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And yet more Perfection

Perfect Crime Book Cover Perfect Crime
DI Luc Callanach #5
Helen Fields
crime fiction, thriller, suspense, police procedural
Avon
February 7, 2019

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

The sexy Frenchman is again involved in a complicated serie of murders – except that only he thinks they are murders – to everyone else, they look like suicides.

In this series we have a lovely brooding dark French policeman sent to Edinburgh for various political reasons, who takes a long time to settle and make friends. But by this book in the series he is settling down – a little, but his friendships are stretched in this bizarre series of what are classed as suicides.

I very much like this series of novels. They tick all the right boxes. A brooding hero. A series of complicated crimes that only he can solve. And good storytelling with chills and gasps as accidents happen etc. Would make good TV.

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Books/Romance
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Hospital romances are lovely

One Night To Change Their Lives Book Cover One Night To Change Their Lives
Mills and Boon Medical
Tina Beckett
romance, medical
Mills and Boon
1st March 2019

Since hospital administrator Garret Stapleton lost both his wife and his daughter he's been determined not to give away his heart again. Until gorgeous but guarded ER doc Adelina Santini gets under his skin...Soon they embark on a scorching affair that has unexpected, life-changing consequences! When Garret's tragic past threatens their happiness, can Addy's surprise pregnancy lead them to their happy-ever-after?

I always like a hospital romance, and I know I am not alone in this. It’s even better for me when the heroine is a doctor not a nurse, and her potential partner is also medically qualified, or is a professional.
This was a nicely paced romance, with enough tragic back stories to give [pause and enable the ‘down’ of any traditional romance story.
The writing style was easy to read with a light touch.

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Books/book review/fiction
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Cultivating What?

The Farm Book Cover The Farm
Joanne Ramos
General Fiction (Adult) , Literary Fiction
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)
07 May 2019

THE MUST-READ DEBUT NOVEL OF 2019. Sharp, compulsive and darkly funny, this is an unforgettable novel about a world within touching distance of our own.

Ambitious businesswoman Mae Yu runs Golden Oaks – a luxury retreat transforming the fertility economy – where women get the very best of everything, so long as they play by the rules.

Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Stuck living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life. But at what cost?

A novel that explores the role of luck and merit, class, ambition and sacrifice, The Farm is an unforgettable story about how we live and who truly holds power.

A book that makes you think about your own moral code and just when you might be tempted to farm out a body! Yes, a body – perhaps your own body, or perhaps you might farm someone else’s?

And what would you be cultivating? Why a baby?

So The Handmaid’s Tale with a twist and actually something that is all too likely to be inexistence, and as it would be very secret, we would never know.

We all know that people use surrogate mothers when they can’t have babies for themselves – male couples for instance, or perhaps when they can’t carry a child themselves due to illness or…

But the premise in this book is that the uber-rich may want to use surrogates for other reasons. Perhaps they are too old have a child, perhaps they are too busy, or perhaps they just don’t want to ‘spoil’ their figures? Or just go through the grind of pregnancy?

And how to choose your surrogate? What would motivate them? There are good reasons why in the UK you cannot pay the surrogate expect for reasonable expenses, and also, even with a contract, the child is still the ‘property’ of the person who carries it through pregnancy. In Australia the law prevents commercial surrogacy, and this is the case in most countries. In some even altruistic surrogacy is banned, eg France and Germany; but in the US it is decided by the State. States generally considered to be surrogacy friendly include California, Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, Washington D.C., Oregon and New Hampshire among others. Both New Hampshire and Washington State have laws permitting commercial surrogacy from 1/1/2019.

So a very timely book on a subject that is very controversial still. Well written and one that I couldn’t put down – I wanted to know what happened to the young women who contracted out their bodies for pregnancy and still think that Jane was badly treated despite what she thought!

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Books/book review/fiction/humour
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I ended very cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful Book Cover Reasons to be cheerful
Nina Stibbe
humour, romance, coming of age
Penguin
(28 Mar. 2019)

'When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn't shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all'

So begins a young woman's journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.

In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.

 A story that crept up on me until the life of our heroine Lizzie became so bizarre that I just had to keep on reading. Her mother, her family, friends and in particular her work at the dentist’s – JP Wintergreen -, became part of my fantasy life and dreams too. The discussions were absurd and yet, somehow resonated of the time.

Her mother was described as being a:

Drunk; divorcee; nudist; amphetamine addict; nymphomaniac; shop lifter; would-be novelist; poet; and playwright.

In that order.

And her boyfriend was clearly asexual or gay, she assumed, because he liked having freshly laundered clothes, made fruit salads, and once experimented with lemon in his tea. And most importantly of all, never got his penis out, despite her belief that it was often intended as a compliment.

We never really find out just how many pregnancies Lizzie’s mother had, or affairs, but we do realise, that due to her addictions, as a child, Lizzie and her elder siblings, more or less raised themselves in a rather eccentric and liberal household.

The oddities of Lizzie’s family and her work  and romances, are recounted in such a dry manner that I found it difficult not to become enthusiastic over the life of this town and want now to meet them all in real life please!

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Books/book review/non-fiction
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Giving Birth: True

Hard Pushed Book Cover Hard Pushed
Leah Hazard
memoir, medical, science, nursing
Hutchinson
May 2, 2019
304

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.  Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all. Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward. Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.

A true memoir by a Canadian/English midwife about her work in the NHS. Her book shows us just how underfunded, understaffed, under waged and under resourced midwives are. They are perhaps the least recognised area of nursing for its strains and difficulties that come from being there at the time of birth – literally your babies’ lives are in their hands – and they are overworked. There aren’t enough beds now that just about every birth is in a hospital.

Home births are now a rarity (except perhaps in very rural areas of Scotland where getting to a hospital is tricky). And yet, given the right circumstances, and assuming that the birth is not expected to be difficult, a home birth can be much less traumatic for all, including the baby. The next best thing is what was offered when I was pregnant. The GP ward. Where you are quiet and attended by your GP and a midwife rather than the high tech version. And you can easily move into the high tech version if needed. Giving birth can be hazardous for some and unexpected occurrences happen quickly. Which bis where the poor midwife is on hand – hopefully, to sort the issue out.

Though I did appreciate the high tech version when I had to have epidurals and caesareans.

I found this a genuine and moving book. I know a young midwife and met her several times as she was training, and know how hard it was for her and what long hours she worked.

Leah told her story in a very accessible style. Her words were clear and not flowery – but compassionate and truthful.

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