#HappyNewYear #2023. Here are a number of #Fiction and #NonFiction Books in many genres I highly #Recommend from #2022 #BookRecommendations #BookReviews #BookWrap

I have reviewed many books in 2022 and what a privilege it has been too. Here are some that I highly recommend out of the many books I have reviewed in 2022. I also have included links to my full no spoiler reviews where you’ll also find the blurbs. The mix of crime fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs are in no particular order. Please also feel free to explore my blog for other great book reviews, author interviews and talks and theatre reviews.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn – An antique shop, antiques, a mysterious puzzle box, a trip to Egypt, a mention of the Canarvon Family (think the real Downton Abbey), all wrapped up in a wonderful book full of splendid characters.
Holly Hepburn has a new book coming this year that I will also be reviewing.

Check out the blurb and my review in the link: The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures

Suicide Thursday By Will Carver explores this and the darker corners of society. It’s a compulsive read with intriguing characters – Mike, Jackie and Eli. Will Eli leave a hated job and get past writing chapter 1 of a novel? What is written in texts? Find out the answers to these and more in Suicide Thursday.

Link to blurb and review –Suicide Thursday

All About Evie By Matson Taylor is a humorous second book to the much talked about The Miseducation of Evie Epworth that was a Radio 2 book club pick. There’s much humour mixed with poignancy and sadness. Find out what happens at a sound check at Broadcasting House, her friend, Caroline and life’s mishaps and incidents. It’s highly engaging. Find the blurb and review in the link: All About Evie

Yes, I Killed Her By Harry Fisher s full of chilling suspense. The question isn’t who, but it is how. How did a murderer commit such a calculated crime. Is it as perfect as he thinks? Here is a link to the blurb and full review. Remember, I’m not going to disclose the answers to those questions. That’s for you to discover yourselves: Yes, I Killed Her

Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan is book 3 of The Quirk Files. The books can be read as part of the series or as standalone as the cases each complete by the end of the book. The Quirks are quirky private investigators.

There are secrets to uncover, including who was Verity, why has she vanished and why is a tv station so interested in this particular case? It’s intriguing with wit. See blurb and review in the link –Verity Vanishes

Touching, haunting and a darn good unputdownable read. It takes place between Glasgow and H.M. Polmont Prison in Central Scotland. It’s gripping getting to know about what revelations unfold in Ginger and Wendy’s personalities and what happens to them. It’s a book of obsession and friendship and more in this contemporary fictional book… Find out more in the link to the blurb and my full review: Ginger And Me

The Homes By J.B. Mylet is set in an orphanage village in Scotland. Follow the lives of Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie, all from their points of views. How safe is The Homes? Murder strikes and everything changes in this fast-paced, immersive page-turner. It’s fiction based on a true story. Find out more in the link: The Homes

Remember Me by Charity Norman is gripping and addictive as the layers build up to discover what has happened to Leah, who has disappeared.

The book also follows Felix, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s authentically and sensitively written. Discover the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the link: Remember Me

Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell is enthralling in both setting and the relationships between all the characters. Meet Lachlan, a chef in high demand and Peggy, a formidable, yet fun woman who puts up a credible argument as to why he should follow her to Cornwall to cook his amazing food. Also meet Amber, Lachlan, Rafaelle and Vee as you step into idyllic scenery. Is all well though? What would you make of the mysterious letter? Find out more in my link about this beautiful, compelling book that perfectly captures the lives of its characters, who are concealing truths. Should I Tell You

White Christmas on Winter Street has all the festive feel-good vibes you can want. Unearth the treasures in Corner House in Middledip. It’s a rather moving book as Heather returns to discover new friends and old. Find out more in the link: White Christmas on Winter Street

The Little Wartime Library By Kate Thompson is about a courageous librarian who took Bethnal Green Library underground during World War 2. It is fascinating and is fiction based on fact. Lots of research was done, including asking librarians, including me, many questions that then formed the basis of the central character. The Little Wartime Library

The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies is about 2 people who are seemingly poles apart. 1 is becoming practically a recluse and increasingly elderly, the other, much younger in need of a job, which is how they meet. Little do they know they need each other more than they thought they would. It’s a heartwarming story. Find out more in the link: The Locked AwayLife

Love Untold by Ruth Jones is uplifting, emotional and endearing, It crosses the generations from a teenager right up to a 90 year old. It’s well observed in all the complexities of life and interactions.
Discover more such as the blurb and my review in the link. Love Untold

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre puts readers on an island. There’s a hen party set on a Scottish island. In some ways it’s a bit like And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie, but there are also many differences.

