#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

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#BookReview By Lou of Mothers and Daughters By Erica James @TheEricaJames @HQstories #MothersandDaughters #FamilyDrama #Fiction #BookRecommendation

Mothers and Daughters
By Erica James

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for Mothers and Daughters By Erica James. Thanks to publisher – HQ for inviting me and providing the e-book. Mothers and Daughters 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.
Find out more about it in the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Mothers and Daughters cover

Blurb

Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.

Review

The beginning is rather fun and shows up some of the idiocincrasies of the English language. Mothers and Daughters has plenty of wit and warmth throughout it as well as well-kept secrets that seep out into the fore…

Martha, who has Tom, would really like nothing more than a baby. She’s not just sensible, she is one for following every single rule, plus she has a plan and direction for where she wants her life to go. She is also super organised with a list containing everything she is going to do. She also really cares about her mum, who likes to do her bit for the community they live in and is newly widowed. Willow is the complete opposite in manner as she is much more easy-going. There is also Rick, who is quite controlling.

Exploring the characters and the dynamics between them is compelling to read as you see how the relationships between them and the manner in-which they do, evolve and change, especially between the mother and her daughters as a crisis forces certain secrets to come to the fore. These have a major impact on the family, significantly shifting the dynamics and perceptions of each other. As the characterisations unfold, readers get a good chance of really getting to know them well and belong with them on the page until the end as the characters all navigate their way through their lives and the revelations that come out.

The book is gripping and not all is as cosy as the title may suggest with its darker themes that are explored alongside the lighter ones in its short, very engaging chapters.

MothersAndDaughters_BTB_V2

 

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 Letters From the Past by Erica James @TheEricaJames @orionbooks #LettersFromThePast #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Letters From the Past
By Erica James
Rated: 5 stars *****

Thud!!! The book hit my doorstep in quite a fashion, life no other. It is incredibly welcome post, rather than the anonymous letters the characters within this book recieve. It is a book I am so excited at being invited by Anne Cater for the blog tour. Today I present my review of Letters From the Past, which is a glorious read from start to finish and is highly addictive. I also thank the publisher – Orion Books for sending me a delightful advance review copy (ARC) of the book.
Here you will find out a bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

 

About the Author

Erica James Author PicErica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-two including the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers Summer at the Lake, The Dandelion Years and Song of the Skylark. She has sold over 5 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into thirteen languages.
Erica won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in the beautiful Lake Como, Italy, which has become a second home to her. Her authentic characters are thanks to the fondness of striking up conversations with complete strangers.

Blurb

A compelling story of family, love and betrayal.

Autumn 1962, in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary, four women recieve anonymous letters which threaten to turn their lives upside down – and to unravel a secret that has been kept hidden for years.

Meanwhile, in the sunbaked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple is homesick for her beloved Island House. But on her return, shocked by events in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting her own long-held secret. Can Romily save the day, and seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

 

Letters From the Past cover

Review

Focussing on the late 30’s/ early 40s, but predominantly the early 1960’s, this is one totally fascinating story of secrets, posion-pen letters and relationships, history. This book has it all I loved it all. This is wonderful book that shows so much life and yet can be read with consummate ease as it has a magic of drawing you into everyone’s lives without a second thought. This is a book that spans across many generations and would appeal to many generations.

The book starts with the scars of the war. The book fascinates me because it mentions about the RAF (my step-great-grandfather was part of the RAF in both world wars). The book also takes readers to Bletchley Park, which has just always interested me.
Then there’s the 1960’s, such an interesting period of time. From beginning to end I just loved this book, it swept me up instantly and carried me away. Time didn’t matter, I was hooked and kept wanting to know more about the people within Melstad St Mary in Sussex and in Palm, Springs and the secrets that mount up.

Poisoned pen letters appear on people’s doorsteps. Every so often you get to see what the accusatory content of these letters are. There are twists and turns and abuses of power to be discovered in this book. It may be set in between the 40’s and the 60’s, but some of the themes feel very current.

Hope is an author and she and Romily helped get a small library off the ground. Again, this makes me smile because I know myself what it takes to do that, as I’ve done that in recent times. Funny how books can resonate with people, and that’s the thing with this book, there is plenty to capture people’s imaginations and plenty that people who did live through certain periods of time, will have memories of.

