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#Momspringa: Yes please!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler Book Cover The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Kelly Harms
Romantic Comedy, Love, Sex & Marriage Humour, Humorous Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
(1 May 2019)

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

So after being a frazzled and broke single mum for years Amy Byler is  given the gift of a momspringa – in the way that the US … sect give their children a ..srpinga when they reach adulthood. A year off to discover who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

This year of Amy’s is detailed by the magazine that is sponsoring her – she is photographed and everything she does is told in detail on social media. And it sets a trend amongst tired mums who also want a #momspringa even if only for a few days!

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Are you really fine?

I’m Fine and Neither are you Book Cover I’m Fine and Neither are you
Camille Pagan
women's fiction
Lake Union Publishing
(1 April 2019)

Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán. Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career. Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty. What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

A very nice exposition of the strains on a marriage of children and a partner working a really difficult, and for her, stressful job.

As a reverse home-maker – ie house husband – he quite clearly clearly is not as home-making as could be expected as she has to come home and cook, do the washing and general tidy. But then he claims to be a writer and working at his next big article – which never quite gets published – and then there is the ‘book’. All of which prevents him from getting up in the night to the children – as he is too tired. A husband who lacks emotional sensitivity and understanding of what his role should have been when she pulls in the big bucks that enable him to stay at home and ‘work’.

I enjoyed this story-line and thought that the impact of lack of sleep and job stress were well told in a humorous but also truthful manner – as we never got a full night’s sleep until our oldest was over 5 years old and know so well the strain that that brings.

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Profiling gets nasty

Blood for blood Book Cover Blood for blood
Ziba Mackenzie #1
Victoria Selman
Serial Killers, Profiling, Psychological,
Thomas & Mercer
(1 Feb. 2019)

Ziba Mackenzie profiles killers. Now one is profiling her.

Rush hour, London. A packed commuter train is torn apart in a collision. Picking through the carnage, ex-special forces profiler Ziba MacKenzie helps a dying woman who passes on a cryptic message: He did it. You have to tell someone.

When a corpse is found bearing the gruesome signature of a serial killer dormant for twenty-five years, Ziba is pulled into the hunt for the perpetrator. As the body count rises it becomes clear he’s on a new spree. But what’s brought the London Lacerator back after such a long hiatus? And does his sudden return have anything to do with the woman on the train?

Ziba scrambles to profile the killer in the hope of predicting his next move. But time is running out. And the closer she gets to uncovering his identity, the closer he gets to destroying hers.

What happens when a profiler gets profiled? And when her profile of a serial killer leads her to suspect a co-worker who seems to fit this profile only too well?

But not everything is what it seems to be, or what seems to her to be connected is, which skews her profile.

Engrossing reading with a heroine you empathise with, not snarky but nonetheless capable of being kickass if she needs to be.

Good style and plotting.

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Knit yourself a vampire?

The Vampire knitting club & Stitches and Witches Book Cover The Vampire knitting club & Stitches and Witches
Vampire Knitting Club (7 Book Series)
Nancy Warren
Ambleside Publishing
(4 Oct. 2018)

Vampires who knit
A troublemaking witch
Who killed Granny — and is she really dead?

At a crossroads between a cringe-worthy past (Todd the Toad) and an uncertain future (she's not exactly homeless, but it's close), Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother. With Gran's undying love to count on and Cardinal Woolsey's, Gran's knitting shop, to keep her busy, Lucy can catch her breath and figure out what she's going to do. 

Except it turns out that Gran is the undying. Or at least, the undead. But there's a death certificate. And a will, leaving the knitting shop to Lucy. And a lot of people going in and out who never use the door—including Gran, who is just as loving as ever, and prone to knitting sweaters at warp speed, late at night. What exactly is going on?

When Lucy discovers that Gran did not die peacefully in her sleep, but was murdered, she has to bring the killer to justice without tipping off the law that there's no body in the grave. Between a hot 600-year-old vampire and a dishy detective inspector, both of whom always seem to be there for her, Lucy finds her life getting more complicated than a triple cable cardigan. 
The only one who seems to know what's going on is her cat ... or is it ... her familiar? 

First in a new series of paranormal cozy mysteries with bite!

A Vampire Kitty and knitting circles – 2 books reviewed.

So there is this nice and cosy, old fashioned, Oxford Knitting shop. With a secret.

And the secret is huge… and involves knitting and vampires.

I am surprised that students in Oxford have enough money to buy knitting wool, but I guess if they are at Oxford, and studying law, maybe they have rich parents. I am also surprised how much trade a knitting shop has – these days it’s tricky to make a living from them, the wool is so expensive, but if you know vampires, and they can knit a jumper in a night, and they have lots of cash then anything is possible.

I read the first 2 books in this series and found book 1 better than book 2, mainly because the big secret is out and thus book 2 had less to offer. I shall not be following up the series further.

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Where can you find truth?

Where the Truth Lies Book Cover Where the Truth Lies
DI Redpath #1
M J Lee
General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers, Detective
Canelo
Pub Date 22 Oct 2018

The case was closed. Until people started dying… The unputdownable first DI Ridpath crime thriller from bestseller MJ Lee

A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.

DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.

As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.

When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a nail-biting crime thriller, full of breathtaking twists and turns in this fast-paced and extraordinarily original novel. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Faith Martin

A new detective for us to consider – set in Manchester this story is full of the grey, wet, dull, and dreary feel that Manchester novels often have. Which to be fair, is what Manchester often resembles – a very wet city every time I visit, when not snowing..

It is an interesting take as here we see what the role of a Coroner is and their investigative powers as against the police.  A Coroner [also called a Medical Examiner] has a number of specific tasks/roles to determine the manners and causes of death – they w also visit death scenes, identify human remains, supervise the transportation of corpses, operate crime scene equipment, complete death certificates and notify the next of kin.

Coroners have Investigators or Officers attached to them who inquiry into the circumstances of deaths that are:

sudden and of unknown cause; are due to unnatural causes;

or deaths that occur in custody.

Coroners’ officers are often the main point of contact for the coroner’s office and will liaise or speak to:

bereaved relatives and family representatives;

doctors and other health professionals;

police, and other emergency services;

registrars of births and deaths;

funeral directors;

pathologists and mortuary staff and others as relevant depending on the case.

So the Officer undertakes the bulk of the work and takes on a role that mimics what we assume the police might do, or may in fact be the prime investigative officer for a sudden death deciding whether or not the case requires a Coroner to call it a homicide and thus require a formal police investigation.

Until reading this novel I had notrealised just how much work this Office undertakes and can see how it would be an excellent role for an ex-police or officer needing lighter duties.

Hence we find Ridpath allocated to this role as he recovers from his cancer.

Ridpath is not quite as angst ridden as we now expect our police to be and thus makes for a different storyline which is refreshing. He is not an addict or alcoholic nor suffering from a traumatic divorce, though his wife is none too pleased with him and his attitude to work and looking after his health.

I think his has the makings of a nice series as the characters develop and Ridpath becomes more familiar with his role.

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