Nora elbowed her way up to the railing and looked down. The paddle wheel was making its last turn, dredging up a mass of turquoise chiffon made almost transparent by the water. A hand, its red lacquered fingernails a contrast to the pale white skin, stuck up from a bejeweled cuff…
A relaxing cruise down the Mississippi on the Miss Delta Belle steamboat turns to tragedy when celebrity Delilah Dove falls from the deck and is swallowed by the river faster than you can say ‘man overboard!’
It’s touted as a tragic accident, but guests Miss Nora Marsh and her wily great-aunt Julia know a murder when they see one. Can they get justice for Delilah and crack the case without alerting the murderer to their suspicions?
As Nora and Julia hunt for clues it emerges that nearly everyone had a reason to want Delilah dead. And that’s bad news for the two sleuths—who want to solve the case pronto, before Mississippi police chief and Aunt Julia’s nemesis Artemis Leonard comes on board at the next port to launch the official investigation. She’s not letting him get the credit if she can help it.
With multiple suspects and a series of mysterious thefts onboard—not to mention the distractingly handsome Max Lawton turning Nora’s head—this is shaping up to be one tough case to crack. What started as a gentle river voyage is far from plain sailing.
A fun and lively 1920s murder mystery from bestselling author Leighann Dobbs, perfect for fans of T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss.
Published by Bookouture on 1st June 2020
I absolutely love a cosy mystery and having read and enjoyed the Blackmoore Sisters series by this author I was excited to dive into this murder mystery set in the 1920’s.
Julia and Nora made a great team and have to work to solve the mystery in just a few days whilst keeping their investigation under wraps. I also really enjoyed the descriptions of 1920’s fashion throughout as it really gave a feel for the time.
This was a quick and fun read and a definite win for anyone who enjoys a cosy mystery and a bit of light historical fiction and any Agatha Christie fans out there!
I was not disappointment and am looking forward to the next instalment in this series!
Thank you to @bookouture and @netgalley for my #gifted ebook in exchange for review.
USA Today bestselling author, Leighann Dobbs, discovered her passion for writing after a twenty year career as a software engineer. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Bruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and beautiful rescue cat, Kitty.
Her book “Dead Wrong” won the “Best Mystery Romance” award at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention.
Her book “Ghostly Paws” was the 2015 Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem First Place category winner in the Animal Mystery category.
Oyinkan Braithwaite | Chris Brookmyre | Will Carver | Jane Casey | Lee Child | Ann Cleeves
Will Dean | Louise Doughty | Helen Fitzgerald | Jane Harper | Mick Herron | Val McDermid
Adrian McKinty | Denise Mina | Abir Mukherjee | Alex North | Laura Shepherd-Robinson | Harriet Tyce
Harrogate, 7 May 2020: Today, the longlist of the UK and Ireland’s most prestigious crime novel award is unveiled with literary legends and dynamic debuts in contention for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year…
Now in its 16th year, the most coveted prize in crime fiction, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, received a record number of submissions and this highly anticipated longlist of 18 titles – 10 of which by women – represents crime writing at its best: celebrating four former winners, a Booker Prize contender, and the fresh new voices taking the genre by storm.
The line-up of returning champions is led by Scottish supernova Denise Mina, vying to become the first author to complete a hat trick with the deeply unsettling thriller Conviction. Mina is joined by fellow Glaswegian bestseller Chris Brookmyre and his psychological suspense Fallen Angel, ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid’s latest masterful Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigation, How the Dead Speak, and Lee Child CBE, with the final Jack Reacher, Blue Moon, before sharing authorship with his brother Andrew.
The longlist also features several previously nominated authors hoping to go one step further and claim the trophy with Mick Herron securing a fifth pick for his much-lauded Slough House series with Joe Countryand a nod for Abir Mukherjee’s new Wyndham & Banerjee instalment,Smoke and Ashes, and fan favourite Vera and Shetland author Ann Cleeves returns with The Long Call, marking the launch of a new North Devon series. Further Theakston alumni in the running include Adrian McKinty with his electrifying thriller The Chain, Helen Fitzgerald and the darkly comic Worst Case Scenario,and outback noir from Jane Harper in The Lost Man.
Rising stars of the genre are celebrated with three debuts on the list. Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was spotlighted in the Festival’s highly respected ‘New Blood’ panel in 2019, has been recognised for her Booker longlisted My Sister the Serial Killer. Harriet Tyce is in contention for her electrifying domestic noir Blood Orange that draws on her own experience as a criminal barrister, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson for the deeply atmospheric Blood & Sugar, bringing the 1780s Deptford Docks to life.
Established voices joining the Theakston ranks for the first time include Jane Casey and her latest Maeve Kerriganinstalment Cruel Acts, Alex Northwith his chilling police procedural The Whisper Man, Louise Doughty, who is longlisted for the eerily unnerving Platform Seven, Will Carverwith the mesmerising thriller Nothing Important Happened Today; and Val McDermid’s 2018 New Blood selection: Will Dean and his eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, the stunning Scandi noirRed Snow.
The full longlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020 is:
The award is run by Harrogate International Festivals in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019 by UK and Irish authors.
The longlist was selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee, and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd, the Express, and WHSmith.