There are frictions amongst the guests and things take a sinister turn. It’s a well-observed book in the way relationships are between the characters and what happens when people are on a remote island. Everyone has a secret and no one is safe. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review: The Cliff House

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter is very humorous but also very poignant and thought provoking. Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling. There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. Follow Mia and Tristan through the ups and downs of life. Mia is especially more than you would perhaps assume she is… Here is the link to the blurb and full review: Cat Lady

Thrown is a debut novel by Sara Cox. It’s heartwarming and uplifting at a pottery class. It’s about community pulling together and friendships forming. There are elements that may well tug at your heartstrings. Here is the link to the blurb and review: Thrown

The Cruise by Catherine Cooper takes place on the most luxurious cruise-liner. The type that would be a holiday of a lifetime. Something mysterious happens and it is compelling to travel around to try to fit together all the pieces to discover how they all fit together and some truths. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. The Cruise

Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas is about 4 friends who have known each other for 25 years. Tragedy happens to one of them, meaning it is up to 3 of them to keep their bucketlist promise- to see the northern lights at Christmas. With themes of friendship, mortality and strength to carry on in the face of adversity and community, it’s an entertaining, heartwarming book. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. Keeping A Christmas Promise

The Echoes of Love By Jenny Ashcroft transports readers to the 1930’s to the 1940’s and then to 1970’s. It takes readers into the depths of love and war and how it reverberates years later. The book is set between Portsmouth in the UK and Crete. It is a story of war and love. A story unfolding at the BBC Broadcasting House. It is fascinating, poignant and beautifully written. Here is the link to my original review and the blurb. The Echoes of Love

Cooking the Book by various authors published by Hobeck Books also raised money for the Trussell Trust. It’s various short stories, each taking on a different sub-genres of crime fiction. Each also has a recipe you can create by each author. Here is the link to all the details Cooking The Books

The Language of Food is fiction based on fact. It takes reader into the life of a little known woman, by many, called Eliza Acton. She changed the course of cookery forever and when today’s cooks come across her, they are inspired by her story and style and have been influenced greatly by her. Annabel Abbs now opens up her life in this very interesting book. Here is the link to discover more: The Language of Food

Create Your Own Indoor Green by Joe Swift who is also an expert gardener on Gardeners World and various other programmes. The book is an easy step by step guide to indoor plants. It quite literally has everything you need to know, whether you’re getting started or already have indoor plants as there’s always more knowledge to be gained. There are handy hints and tips as well as growing and caring for them. I actually bought this for a friend after reviewing it and she is delighted. Find out the blurb and review in the link: Joe’s Create Your Own Indoor Green

Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, is a memoir where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. It’s a highly interesting read.
Women Like Us

One Night on The Island introduces readers to Cleo. She works for the magazine – Women Today and has an unusual assignment to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least. It’s an entertaining story with lots of heart and warmth. One Night On the Island

Mothers and Daughters By Erica James is a compelling story of family life and revelations. Families can be more complex than what they may first appear to be in this sweeping family drama. Mothers and Daughters

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…
This mixes fact and fiction with Marion and the UK Royal Family in a fascinating way, about a woman not everyone knows much about. The Good Servant

Wolf Pack By Will Dean is a Scandi-Noir.

Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn.
Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. It’s a gripping page-turner. Here is the link to the full review and blurb. Wolf Pack

The Empire By Michael Ball is exquisitely theatrical, after all, that is his background. It takes readers back in time to the glitz and glamour of 1922, where you’ll meet Jack Tredwell and a whole host of other cast. There are secrets and the future of the theatre itself is in jeopardy. It’s a page turner! Here’s my link to the blurb and rest of the review The Empire

Advertisement

#BookReview By Lou of The Locked Away Life By Drew Davies @Drew_Davies @bookouture #ContemporaryFiction #HeartwarmingRead

The Locked Away Life
By Drew Davies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have a review of The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies, thanks to the publisher, bookouture an immersive, heartwarming read with chance encounters, different lives and secrets. Discover the blurb and full review below.