There are many characters to meet, but they are  nicely split up into short chapters of mostly the main characters, with others being weaved in. The book is just over 500 pages, but it really does not feel it because the chapters are so short, the story so absorbing from beginning to end. There is also the fact that the characters are divinely interesting and the more the book delves into them, the more I wanted to know about them, their lives and why they were getting the poisoned pen letters.

The book begins with Evelyn, such an interesting character with immense secrets from having worked in Bletchley Park. It is interesting seeing Evelyn’s life in the 1940’s and in 1962. There is Isabella, an actress who had finally made it and wasn’t only starring in films, but being recognised. Meanwhile there is Romily, who has impressively hidden a secret for a long time. There’s a love story going on with Stanley and Annelise (He is illiterate and insecure and yet reinvented his life, but still nervous around women. His scars from war and the way his own mother treated him are telling as his life story opens up more, revealing darker beginnings. Red is a Hollywood scriptwriter, but all isn’t well.
There’s also a glimpse into abusive relationships, abuses of power. There are twists and turns in all of the characters lives, no one’s life is straight forward.

This is a glorious book sweeping over history of the world war and 1962. Lots of the events are all mentioned from the storm, to Australia doing a £10 deal to attract UK citizens to set up residency there. It is fun reading about the dance moves to pop songs that were becoming trendy. The book glides along beautifully in its mix of fiction and historical facts and always at the centre of it all are the characters and their lives. I love that Erica James isn’t too heavy-handed on getting every fact down. The balance between fact and fiction is perfect. The story is perfect. This book has made me want to read many more books by Erica James. Of course I’d heard of her and I’d read a couple of years ago and enjoyed them, but this book has compelled me into wanting to read more.

All in all, I highly recommend this brilliant book, which was published just a few days ago.

*Please note, all views are my own and unbiased.

Erica James Letters From The Past BT Poster

 

An Online/Virtual Event with Erica James @EricaJames #LettersFromThePast #VirtualEvent #NewBook

So, regular readers of my blog will know, that I have been attending some online events and writing some of them up on my blog. Today I sat in a room and watched the author Erica James do a Q&A session. So take a look to find out a snap-shot of her new bestselling book and a little bit about this very successful author.

Letters From the Past cover

A New Book

She has a new Bestseller called Letters From the Past, set in the early 1960’s. It may be a large book, but the chapters are lovely and short and it sounds a book that many will enjoy. It is a sequel that to Coming Home to Island House, but stands perfectly well as a standalone.
Erica James talked of her sons living in Seattle and Tokyo and it was when she was in Seattle with her son there, driving by movie stars houses, that she then decided to set the scene for her character.
I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to review this wonderfully interesting sounding book on the 20th of April, so you will find out my thoughts and a little more about the story then, that will hopefully inspire you.

Inspiration

A place, something she sees, something that touches a nerve can inspire her.

Swallowtail Summer is set in Norfolk and for research she read up on, which she sounded quite taken by, and then travelled there to be in situ.

Pastimes

Erica James likes watching  some sport such as ice-skating and  gymnastics, her icon there being Olga Korbut. Her favourite sport of all is F1 racing. She also likes to do gardening and knitting. She clearly enjoys reading too as she has many books on her shelves.

Writing and Reading

For budding writers, she says read, write words on the page and don’t worry about who will read it, it might just be for you and that’s okay and enjoy the process.

Erica started writing as a hobby for escapism and then went on a writers course and a conference and it sounded like someone helped her out and she got an agent from Curtis Brown, who she is still with and got published by Orion. The writing came from a love of reading and she wondered if it was as fun writing a book as it was reading and it turned out, for her, it is and she has now written many books.

The covers of books have changed over the years to suit a new audience and as fashions change, book covers change. 

She enjoyed writing Letters from the Past and many of her other books.
She really likes A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, although perhaps one of its time and people find they themselves change over the years. It was interesting hearing her talk so candidly about going back to a book to re-read after many years.

She says A Breath of Fresh Air is a book of hers that would be great for escapism. I reckon, all of them are really good to try for that.  Also try out her latest, enticing sounding book – Letters From the Past.

A few of her many books