Sunday, December 20, 2020

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Once more we have Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacot knocking it out of the park in this detective series.  There are so many investigations they are juggling yet you won't be confused by the storylines as they are clearly explained.

I will say up front that I have seen very mixed reviews on this novel based on everything from the length of book to how fast the plot advanced to plain hate over J.K. Rowling and her opinions.  On Goodreads I have seen a post stating if you support Rowling/Galbraith they will unfriend you.  Seriously.

I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next in the series.  She stated in previous interviews the series would have seven books (just like the Harry Potter series). While the main characters, Cormoran and Robin, have an obvious attraction to one another, I am hoping she won't get them together until the last book.  If at all. For now let it be all investigative and mystery plotting. If you read it through you'll knpw the spark between them is genuine yet they don't want to ruin a great partnership and friendship.

The supporting characters were well fleshed out and I liked the addition of Strike's childhood friend Dave Polworth.  He cracks me up with his devotion to Cornish nationalism and his accent comes through as you are reading his parts.  He's a wonderful friend to Strike and comes through for him as Strike's Aunt Joan is dying of cancer.

A new detective at the agency named Saul Morris is one that brings drama.  My husband was ahead of me reading this book as I had another novel to finish.  He knew when Saul did something reprehensible as I suddenly said, "Oh no he didn't!" - Doug knew I'd gotten to "that part" of the book.  No spoilers from me.

Margot Bamborough is the main case focused on here, a cold case from 40 years ago. Her daughter is Anna Phipps and she hires Strike to take a last look at this cold case. There are quite a few suspects and I can say I never saw it coming when all was revealed.

Looking forward to more of this series.  Great writing.  

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Nigella Lawson's Christmas Pudding Hunt for 2020

Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite cooks and I love each and every cookbook she has written.  Did you know she does a contest during the Christmas holidays?

Nigella’s Christmas Pudding Hunt started again and I was way late to the party.  You can still sign up and play along.  Click on the link HERE and sign in to your Nigella account or start one up if you like.  There is a link for logging in via Facebook but I am not a FB member so, I can't advise you there.

Here is one of the clues.  It's fun looking for the correct recipe and if you win, yoou'll receive a dynamite gift basket!  Maybe a cookbook too.

The prize is a Christmas hamper filled with goodies.

I wish I had remembered to look for her annual prize hunt earlier in Decemeber but, as I said, it's easy to catch up and play along.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Finding Home by Kate Field

This a story about Miranda Brown and how her life changes dramatically after helping an older couple who are stranded. 

Miranda goes by the name Mim.  She has been living out of her car after losing her job but she takes all this lightly as her life had not been easy. She never knew her father and was abandoned by her mother by the time she was eight years old, grew up in foster homes and had to make her own way in life.  

Bea and Bill Howard are old enough to be her parents; they are stranded just before new years and need to get from Lancashire to their home in Devon.  Mim spontaneously offers to help and drives them home knowing they will refuel her car and she can head back north. Work is scare at this time of year so she can take the time to drive this nice couple.

When they arrive in Devon she is invited to stay at one of their holiday caravans for the night.  There will be a wedding the next day and Mim is offered work with the catering service, perfect for someone like her with former hotel experience.  The family has four adult children and they are so very nice; not at all stuck up rich despite the estate and ammenities they grew up with.  This is a bit of a Cinderella story without the royalty.

What I liked: The setting in Devon was nice. It was also nice to read about Mim's first experience viewing the sea.  With the exception of Janet the characters were all likeable as was the plot. The cover is quite pretty and that would have drawn me to pick up the book in a bookstore and see what the book was about.

What I didn't like: Mim was described as stubborn and proud but sometimes her refusal or taking exception to a free cup of tea or use of heat in the caravan went too far.  Yes, we get it that Mim was not a charity case and she was proud but that could have been toned down a bit. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book.  This will be published April 16, 2021.

Genre: General Fiction/Romance/Women's Fiction

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Searcher by Tana French

The Searcher was another of Tana French's novels which had me hooked from the start.  I loved the setting and having been fortunate enough to visit Ireland a few times, she nailed the atmosphere.  The dialogue, the way the chill and cold was described as seeping into your bones, the banter at the pubs - loved it.

