Title: Ghosts

Author: Dolly Alderton

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

The Review

I’m just going to say it. I LOVED GHOSTS.

Now with that out of the way let me tell you why. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is a story of modern dating. The trials and tribulations, the changes that have taken place over the past few years, the advancement of online dating. But it is also much more than that. It is a story of changing relationships – how life can come between even the best friends. It is the developing and every changing story of family dynamics. But, again, it is much more than that. It is a story of independence.

It was so multilayered and all in 336 pages.

The novel went from happy to sad back to happy in warp speed. You are really taken on a journey with protagonist Nina Dean. For me, the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moments were the scenes with her father. The love and respect that she has for him seemed to be paralleled in the desire to find a partner who lived up to his standard.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton was such a joy to read. It is one of my favourite reads of 2020 and I cannot wait to see what Alderton produces next.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is available now.

For more information regarding Dolly Alderton (@dollyalderton) please visit linkt.ree/dollyalderton.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: The Inheritance Games

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Penguin/Random House

The Blurb

Let the games begin: an utterly addictive and twisty thriller, full of dark family secrets and deadly stakes. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, Riverdale and Knives Out.

She came from nothing.

Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future. Then an eccentric billionaire dies, and leaves her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything.

Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited: Hawthorne House. It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – a family hellbent on discovering how Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all.

Soon Avery is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing. But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

The Review

When I am choosing a book to read I will question whether or not I have time for it. By that I mean if it is part of a series do I have the capability to commit over the long term? And do I want to start a series when it could be another year (if not longer) before the sequel is released?

I decided to take a chance with The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and man alive I am glad I did. It is a rags to riches story in which protagonist Avery goes from living in her car to being bequeathed a fortune from a mystery benefactor. The only problem is that the old adage proves to be true: where there is a will there is a family.

The fortune comes with some conditions that Avery has to follow if she wants to keep her inheritance but this will prove much more difficult with a scorned family to contend with.

The Inheritance Games is one of the best YA books I have read in a long while. IT is a total page turner and great for anyone who loves a good mystery. I cannot wait for the sequel to be released but as I said before I am going to have to. Sad times. 

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is available now

For more information regarding Jennifer Lynn Barnes (@jenlynnbarnes) please visit www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

The Review

What an absolute gem of a book!

I will admit that it was curiosity that led me to read The Thursday Murder Club. I love Richard Osman on his various television shows and I wondered if he would be as brilliant on page as he is on TV. 

The short answer is yes. More so.

The story centres on four residents of sheltered accommodation who attend a club every Thursday to discuss unsolved crime case files but when a real life crime happens on their doorstep they set about trying to solve it.

The Thursday Murder Club is joyous. I wanted to be old and part of their gang of crime fighters. This novel helps to remind us that we should never underestimate pensioners. They have lived longer and know more so let’s give them a fair chance. 

What is marvellous about this story is that Osman has you guessing to the very last page. I genuinely didn’t see it coming and made various guesses with very sound arguments for all of my suspects throughout. I didn’t even come close.

The Thursday Murder Club has a lot of heart, humour and page turning cliffhangers. I bloody loved it and I hope it gets commissioned to become a TV drama so those who are not readers get to enjoy the story as well.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is available now.

For more information regarding Richard Osman (@richardosman) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Author: Ian Fleming

Pages: 326 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

The eleventh novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.

In the aftermath of Operation Thunderball, Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s trail has gone cold-and so has 007’s love for his job. The only thing that can rekindle his passion is Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, a troubled young woman who shares his taste for fast cars and danger.

She’s the daughter of a powerful crime boss, and he thinks Bond’s hand in marriage may be the solution to all her problems. Bond’s not ready to settle down-yet-but if Tracy’s father can lead him to Blofeld, he’ll consider it.

After tracking the SPECTRE chief to a stronghold in the Swiss Alps, Bond uncovers the details of Blofeld’s latest plot: a biological warfare scheme more audacious than anything the fiend has tried before. Now Bond must save the world once again-and survive Blofeld’s last, very personal, act of vengeance. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

I’m not a fan of the James Bond movies. Actually, if I am really honest, I have never watched one in its entirety but I get the feeling that they are not for me. However, I decided to give one of the books a try because I didn’t want to be too judgemental without cause to back it up. Maybe I just prefer books to movies.

What I found was this: the books haven’t aged aged well. They are quite mysogenistic and I really don’t think glib conversations about rape really endear a reader to the characters.

However, taken as an action thriller and removing sexual abuse I can see why the books (and I guess the movies) have such a following. They are fast paced, have clear discernible villains and heroes and as a reader you have the clear knowledge that you know the hero will win.  It is is the knowledge that you know that the story will end well that makes readers (and viewers) enjoy the stories. The knowledge that they good guy will win that makes it quite satisfying.

I have surprised myself by acknowledging that I would be willing to read more of the Bond, James Bond series.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming is available now.

For more information regarding Ian Fleming (@TheIanFleming) please visit www.ianfleming.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit wwww.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Dear Amy

Author: Helen Callaghan

Pages: 348 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A local schoolgirl has been missing for weeks when Margot Lewis, agony aunt of the ‘Dear Amy’ advice column, receives a letter:

Dear Amy,

I’ve been kidnapped by a strange man. 

I don’t know where I am.

Please help me,

Bethan Avery

This must be a hoax. Because Bethan Avery is another young girl, who went missing twenty years ago.

As more letters arrive, Margot becomes consumed by finding the sender and – unlike the police – convinced that the girls’ disappearances are connected.

Solving this puzzle could save someone’s life – but could it also cost Margot her own?

The Review

Dear Amy is the story of teacher/advice columnist Margot Lewis. Margot receives a letter from a girl who went missing many years ago. This re-opens the crime files and corresponded to a case of a missing girl – one of Margot’s students – that is currently being investigated. It is a race against time to solve both crimes.

I can honestly say that Dear Amy had me absolutely hooked. The two crimes corresponded so well with each other and the perspective – which is mainly told from Margot’s point of view – cleverly shifts to the victims story which heightens the tension. The drama is also driven by making our protagonist unreliable. Her past influences whether we believe her or not. 

Dear Amy is a page turner. You will fight tiredness, chores, work just so you can finish it because it really is that gripping. I am very impressed. 

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan is available now.

For more information regarding Helen Callaghan (@hecallaghan) please visit www.helencallaghan.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.