Reading Goals 2021 #BookBlogger #amreading

Hello lovelies! Usually this time of year I do some resolutions or some such for writing and reading but frankly I looked at my 2020 goals and well I achieved bugger all of them. Okay it was mainly because I forgot about them completely but still it wasn’t a great feeling reading them back. So for 2021 I’m doing things a bit different and keeping it simple with some reading goals.

First I’m setting my Goodreads goal at 100. I set it at 120 last year and that was a struggle and a half!

Second I’m going to try and clear that pesky NetGalley back list, in particular reviewing all the eleven books I’ve had on my shelf since 2018. Yes they’ve been gathering dust on there for three whole years.

And that’s it! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know! Also if you’ve reviewed them, leave the links below xx

Thank you for reading and I hope 2021 is better for everyone xx

#BookReview The Split by Sharon Bolton

Title: The Split by Sharon Bolton

Publisher: Trapeze

Date Published: 30th April 2020

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

SHE’LL NEVER STOP RUNNING.

BUT HE’LL NEVER STOP LOOKING.

A year ago Felicity Lloyd fled England to South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, escaping her past and the man she once loved. Can she keep running her whole life?

Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder – and now he wants her back. Wherever she is, he won’t stop until he finds her. Will he be able to track her to the ends of the earth?

TOGETHER THEY’LL FIND THEMSELVES TRAPPED ON THE ICE AND IN DANGER. WHO WILL SURVIVE?

Review:

I read The Split as part of a readalong over on the THE book club over on facebook. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been a while since I read a Sharon Bolton novel and I saw the blurb for The Split and I thought I must read that!

The Split is a masterful piece of writing, starting off slowly, building the tension, then ramping it up until you can’t stop turning those pages. I hope one day that this becomes a TV show or even a movie; I think it would be brilliant.

What I love about Sharon Bolton’s writing is she captures the atmosphere of a place, whether it’s the wildness of South Georgia or the bustling city of Cambridge.

There are a number of different points of view through the story which I’m not usually a fan of but each POV really adds to the story and creates twists and turns throughout.

I had a little inkling of what the ending might be, but everything wasn’t clear until those closing chapters.

The Spilt is atmospheric, additive, and a definite must if you love psychological thrillers.

About The Author:

Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work. 

Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.

#BookReview The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett @ZaffreBooks #CozyMystery

Title: The Windsor Knot by S.J Bennett

Publisher: Zaffre

Date Published: 22nd October 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.

When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place.

For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

Miss Marple meets The Crown in The Windsor Knot, the first book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates’ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin. 

Review:

So I read the Windsor Knot as part of a readalong over on the THE book club over on facebook. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love a cozy mystery and I’m always on the lookout for something a bit different or unusual so when I read the blurb for the Windsor Knot and saw the Queen would be solving mysteries, I thought yes please!

A young Russian musician is found dead in mysterious circumstances at Windsor castle. The authorities suspect some international conspiracy and think that it could be one the Queen’s loyal servants. With the help of her secretary Rozie, it’s up to the Queen to solve the mystery. 

The Windsor Knot is a light hearted mystery, not to be taken too seriously!

The story really shows the Queen in a different light, I always thought she was kind of grumpy but the story shows a woman who is under an immense amount of pressure but still has a caring side (I really hope she’s actually like this in real life!).

The standout character for me was her secretary Rozie. A former soldier, she’s strong, independent and smart. She helps the Queen solving the mystery, becoming a confidant of sorts.

It was a solid mystery with a few surprises along the way but I had to keep reminding myself that the sleuth is meant to be the Queen of England, not some Miss Marple like character. Also I didn’t really enjoy the denouncement of the case at the end, it just felt a bit lacklustre. 

I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a quick light hearted mystery. 

About The Author:

SJ Bennett wrote several award-winning books for teenagers before turning to adult crime stories. She lives in London and has been a royal watcher for years, but is keen to stress that these are works of fiction: the Queen, to the best of her knowledge, does not secretly solve crimes. 

You can find her on Instagram as @sjbennettbooks, for all things crime and royal.

July/August Book Haul

Hello lovelies! I always see these types of posts about and I realised I’d never done one myself so thought I’d share my July/August ebook haul with you.

Title: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

Some people won’t let a little matter like death stand in their way …

A terrible tragedy leaves Hattie Hastings widowed and heartbroken. But her late husband isn’t about to take his demise lying down.

Torn between delight and frustration, Hattie struggles to convince friends and family of her ghostly predicament.

There’s also the small problem of best friend Cat’s ex-husband trying to worm his way back into her life. And both Hattie’s son, Johnny, and mum, Rachel have their own problems to face.

Bouncing between earth and the Afterlife, Gary discovers he has a mission. But what could it be, and will his beloved wife be able to help?

