Books/book review/fiction
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One oath too far

Tom Clancy's Oath of Office Book Cover Tom Clancy's Oath of Office
Jack Ryan
Marc Cameron
political, legal, spy, action and adventure
Michael Joseph
November 29, 2018
528

The latest thriller in Tom Clancy's internationally bestselling Jack Ryan series - inspiration for the forthcoming Amazon Prime television series. On a crowded tourist beach in Portugal, US operatives use a high-tech drone to watch a French arms dealer flirt with a beautiful woman. It's only when she leaves that they realise she has shot him dead. In Iran, protests are growing against the oppressive regime, whipped up by a charismatic student. Most external observers are excited, but on the ground a spy of questionable loyalty senses something is badly amiss. And meanwhile, with the United States reeling from a string of natural disasters, Russian troops and ships are massing on the borders of the Ukraine, bringing the two powers ever closer to war. Across the globe a conspiracy is brewing, so darkly brilliant that no-one has yet joined the dots. And the distracted President Ryan has little time to play catch-up: little does he know that he faces a madman with a plan more devastating than he could possibly imagine...

I failed to complete this book after a couple of tries – mainly because I thought the number of storylines going through it were too complicated to follow. I lost track of the names I needed to remember – and many were very difficult – and trying to remember which branch of the Russian State we were talking about – or the Iranian or or… just proved too difficult.
I am sure all the different storylines joined up somewhere but after i was more than a third of the way through the book, I still hadn’t reached that stage.
A pity as I have liked some of the previous stories about Ryan, but maybe, this is one book too many in the franchise?

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance
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When you get lost

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde Book Cover The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Eve Chase
gothic, historical romance
Michael Joseph
2018-04
400

In the heatwave of 1959, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers. They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before. An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret? As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later . . .

A sad story of a family loss. and the on-going impact of just what happened five years before, and how the parents of Audrey coped.

I am not always a fan of literature set in the 1950s as it is some ways not far enough away to count as historical, but not near enough to be contemporary, yet this novel was so well written that it got over that reluctance. It described the Cotswolds well –  I have visited often and so am familiar with it, and even contemplated living in one of its villages, but far too expensive now!

I enjoyed the story and thought the style good. I am not sure though that I would read another novel set in this period.

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Books/book review/crime fiction
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Who is to be believed? That’s what the trial is for….

No Further Questions Book Cover No Further Questions
Gillian McAllister
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Michael Joseph
October 4, 2018
400

The police say she's guilty.

She insists she's innocent.

She's your sister.

You loved her.

You trusted her.

But they say she killed your child.

 

Who do you believe?

This is a heart-rending tale of a small baby dying and the subsequent trial when the post-mortem shows that she could have been murdered.

Two sisters are divided here as one was baby-sitting for the other, and it was in her care that the baby died, and thus she is on trial.

Would you believe that your sister deliberately killed your baby?

This book tells the struggle of the mother as she sits through the trial and the evidence mounts against her sister.

The trial felt very real to me.

The questioning of the witnesses and the way small things were built up into an overwhelming case of guilty.

A book where you need to keep on reading to find out what the verdict was and does she admit what really happened? Or do we never find out?

I thought it well written, with the complex science of the pathology explained simply enough for the reader to understand and the conclusions that thus could be drawn.

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Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction
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When the ghosts are tangible?

Paper Ghosts Book Cover Paper Ghosts
Julia Heaberlin
women sleuths, crime, mystery, psychological
Michael Joseph
2018-04
400

Having lived his life suspected of being a serial killer, Carl Louis Feldman begins his journey into old age at a nursing home in Texas. Though he was never charged with any crimes, the staff aren't sorry to see him go when his estranged daughter arrives to take her father on what could be his last road trip. When Carl protests that this is not his daughter at all, the nurses are all too ready to excuse it as a product of his deteriorating mind. Were those suspicions about him true? Does he know where the missing women are buried? And if he is an honest man, who has just driven him away from safety?

A disturbing but strangely compelling story.

I kept not wanting to read further, but yet I did, because I could not stop myself.

The narrator is seriously flawed/damaged from the disappearance of her older sister and her journey with the man she believed killed her sister is such a strange thing to do. she is truly paranoid – but who does she think is following her?

Yes, we do find out the truth – but which truth? And as for Carl, well he has a lot of truths doesn’t he?

 

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Books/book review/fiction
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When your letter gets lost

The Lost Letters of William Woolf
Helen Cullen
Literary fiction, Contemporary
Michael Joseph
July 15, 2018
464

Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . . Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries- Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names - they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers. But when William discovers letters addressed simply to 'My Great Love', his work takes on new meaning. Written by a wistful woman to the soulmate she hasn't met yet, the missives capture William's heart in ways he didn't know possible, and soon he begins to wonder- Are these letters truly lost? Or might he be the intended recipient-could hebe her great love?

A slow burn story of the small (ish) lives we can allow ourselves to lead, where everything irritates and is no longer an amusing trait.

“was real romance just persevering when times were hard, hidden in the daily domestic rituals of a shared life.”

This element of the book was beautifully portrayed.

But.

Overall, I found the book to be slightly disappointing form the hype. I expected to love it and award it 5 stars, But I don’t and I haven’t.

A nice read but by the end I found the whole ‘Winter’ concept to be annoying especially after William ignored the big clue with the photographs. And I found the denouement unsatisfactory.

 

PS. 3 foot in size Grandfather clocks are known as Grandmother clocks! We have a beautiful one on our wall.

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