Thursday, 29 November 2018

November Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in November -

Mother Country by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff* - I found this book absolutely fascinating and would recommend. The stories are edited by Charlie but she lets the stories of the Windrush generation shine.

The stories are from people from all walks of life and make interesting reading - some make you smile, some sad and others angry.

We learn of the journeys to a "better life", the hardship, the parties, the families, the work, the food and of those who make the trip back home again. Would recommend.

Settlement by Anne Stormont** - I took part in the blog tour for this amazing read. See my review HERE.

Bitter by Francesca Jakobi* - oh how I loved this story. The character Gilda is absolutely fascinating and I loved her. It's 1969 and Gilda's son is getting married. His wife to be Alice is a petite blonde and pretty girl with a nice nature who makes Gilda feel inadequate. Her son is absolutely besotted with his new wife and in turn Gilda becomes obsessed with her. She follows her when she's out shopping, at work at the beauty counter or at the hairdressers. Gilda loves when they "accidentally" bump into each other and Alice makes a fuss of her. 

Young Gilda witnessed something she shouldn't have and her father banished her from the family home in Germany to boarding school in England where she can't fit in. She has one friend, the loyal Margo who has stuck by her through thick and thin, all through the years and during her arranged marriage to Frank and subsequent stormy but passionate relationship and marriage to Leo.

Frank and his second wife Berta make it difficult for Gilda to spend quality time with her son which makes her more of a stranger to him. All she really wants is her son's love and to feel part of a family. I liked how she turns things around and gains confidence in who she is and realises she couldn't have got through anything without her faithful pal Margo by her side. A stunning first novel which I absolutely loved.

Redemption by Candice Fox (Crimson Lake #2)* - oh I absolutely love this second book in the series featuring former detective, Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell (and woman and her geese). Amanda has hired Ted to help her in her Private Investigation business and people hire them to investigate crimes in Crimson Lake.

Ted is still fighting the case which ruined his life. Being accused of raping a young girl. His case is thrown out due to lack of evidence but he's lost more than his reputation as his wife Kelly wants nothing to do with him and this means he doesn't see his little daughter very often.

He's trying to rebuild his life at Crimson Lake when Dale, Claire's father turns up beats him up and then won't leave until he finds out what happened to his daughter. Dale believes Ted should be helping him if it turns out that he's been innocent all along.

There's another story running alongside where two young adults are murdered in the local bar and Ted and Amanda are asked to investigate.. A great twisty read which I recommend (and I was happy for White Dog).

The Broken Girls by Simone St James* - I absolutely adored this twisty read set in two timelines - the 1950s and the current day (2014).

Idelwide Hall is a school for unruly girls, those their families can't control, runaways and orphans. Four roommates become friends and when one of them goes missing they don't and can't believe she's run away.

The story then jumps to the present day and plucky journo Fiona Sheridan. She's got a lot to live up to as her dad is a famous journalist. Twenty years ago her sister was murdered and her boyfriend is now serving life. It's always in her mind and niggles her especially as things are not as clear cut as they seem..

She finds out the hall is being restored by a mystery buyer who is turning it back into an exclusive boarding school and she decides to write a story about it. Her cop boyfriend feels she's clutching at straws and should leave it well along. His dad, after all was Chief all these years go and presided over her sister's case and he feels she should leave it well alone.

But ever the journalist she delves deeper into the past and finds out some incredible facts and meets people connected with the school from all those years ago..

We learn more about the girls and their life at school. We also discover the creepy Hall is haunted by the ghost of Mary Hand who lost her baby and on no account should Mary be let in...

It's an atmospheric book and you almost feel you are there experiencing everything both in the past and present day. There are some great twists and moments which left me breathless. Absolutely loved it.

My final read this month is Attend by West Camel** - a stunning first novel which had me gripped from the very first page. I'm taking part in the blog tour next month so I'll share my thoughts in my December round-up.

From last month (these book hadn't been published when I wrote my October round-up):

Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman* - the story is set in London in 1952 and is set around the "real" great smog when London was hit with an impenetrable fog for a period of time.

Ruby, the Queen of the Cutters is waiting to get released from Holloway Prison and her daughter Florrie is wanting a different life away from life of crime and is unsure how her mum will take it. She's got a boy, her second cousin Ted and wants to go on the straight and narrow.

The Cutters, are an all female shoplifting gang, all with very strong characters including Maggie & Ada who have shared the same man. The characters and scenes are absolutely captivating. With the post war houses, WWII bomb sites and cafe's selling stale cakes and weak tea.

The girls do get themselves in many a scrape and cousin Nell, who proves herself time and time again to be a "Palmer" through and through but not always through choice but circumstances. I adored Florrie and Nell. An absolute triumph of a book which I just loved.

The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward* - OMG I loved this twisty and creepy read. There were a couple of twists I just didn't see coming.

Maurice takes a lodger to help pay the rent. All Gloria has ever wanted is to be loved and cherished. With a tragic past she's determined to make people like her and forces her friendship on the neighbours whether they like it or not.

She cleans up grungy Maurice, his grubby home and is the weirdest, strangest and most disturbed and obsessive character ever.

She collects dolls and each one represents someone she's killed... Ian and his father are trying to evict Maurice and unfortunately for Ian he meets Gloria. She's furious when she learns the flat's only rented rather than owned and decides to needs to exact her revenge on Maurice... with a couple of massive twists I didn't see coming. I absolutely loved it.

The Orchid Girls by Lesley Sanderson* - Grace has it all, a gorgeous husband a beautiful flat, a book deal and is a successful Instgram star. She doesn't want all that ghastly stuff that happened in the past come back to haunt her...she thought she left it all behind when she recreated herself in France.

Molly, her friend from all these years go has come back on the scene, she's obsessed with Gracie and what happened in the past with their friend Charlotte. Molly depends on alcohol too much, going from job to job never really settling. She just can't forget the past...

A journo has been blogging about cases that have been unsolved and he's interested in The Orchid Girls.. The story drew me in from the very first page. It was fast paced with a few twists along the way..

What have you been reading this month?

*e-copy from the publisher via Netgalley
**e-copy sent in exchange for blog tour review

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