#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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A White Christmas on Winter St. By Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #ChristmasReads #Christmas #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Snow

A White Christmas on Winter St.
By Sue Moorcroft 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Feeling Christmassy yet? Whether yes, or no, A White Christmas on Winter St. is just the ticket/book to transport you there and into Middledip, a recurring place in Sue Moorcroft’s contemporary fiction tales. Join the snow furry down to the blurb and my review, containing my thoughts on the book.

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73F9387B-67D1-4EC3-9220-8B7C408ADE84Blurb

When Sky Terran returns to the village of Middledip after losing the job she loves, she anticipates a quiet Christmas getting used to her new life. However, the annual street decoration competition is coming up and this year, the residents of Winter Street are determined to win.

As she is pulled into the preparations, Sky quickly grows to love the quirky, tight-knit community she is now part of. Including the extremely handsome Daz, who soon becomes more than just a friendly neighbour.

But when Daz’s ex turns up determined to win him back and it seems he might not be the man Sky thought he was, she remembers how much allowing people into her life – and heart – can hurt. As the snow falls, will she and Daz find a way through – and help win a Christmas victory for Winter Street?

A gorgeously festive novel about love, family and the power of forgiveness from Sunday Times bestseller Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Phillipa Ashley.

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Review

It is always a treat to return to Middledip to find out what is going on and meeting the people within it. This time, the focus is on Sky Terran. She has returned to Middledip, having fond memories of the time when she was fostered by Nan Heather. Now, all grown up, she had a job that she leaves, to become a landlord/landlady, for reasons you’ll discover in the book.

As Sky moves back into Middledip, discovering Corner House and unearthing it’s treasures in the undergrowth, she also goes exploring and finds friends new and old, that are rather moving, but will Nan Heather still be there?

Amongst the cosy Christmas vibe that makes it easy to cosy up against the wintry weather elements, there’s some serious and passionate conversations amongst the people in Middledip, including  wildlife and trees. There are also personal challenges that affect characters directly and indirectly to varying degrees to face and deal with. They are sure to keep readers involved in this community, to see if they’re overcome. There’s a romance brewing, but will it reach sizzling point?

This is a Christmas book that’s a joy to unwrap and emerge in Middledip to discover what everyone is doing in the lead up to this Christmas. There’s much to entertain and intrigue as well as giving that cosy, heartwarming feeling, even on the coldest of days.

#Review of A Home In The Sun by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooks #SummerRead #Summer #Books

A Home In The Sun
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Home In the Sun is a great summer read by Sue Moorcroft. Readers can escape to Malta, with it’s beautiful scenery and find out about Judith’s complicated life of love and woe and more… It is a delight for these hot weather days and nights. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.
I thank Avon Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me a book.
Please note, my review is unbiased.

A Home In the Sun

A gorgeous summer read about new beginnings from the Sunday Times bestseller.

Home is where the heart is…but what if your heart is broken?

When Judith loses her partner, she loses her life in Malta too – including the beautiful view from her sun-warmed balcony of the sparkling blue waters of Sliema Creek.

Back in England, Judith finds a spare room in her sister’s house where she grew up – but with it comes a whole host of family dramas. Nursing a broken heart, Judith knows she must find happiness again – and rebuild her life on her own terms.

Could an island in the sun be the answer she is looking for?

A wonderfully escapist summer read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.

Review

A Home In the SunWho can, on a hot, balmy summer’s day, resist that title?

Judith McAllistair, in 2000 is 40 and lives in Malta and is hungry for change. New millenium, start of a new decade in her life, newly single, she sees it the perfect time to make changes. Already new romance is on the horizon with Georgio Zammit. All isn’t as it seems with a peel back of the sun and scenery, into the culture of Malta, one that makes this potential romance tricky and a bit squirmy. It’s a part of their culture that isn’t talked about as it resembles very little to the tourist scene, but is part of real life for the permanent population. It gives a very interesting insight for people wanting to reside there, that becomes compelling. The summer vibe is also all there, adding to that blissful summery mood.

The book moves to the first chapter and time has also moved onto April 2004 and there’s sizzling romance and it oozes with delightful scenery and diving is on the agenda. Everything is idyllic and has, even though, Judith is living in Malta, it has that easy holiday feel atmosphere, until tragedy strikes and her world of new hot passion is turned upside down and she is brought to earth with a jolt.