 

Blurb

A lonely soul is on the verge of giving up. Can the kindness of a young stranger save her?

Esther has shut away herself in her vine-covered manor house on the top of a hill for as long as she can remember. Everyone in the village whispers about the scandal that broke her heart. She has cut herself off from the world – until now. Now, she needs help uncovering the mystery that has plagued her for decades…

On a sunny spring day, eighteen-year-old Bruno is in the local library when he spots an advert. The old lady on the hill is looking for internet lessons, and Bruno sees his chance. Forever the outsider, he can’t wait to escape the sleepy village – the paid position could be his ticket out of there.

Esther and Bruno have nothing in common, except that they are both in hiding, and their secrets are stopping them from truly living… Esther must come to terms with her past, and Bruno needs to figure out his future. Can these two strangers save one another?

Just as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, this page-turner is for anyone who has ever felt left behind or came close to giving up. Perfect for fans of Sally Page, Ruth Hogan and Mike Gayle.

Review

Unusually, there are two prologues. The first is heart rendering, with Bruno and the second, a terrifying moment with Esther and then it folds out into chapters with these two main characters, alternating with their colliding stories as it goes along as it explains all, how these 2 people meet. It goes right back to a chance encounter of 18 year old Bruno and an advertisement in the community library, one that is a book swap bit of a hair salon. Bruno answers the ad and this is when life changes for him and Esther, an older lady who requires some help. She’s funny in a way, in the beginning as in haha funny and quirky as well as in the tricky sort of manner of the word.

Esther needs help and Bruno needs money, so takes up the offer. She’s got quite a history and quite an attitude to growing ever older. She is also determined or stubborn and has decided she never wants to leave the Manor House she rattles around in. She would say determined, I’m sure, whereas Jane will reckon more stubborn and sees how Esther is no longer able to be as independent as she once was, which she recognises a little herself, as in a smidging.
It’s an interesting pairing, but a good one, showing young and old can come together in all sorts of circumstances and there be a maturity and a developing of that relationship of sorts, and with it’s these characters, it is engaging to see how they develop in their lives. It is intriguing to see the eaking out of secrets and how they both essentially needed each other, but prior to the chance encounter of an ad, they weren’t aware of each other’s existence.
There is also, throughout the relationship between Bruno and Dominic throughout, which brings some exploration of romance and queries around that and sexuality. It also then weaves into conversations with Esther.

Interestingly, it all ends in 2 epilogues. 1 for Esther and on for Bruno,

The manner the conversations come together are not only well observed, but make reading this book immersive and easy to lose yourself in the book’s, sometimes heart-rendering, sometimes heartwarming pages.

My Top Book Choices of 2020 by Lou #2020Reads #AdultFiction #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Thrillers #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Uplit

My Top Book Choices of 2020
Various Authors

I have read and reviewed a huge amount of very good books. It has taken a lot of time and consideration to whittle them down to create the Top Book Choices List. All those that did not make this particular list, were incredibly close. I have added links so you can easily see what the books are about. The books are in no particular order. Look out for my top Adult Non-Fiction List and my top Children’s Fiction List, both are in separate posts.

Top Adult Fiction Books

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman Click Here for More Info

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor Click Here for More Info

Killing Rock by Robert Daws Click Here for More Info

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton Click Here for More Info

What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft Click Here for More Info

Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Click Here for More Info

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver Click Here for More Info

Us Three by Ruth Jones Click Here for More Info

Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones Click Here for More Info

The Things I Want To Say but Can’t by Carla Christian Click Here for More Info

The House of Correction by Nicci French Click Here for More Info

Tell  Me How It Ends by Isabelle Grey Click Here for More Info

The Colours by Juliet Bates Click Here for More Info

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce Click Here for More Info

Letters From the Past by Erica James Click Here for More Info

One Step Behind by Lauren North Click Here for More Info

The Unravelling by Liz Treacher Click Here for More Info

Christmas With the Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell Click Here for More Info

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman Click Here for More Info