Title: Murder In G Major (Gethsemane Brown Mysteries #1) by Alexia Gordon 

Winner– Lefty Award, Best Debut Novel

Nominee–Agatha Award, Best First Novel

Chosen one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut Novels in 2016

With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none.

The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?

Title: The Penguin Killer by Ste Sharp

Brighton, during the glorious Britpop summer of 1995.

A second hand bookshop becomes the centre of a serial killer investigation when vintage penguin books are left at murder scenes.

Luke Redfern has just inherited the bookshop Red Books from his Grandad and is busy trying to make the big time with his indie band, Beachhead.

When Detective Mellor asks him to help find out who has been leaving penguin books at crime scenes, Luke is drawn into the mystery of what the papers are calling the Penguin Killer.

Title: Publishable by Death A.C.F Bookens

A bookstore, a grumpy newspaper woman, and a murder. Quiet St. Marin’s has just gotten a little more lively . . . and a little less alive.

All Harvey Beckett wants to do is read books, help the residents of St. Marin’s find the perfect book for that moment, and snuggle with her hound dog Mayhem. But when the small, waterside town’s newest resident discovers the body of the community’s persnickety reporter in her bookshop storeroom on opening day, Harvey finds herself bound and determined to figure out the crime. Her task won’t be easy, though, since the town is flooded with visitors for the first annual Harriet Tubman Festival to honor the community’s most famous resident. Plus, a quiet but charming mechanic named Daniel isn’t helping with her concentration at all.

Publishable By Death is the first book in the St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series by ACF. Bookens.

Title: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris 

Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora “Roe” Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases.

It’s a harmless pastime—until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal “copycat” killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.

Title: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.

The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant. As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.

And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs…

Title: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Title: The Creak on The Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir Translated by Victoria Cribb

When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.

Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …

But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.

Title: Murder She Wrote: Killer in the Kitchen by Donald Bain

In the latest in the “USA Today” bestselling series, someone writes a recipe for murder.

Jessica loves the Leg & Claw restaurant, owned by young couple Brad and Marcie. And the restaurant is the couple s dream come true.

But when famed chef Gerard Pepe Lebeouf decides to open an eatery right next to theirs, tensions rise fast and hot and lead to a nasty confrontation between Lebeouf and Brad. So when Lebeouf is found dead with a knife planted in his chest, Brad becomes suspect number one. But plenty of others had a motive to kill Pepe, and it s up to Jessica to uncover who really added murder to the menu.”

Title: Black Cherry Betrayal (Claire’s candles 2) by Agatha Frost 

Claire Harris is excited to get the keys to her candle shop finally. A foul smell coming from the attic, however, turns her excitement into a living nightmare. There, she finds the body of Jane Brindle, the owner of the tearoom, which had stood in the heart of the village for decades.

Jane’s eventual retirement at eighty after years of fruitlessly hounding her daughter, Em, to take over the tearoom sent her to the south of France, or so everyone assumed. Jane never left Northash, but nobody is admitting to knowing what happened to her. Accusations fly everywhere, with many fingers pointing at free-spirited Em, and even some at Claire for daring to change the status quo.

How did Jane end up dead in the locked attic after having supposedly left the village for a new life under the sun four months previously? How is Jane’s impossibly wealthy 102-year-old mother, Opal, involved? Someone close to Jane killed her, but can Claire find out who before her candle shop dreams crumble around her?

Title: Funland by Richard Laymon 

Step right up to the land of fun…

Funland is another classic horror story from the master of the macabre, Richard Laymon. Perfect for fans of Dean Koontz and Clive Barker.

‘Laymon’s at the top of his form in Funland, his deceptively simple prose becoming by turns humorous, horrific, stunningly erotic. The funhouse climax is not to be missed. This novel belongs on every serious horror fanatic’s bookshelf’ – The New York Review of Science Fiction

The Funland Amusement Park provides more fear than fun these days. A vicious pack known as the Trolls are preying on anyone foolish enough to be alone at night. Folks in the area blame them for the recent mysterious disappearances, and a gang of local teenagers have decided to fight back. But nothing is ever what it seems in an amusement park. Behind the garish paint and bright lights waits a horror far worse than anything found in the freak show. Step right up! The terror is about to begin!

Title: Organized For Murder by Ritter Ames

Starting a small business is tough. Becoming prime suspect when your first client gets murdered is a killer…

A move to small-town New England meant a new start for the McKenzie family. When Kate opened her organizing business and immediately gained a rich client, she thought everything was finally stacked in their favor.

Until her client is found dead. Then the police take a hard look in her direction.

Things only get worse when forensics evidence finds her fingerprints on the murder weapon–and suddenly Kate shoots to the top of the list as prime suspect.

The stopwatch is ticking for Kate to prove she had nothing to do with the murder. The odds are further stacked against her when stolen items turn up in the McKenzie home.

She must trust her methodical skills and expert eye to sort out who is trying to frame her and uncover the real killer before she’s organized right into a jail cell.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?