20 years older than she was. No-one said that she married him 6 months to the day after his first wife had died and my Great-Aunt was born less than 4 months after that – I did the maths! I’m sure the internet has uncovered many such secrets from the past leaving those of us in the present to imagine the back-story.

I digress; Dan Waddell who wrote the tie-in the to the popular family history program Who Do You Think You Are then wrote his first novel, The Blood Detective, (nominated for he CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, the Macavity Debut Novel award in the USA and the Cezam Prix Littéraire in France.)

The Blood Detective

As dawn breaks over London, the body of a young man is discovered in a windswept Notting Hill churchyard. The killer has left Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster and his team a grisly, cryptic clue…
However it’s not until the clue is handed to Nigel Barnes, a specialist in compiling family trees, that the full message becomes spine-chillingly clear. For it leads Barnes back more than one hundred years – to the victim of a demented Victorian serial killer…
When a second body is discovered Foster needs Barnes’s skills more than ever. Because the murderer’s clues appear to run along the tangled bloodlines that lie between 1879 and now. And if Barnes is right about his blood-history, the killing spree has only just begun…
From the author of the bestselling Who Do You Think You Are? comes a haunting crime novel of blood-stained family histories and gruesome secrets. . .

He then followed up with Blood Atonement, featuring the same central characters, genealogist Nigel Barnes and DCI Grant Foster.

Blood Atonement


Katie Drake was an affluent single mother living in Queen’s Park – until someone cut her throat and tore out her tongue. Worse still, the killer has abducted her fourteen-year-old daughter, Naomi.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster quickly sees chilling parallels with the disappearance of teenager Leonie Stamey three years earlier. With hopes fading of finding Naomi alive, he calls on genealogist Nigel Barnes to piece together the links between the families of the two girls.
The trail leads Nigel back to 1890, when a young couple arrived in the UK. A husband and wife fleeing a terrible crime in their past, and harbouring a secret that’s now having bloody repercussions in the present …

Read more about Dan Waddell on his website

This led me to seek out other books in this genre and I came across Steve Robinson’s first book featuring Jefferson Tate. JT, to his friends is the genealogist who doesn’t know his own past but goes on thrilling adventures to find the truth in the past. His first adventure was within the pages of In the Blood

In the Blood

The story starts with American genealogist Jefferson Tayte, JT, having to board a plane to Heathrow before catching a train to Cornwall in order to complete an assignment for a client’s birthday, only problem is he is scared of flying. It took a while to get into the story as early on we are introduced to the Fairborne family boarding the boat, Betsy Rose, in America to sail to England in 1783. Once the JT had to Cornwall the parts from the past linked well with the many twists and turns happening.

JT is portrayed as a likeable character desperate to do a good job with integrity. There is quite a large cast of characters to get to know both in the past and in the present, and some of those baddies are really bad!!

This book is well written; it has a lot going for it and I would love to follow JT on his next adventure and maybe find his birth family in the process.

The second episode To the Grave and is set in World War II. This one is my favourite, possibly because of the time period.

To the Grave

Our American Genealogist Jefferson Tayte aka JT has been employed by Eliza Gray who has received a suitcase with some effects telling her that she was in fact adopted. JT travels to Leicestershire to discover who the mysterious Mena Lasseter was. The story of Mena is based towards the end of the war in 1944/45 but the current day story has just as much, if not more to offer.

The characters are well drawn and Mena’s story is an emotional one but at the same time there is a lot of intrigue in the present day. JT finds himself in danger but who wants to cover up what happened all those years ago.

This is a stand-alone story however I would suggest reading Steve Robinson’s previous book first. As before the genealogical angle is covered accurately but not laboriously so it only serves to enhance the story not get in the way of it.

This emotional, thrilling tale thoroughly deserves 5 stars, I can’t wait for the next one.

The latest book is called the Last Queen of England

The Last Queen of England
This time the story revolves around Queen Anne and the Jacobites, a period in history that I didn’t know much about. Jefferson Tayte meets his old mentor, Marcus Brown and soon there is a murder and a puzzle to be solved. This is a fast paced story with JT getting into all sorts of difficult situations as he races to finish what his friend had started.

The beauty of Steve Robinson’s books are they can all be read as stand-alone books as they are all so different. Each one is written in an engaging way with JT being a rounded likable character. In this outing we are introduced to Jean, another strong, well-defined character who adds a different dimension to JT and one that I am hoping stays for the next instalment.

To give the reader a history lesson in a way that enhances and doesn’t interfere with the story indicates what a good writer the author is. A thoroughly good read particularly for anyone interested in genealogy and history.

I love JT and was thrilled that Steve Robinson has got a signed contract with Amazon Publishing even though it may mean a slight delay in the next book. Read more about JT and Steve Robinson on his website

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 4)


This meme is hosted by

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson

House of Evidence


On a cold January morning in 1973, inside a stately old house in Reykjavik, blood pools around Jacob Kieler Junior from a fatal gunshot wound to his chest. Detective Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of forensics, is called to the scene and soon discovers something more unsettling than the murder itself: the deceased’s father, Jacob Kieler Senior, a railroad engineer, was shot to death in the same living room nearly thirty years earlier. The case was officially closed as a botched robbery.

Pálsson soon uncovers diaries that portray Kieler Senior as an ambitious man dedicated to bringing the railroad to Iceland no matter the cost. Sensing a deeper and darker mystery afoot, the detective and his colleagues piece together through the elder Kieler’s diaries a family history rich with deceit

I have just finished The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler you can read my review today!
The Bookstore

My next read is going to be Until You’re Mine by Sam Hayes

Until You're Mine


Psychological suspense that grips from the very first page.
‘It’s been an ache deep in my soul for as long as I can remember – a sickness, a malignant desire creeping through my body, winding its way around my veins.
All I wanted was to be a mother.
Is that too much to ask?’