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie Click Here for More Info

Butterflies by D.E. McCluskey Click Here for More Info

Contacts by Mark Watson Click Here for More Info

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley Click Here for More Info

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Click Here for More Info

Summer on A Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft Click Here for More Info

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths Click Here for More Info

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley Click Here for More Info

Lion Heart by Ben Kane Click Here for More Info

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb Click Here for More Info

With Or Without You by Drew Davies Click Here for More Info

#Review of the poignant – With or Without You by Drew Davies @bookouture @Drew_Davies #Fiction #NewBook #SummerReading #BookReview

With or Without You
By Drew Davies
Rated: 4 stars ****

From the author of The Shape of Us and Dear Lily; Drew Davies brings you his latest book –With Or Without You. It is full of poignancy about life sometimes it can be taken for granted. It’s a great book to read as you follow the life of Mr and Mrs Dixit in this profound and uplifting and yet heartbreaking story.
I thank Bookouture for accepting my request to review this book by Drew Davies
Discover the blurb and full review below.

Blurb

With or Without You Cover.png‘How long does a coma last?’ I ask.

‘Days, weeks, months?’ the nurse replies with a shrug, although her eyes are very kind.

‘But on average?’

She just smiles, unable to give me an answer.

Wendy’s life can be neatly divided into two: before and after.

Before her husband’s car accident, it was just the two of them. They never took the train at rush hour, and they avoided their noisy neighbour upstairs. Naveem devoted his spare time to vintage train models, and Wendy to re-reading the well-thumbed pages of her favourite books. It didn’t matter what others thought about their small, quiet life together – they were happy.

After the coma, Wendy barely recognises herself. When she’s not holding the love of her life’s hand, accompanied by the beep of the life-support machine, who is she? The nurse tells her to talk to Naveem – that he can still hear her – but she doesn’t have a single thing to say.

Suddenly Wendy can’t bear the silence. She needs something, anything, to talk to Naveem about. Suddenly she’s losing herself at fairgrounds packed with crowds and candyfloss, she’s at the airport, waiting for the whoosh of the planes as they take off, making friends with the neighbour she has spent over a decade avoiding.

Knowing that every breath her husband takes might be his last, Wendy has no choice but to try to carry on without him. Should she feel guilty about living while his life is on pause? And when – if – he wakes up, will he still love the woman she has become?

This poignant, moving and uplifting tale is for anyone who has taken life for granted, neglected to say ‘I love you’ to their loved ones, or forgotten to find happiness in the little things. Perfect for fans of Josie Silver, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Jojo Moyes.

With or Without You Cover

Review

There’s quite lot of drama that unfolds. It’s poignant and thought-provoking about how life and loved ones etc can be taken for granted. It also shows very well how things can unexpectedly change in an instant.
The emotions that entail are powerful and realistically written. The book also at times can be sweet and uplifting. It’s a very good book to look out for this summer.

Mrs and Mr Naveem Dixit, from Chomley, are perhaps quite a typical couple from the rigmarole of hanging up a picture to the appliance shopping to the almost having to justify themselves about their childlessness status in a half-jokey kind of way. They are like many other couples, just getting on with what they have to do and the chores of life. Then everything changes… Mr Dixit is in an accident and is in a critical state.

Mrs Rampersad, their neighbour who is pretty brazen in attitude, is clearly trying to help by her immediate questions in her “urgent” manner, before Mrs Dixit has proper chance to gather thoughts and get her head around what has actually happened to her husband. She’s quite a contrast from Mrs Dixit. Her comments keep pricking throughout, with more intensity as the story between these 2 women unfolds. Somehow though, they become a little closer as Mrs Dixit starts to live life as her husband lies in hospital.
The way the story and characters are all knitted together creates moments that are heartbreaking and yet with moments that are uplifting and heartwarming.

Drew Davies takes readers through each emotional day that Mrs Dixit endures and means you are with her every step of the way as time unfolds. I liked this style. It fits this particular story very well and makes it feel realistic and will keep readers turning the pages to see how life progresses for each of the characters.

The subjects covered within this book makes this an important fictional work, because people seem to talk a quite a bit, taking things and people for granted. It’s also just a good story to sit down to with a cup of tea or a beverage of your choosing and enjoy.