There is time for readers to soak up the Maltese sun and surroundings, which makes it lovely to escape into, amongst the challenges of the characters lives, which also takes readers to England in a move that isn’t taken lightly and ends up in Birnham, where welcomings aren’t all terribly warm and emotions are high and adjusting and building a new life is harder than it is assumed to be. There are serious money issues and the need for a new job and huge decisions to make about what it is she wants to do and not do for a living. It is fun meeting everyone, but not always easy for Judith to be reunited with people. As if that isn’t enough to contend with. there is an unexpected issue involving a snake…

In part 2, time slinks into 2005. There are secrets to keep and lives for Judith to watch moving on and to be halted by more tragedy that is beautifully observed in the writing.

The writing has everything from sadness, anger, humour and overriding all of that is absolute pure drama as the past affects the present and future and how lives can move on and keeps you guessing how they can and if that is possible and where Judith will end up in her life – England or Malta?

#Review by Lou – Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #WomensFiction #Romance #Fiction

Under the Italian Sun
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Family members to discover, loss and lovely scenery and food, Under the Italian Sun will play with your emotions in a journey from the very south of England to Italy. It is all quite intriguing to see lives unearthed as ancestry is uncovered.
Discover more in the blurb and review as you escape to being Under The Italian Sun.

Thanks to Ellie Pilcher at Avon Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me an e-book.

Under The Italian Sun

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with an uplifting, escapist read that will brighten the gloomiest day!

A warm, sun-baked terrace.

The rustle of verdant green vines.

The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.

And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…

Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.

When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.

However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…

This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?

Review

Under The Italian SunThe book deals with loss of a gran and family discovery of where you come from. It begins with Zia and Ursula looking through belongings, left behind by Zia’s gran for clues to who her father was/is. There is also the mystery as to who Victoria Chalmers was and how she may have fit into the family. There’s a lot of unravelling, a bit like “Long Lost Family” and trying to piece together Zia’s family tree, which is of much interest, and Zia is on a mission to discover all, by hiring Harry – a private investigator and things get rather complicated. There’s also the burgeoning romance that brings characters together on this adventure.

The valley where Zia and Ursula go to in Italy – Tenuta Domenicali, in Orvieto wine region, is awash with grape vines for wine, where Emiliano works on the production side, which belongs to the Domenicali family. There’s much to consider for the business and whether to sell to a big company with big tourist ideas and plans for development or to decline the offer. 

The book goes between Italy and Devon and brings up some real issues about affordability in the very south of England, or rather lack of it and how everything is vastly expensive.

There is an air of holiday time about the book, which makes it a lovely, beautifully written book to read whilst on a staycation or in your garden with the sun beating down on you or curled up somewhere in your home. The book is both uplifting and emotional. It isn’t a heavy read, although it deals with grief, it still has that lazy summer’s day feel about it. It may also make you hungry with some of the lovely food that is mentioned.

As Under the Italian Sun continues, it is intriguing to see how the vines of family connections intertwine. There are birth and death certificates to be found and the details that come with those. It’s a book that may even inspire some readers to investigate their family history to see what they can unearth.

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

#Bookreview by Lou of the charming – Christmas Wishes by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK

Christmas Wishes
By Sue Moorcroft
Rated: 5 stars *****

A lovely, charming book for those longer, wintry nights.
See full blurb and review below.
Thanks to Ellie Pilcher at Avon Books for accepting my request to review.

Christmas Wishes

Blurb

A sparkling Christmas read from the Sunday Times bestseller – perfect to snuggle up with this winter!

Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.

But fate is keeping them apart…

When Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after. When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?

A heartwarming story of love, friendship, and Christmas magic, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Jill Mansell.

Christmas Wishes

Review

This is a charming story that takes readers into the brother and sister relationship of Rob and Hannah. Hannah runs a shop and within it one day, is reunited with Nico, originally from Sweden, whom she had met in their teenage years in Cambridge, nearly 20 years ago with quite the high achieving family, yet time has perhaps not been so kind to him. Rob is getting married and so Nico found Hannah on Rob’s request as Hannah is having boyfriend troubles with her partner – Albin. There’s an interesting tension and romance that emerges between Hannah, Albin and Nico in this book that is set between Scandanavian countries and the UK, including to Middledip.

There are health issues that Loren is medicated for and life seems complicated between her, Josie and Maria and life isn’t always easy and there are decisions to be made. This, however is still a book that readers can still easily relax into and while away the time and forget the outside world for a bit. There’s the happy, excitement to the build-up to Christmas and secreting presents away from potential prying eyes. There’s the humour of Hannah’s 90 year old nan thinking other people are the old folk. I find it particularly humorous anyway, as an old relative of mine used to think like this. There’s the lightness, warmth, traditions and buzz around getting prepared for Christmas as well as that bit of bite about the complexities of life and its emotions and it  all sits rather well together in this rather delightful Christmas story.