Books/book review/fiction/law enforcement/crime fiction/net galley
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Taken for an unusual reason

The Taken Girls Book Cover The Taken Girls
GD Sanders
Thrillers, Crime, British Detective, Police Procedural
Avon; Digital original edition
(21 Feb. 2019)

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

This is a solid police procedural with the frustrations of modern policing and the requirements for solid evidence well portrayed. Not to mention the fact that the senior officers want good press coverage even when what you have is more speculative than fact and contradicts the above …
I found this new DI (a debut novel) to be a believable character – and fallible too, and was intrigued by the perpetrator and motives.
This is a series I think that will develop well and I look forward to reading more.

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Books/book review/fiction/humour/Romance/Cooking
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What happens under the tree?

Mistletoe And Mystery Book Cover Mistletoe And Mystery
The Paradise Cookery School
Daisy James
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo Escape
(10 Sept. 2018)

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course...

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

Cosy up with this fun, festive visit to the Cotswolds premier cookery school! Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan


This was sweet in all meanings of the word! Unfortunately there were no illustrations or recipes. But then who could compete with a pastry chef with a Michelin star…

I was hungry all the way through the descriptions of the cookery course – the only thing missing was the description of what they ate at the Xmas day meal – apart from Yorkshire puddings – which is a bit strange and very Northern. And they seemed to make different items form those described as being on the menu that day, but perhaps the chef rustled them up for them as extras?

Generally a nice book and very suitable for all cozy readers and everyone who likes to read about cookery.

I’m giving it 4 stars for making me hungry – the descriptions were delightful, and I agree Parkin is heavy – but so gingery…

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Books/book review/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/net galley
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Not so godly as it would seem

Orphanage of the Gods Book Cover Orphanage of the Gods
Helena Coggan
sci-fi, horror
Hodder & Stoughton
September 19, 2019
416

 In the glass city of Amareth, on a hill above a river, is an orphanage patrolled by soldiers with guns. Inside are the children left behind by the long-ago war in which humans all but wiped out their gods. Until they grow up, no one will know which are human, and which are not. Children who reveal hidden powers vanish from their beds. The Guardsmen discover every god, in the end. No one has ever escaped - until now. One day Hero, a seventeen-year-old half-god, breaks out of the orphanage and flees north with her brother Joshua. But the murderous Guard are on their tail, and they have something Hero wants desperately: her sister Kestrel, held captive in a towering stone prison in the northern sea. To survive and rescue Kestrel, Hero must outwit more than just the Guard. Lying in wait for them are a ragged band of gods-in-hiding, who promise help in exchange for eternal loyalty. Hero does not want to trust them - but as winter draws in and even Joshua begins to turn against her, her world starts to feel impossibly dangerous . . . ************ Praise for Helena Coggan's 'The Catalyst' 'This year's Divergent' - Sun 'A phenomenal achievement . . . assured, frightening, action-packed' - Observer 'A pulsing, labyrinthine, emotionally visceral plot' - Metro

I tried very hard to read this book as it seemed like a great concept and storyline. However, in my opinion, the actual writing style and complicated plot lines that confused me, made it a difficult read. I abandoned it about 50% of the way through as I felt it was not worth trying to complete.

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aka Hedgehog

Needlemouse Book Cover Needlemouse
Jane O'Connor
women's literature
Ebury Digital
(1 May 2019)

Time to come out of hibernation...

Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it's no wonder she's a little prickly...

Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays - and it makes people think she's nicer than she is.

Only Sylvia has a secret: she's been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax, for over a decade now, and she's sure he's just waiting for the right time to leave his wife. Meanwhile she stores every crumb of his affection and covertly makes trouble for anyone she feels gets in his way.

But when a bright new PhD candidate catches the Professor’s eye, Sylvia’s dreams of the fairy tale ending she has craved for so long, are soon in tatters, driving her to increasingly desperate measures and an uncertain future.

Sylvia might have been sleep walking through her life but things are about to change now she’s woken up…

(actually a hog – a pig relative)

Whilst I quite liked this rather sweet novel about obsession and its consequences – and how stalking can come about – I wish stories about universities were a little more realistic.

Unless ‘her’ Professor was working in an Oxbridge university or was a ‘name’ and thus bought in for prestige, the whole concept of a personal administrator has long gone. Universities just can’t afford them. Nor can they afford Professors who sit around their offices all day writing without producing. It would be nice – but generally speaking, Professors are busy on committees, holding seminars, seeing multiple research students, and networking, as well as lecturing. Administrative staff are usually not required to submit students’ work to any conference – and a conference would require several months notice of submission due to the peer reviewed process it would need to go through. Sometimes they will book flights and accommodation but often these days, staff do this themselves and then get reimbursed.

So a lovely view of what university life must have been like some 20-30 years ago perhaps?

That said, I liked the hedgehog component. It was the saviour of the story really – they really are blameless creatures who are totally dumb, and sanctuaries deserve all the support they can obtain. We once found a nest of babies in our greenhouse. The mother had gone in there, late in the year and had got herself killed by getting tangled in support wires for tomatoes. The babies were too small for hibernation and we took them to Tiddlewinkles and gave a generous donation for their care.

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Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction
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Shorn of their trees – an environmental disaster






Gray Mountain Book Cover




Gray Mountain





John Grisham





crime, thriller, mytsery, legal




Hodder Paperbacks; 01 edition (2 July 2015)



Donovan Gray is ruthless and fearless. Just the kind of lawyer you need, deep in small-town Appalachia.

Samantha Kofer is a world away from her former life at New York's biggest law firm. If she is going to survive in coal country, she needs to start learning fast.

Because as Donovan knows only too well, the mountains have their own laws. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line . .

A very apposite read as Trump trumpets about jobs for Coal – Make Coal Great Again! Which is the last thing of course that environmentalists want to happen, especially if retrieving that said coal means strip mining off forests and taking the top of mountains!

Coal is one of the worst air pollutants (see London Smog) and burning it and mining it is a sure way to ill-health and eventually death for the miner – my husband’s grandfather was a coal-miner.

The lack of legislation still, in the US, about health insurance, working conditions and environmental responsibilities makes me very glad I don’t live there. And this novel is a telling tale that reminds us why not to go and live in the Appalachians.

So not a fun read, but a worthy read and one that reminds us that the technological revolution has brought misery to many as well as life improvements to others, and that we humans are raping our planet’s riches and destroying our life giving eco-systems.

Rant over.

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