These charatcers were brought to life and I felt I was in the room when they were talking in the pub or at Cal's cottage.  Cal Hooper was a likeable enough character and while he could be villager in a future novel, I don't see him as playing a major part as a detective coming up. I mention this as I saw some reviews which expressed interest in seeing him in an upcoming novel.  I just don't see how that could work.

He is after all a retired American detective trying to find peace and quiet in beautiful Ireland. A child named Trey seems to stalk him and eventually asks Cal to investigate the disappearance of Trey's older brother.  He agrees and while it seems an unlikely scenario for an American to involve himself in an investigation all on his own, it all plays out to a satisfactory ending.  You get some surprises and if you didn't like Witch Elm, her last book, you'll be glad this plot and set of characters was an improvement.

That being said, I much prefered the Dublin Murder Squad series and long for Tana French to return to those type novels.  I loved the way a minor character in an investigation was given a bigger role in the next book.  Give me Frank Mackey, Cassie Maddox, Rob Ryan and Stephen Moran again.

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Fallen Angel by Jenny O'Brien


The setting is northern Wales and our recovering detective Gaby Darin is back in the third installment of this series.  Gaby is acting Detective Inspector while the the current DI is on sick leave trying to beat cancer. 

As there seems to a lull in crime in Llandudno, DI Darin and her team look into old cold cases.  Her right hand man and friend Owen Bates brings her the case about Angelica Brock.  She was found in a remote area with her white blonde hair spread around her like a halo, dressed in an old white nightdress which was not her own and curled in a fetal position.  There wasn't DNA to help then.

The case from over 20 years ago looked like a random killing but as the team goes over the old case notes connections appear with other unsolved murders, too many to be coincidence.  There are good surprises woven into the storyline and I very much enjoyed the detectives' interaction with one another. I am especially fond of the medical examiner Rusty Mulholland. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the complimentary copy of this book.  This was published 20 November 2020 and is the third book in the Detective Gaby Darin series. I was not compensated for my review.

Genre is Mystery and Thrillers/Adult Fiction

Friday, December 4, 2020

2021 nonfiction Reader Challenge

 Next year I will be partiipating in the Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.  Check out the sign up post and info HERE.

The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2021. There are twelve categories of topics and this year I think I will stick with the Nonfiction Nibbler. 

Categories are as follows:

1. Biography

2. Travel

3. Self-help

4. Essay Collection

5. Disease

6. Oceanography

7. Hobbies

8. Indigenous Cultures

9. Food

10. Wartime Experiences

11. Inventions

12. Published in 2021

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Holding by Graham Norton

 I have become a huge fan of Graham Norton's books.  This book was his first but I am just getting to it.  Once I'd read A Keeper I knew I wanted all of his books. 

The setting is a very small Irish village called Dureen.  Everyone knows one another and likely knows everyone else's business.  The major characters are Sgt. P.J. Collins, the only Garda in the town with little in the way of crime to keep his investigative skills sharp.  He is overweight and often laughed at but things will change for him once a murder investigation begins.  Old bones are discovered buried at a former farm and it's suspected to be a young man who disappeared some 30 years ago.

The Ross sisters have their own stories and secrets.  Abigail, Florence and Evelyn are unmarried and live together at their father's farm. Both parents are dead and the back story to their lives is quite sad.

Brid and Anthony are another couple with a complicated storyline, not complicated to read just a matter of when their secrets intersect and the results that follow. Cryptic, I know, but I don't want to give spoilers. 

The characters were well developed and you grow to like almost all of them.  There is enough mystery and dark humor to keep you turning the pages and I hope Mr. Norton has a long and successful writing career.  He can count on me to buy all forthcoming books.

If you like a bit of drama and dark humor, as well as the Irish setting, you will enjoy this book.

Sharing with Joy's Book Blog for British Isles Friday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021

Marg of The Intrepid Reader blog is the host for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge in 2021.

I do like a book challenge and I'm signing up for the Medieval level with 15 books.  

Here are the levels:

20th Century Reader - 2 books
Victorian Reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

The sign up page may be located HERE so check it out if you'd like to join in for 2021.

Happy  reading!

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Roundup

 I had signed up for the book challenge at Shelleyrae's site  Book'd Out  and went for the Nibbler category of six books.  Here'...