The 18 titles will be promoted in a dedicated online campaign from WHSmith, digital promotional materials will be made available for independent bookstores, and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s online community – You’re Booked – will raise a virtual glass to the titles and authors through interviews, features and a variety of further interactive content, as well as giving the opportunity to see a selection of events from the Festival’s extensive archive. This forms part of the Harrogate International Festival virtual season of events, which presents a raft of live music, specially commissioned performances, literary events and interviews to bring a free festival experience to your own digital doorstep.
The Princess of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s and 1980s. The book pays homage to her home town of Felling on Tyne and is an extended, loving letter to her late parents.
This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.
The book contains reminiscences by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.
Reading this was like getting snuggled up on the sofa with a glass of wine with your best friend while they told you tales of their childhood. I really enjoyed listening to the goings on of a small village and the changes that have come about, it felt really relatable as I have always lived in a small village!
You can really feel the authors love for her village shine through this is book and seeing the real pictures of the locations she was talking about.
I was also lucky enough to be sent the prequel which really explained where the name for the second book came from and read as such a lovely fairy tale that I wish it was a children’s book!
Thank you to @annecater and #RandomThingsTours for my #gifted copy in exchange for review
To find out more about the author, pick up a copy of this book!
Reality TV turns deadly in Cherry Hinton’s first case
When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Barry do it, didn’t they?
Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love… but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop, and tries to forget all about Expose.
Until Kenny Thorpe s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Barry innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?
Cherry is the only one in a position to find out.
Published by Farrago on the 2nd April 2020, 320 pages
Set in Essex, this is the story of ex journalist/reality tv star, Cherry Hinton, who has fled to Brentwood and opened a cake shop in order to forget her past and move on. But when a murder victims sister turns up at her shop claiming that the person who was imprisoned for the crime might be innocent, Cherry can’t control her investigative nature and ends up in all sorts of trouble…
I really enjoyed this book; it was a light and funny story that I read in one go. It was a great cosy mystery and I really enjoyed that it was set in the UK and mentioned locations close to home. I also liked that it made fun of the amount of reality TV shows we have now.
I will definitely be on the lookout for the next instalment.
Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators…
When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.
Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.
As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…
Published by Orenda Books on the 23rd January 2020, 300 Pages.
This is the story, set in Edinburgh, of a family who run a funeral home/detective agency. It is told through the perspectives of three females, the grandmother, the mother and the daughter. I was instantly hooked as I am very close with my mum and nana with my father not being in the picture and my grandad having passed away.
This was darkly comical and fabulously twisty. For me this was like a cozy crime mystery with a punch and I loved it,
The story has a few main story lines which I was concerned would get confusing, but it didn’t at all, and I loved seeing each of the different generations thoughts as the book progressed
I really hope this is going to be a series as I would love to know what the Skelf Ladies get up to next!
Thank you to @OrendaBooks for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
Well, today’s the day! The first special guests have been announced for The Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival for 2020! Now regular readers will know that this is my favourite crime festival and this year I’ll be attending for the 5th year in a row. It has been called The Best Crime Festival in the world and I have to agree! So let me tell you who’s going to be there this year (and one name has got me VERY EXCITED!!)
The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is thrilled to announce its 2020 Special Guests at the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival.
Crime writing royalty Martina Cole, Mark Billingham, Lisa Gardner, Kathy Reichs, Elly Griffiths, Mick Herron and Michael Connelly will be appearing as part of the killer line-up curated by this year’s Festival Programming Chair and Rebus author, Ian Rankin OBE.
The appointment started with a discussion on books I had read and enjoyed and then what I didn’t like. I was then brought coffee and cake while the shop assistant went off to pair me with a selection of books. I promptly had a nosy round and found a book I liked the sound of, so snuggled up into one of the arm chairs and began to read whilst enjoying my refreshments! The shop assistant then came back with a tower of books and proceeded to talk through each one with me!! It was incredible and definitely worth the money.
The only trouble was shortening the stack down!! But I am very happy with what I left with!
p.s they also have an American supplier so for my UK book buddies who are desperate for US books/certain book covers give them a call!!
The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary
This is the story of Tiffy, who needs to move out of her ex’s house and Leon, who needs extra cash. As Leon works nights during week then and stays at his girlfriends at the weekends he thinks he has the perfect solution to his money troubles, a flat share, of his one bedroom flat. Tiffy doesn’t have many options with her limited budget so an agreement is made of which hours the flat belongs to each person and they each have a dedicated side of the bed, simple. or not.
I found this a really fresh idea and was super excited when I nabbed a copy from my local library. It did not disappoint. I absolutely loved this book, it made me laugh so much that my husband told me to go and read somewhere else as I was annoying him. Tiffys character was entertaining and delightful and you cant help but warm to Leon! I could read a whole book of just the post it note exchanges between them!
I also really appreciated that topics such as mental health and emotional abuse/blackmail were dealt with and were not just glossed over, making this deeper than an average rom-com.
I can 100% see why it is WHSmith book of the year. Just days after reading this I was one of the lucky ones who got granted their net galley wish of getting the authors second book, The Switch, that’s out next April, as an ARC from the publisher, I cant wait to read it!
The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen – Juliet Ashton
This a tale of how friends become family and a lesson on avoiding isolating yourself. It used the life of a woman living/running a business in London to cover a variety of serious topics such as mental health, addiction, bereavement etc whilest still having some light hearted and amusing moments.
Overall I found the story enjoyable and well written but slightly to staged in places – so many slight misunderstandings that cause a ripple!
Would recommend to a friend for a summer read.
Thanks to net galley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Love Secret Santa – S.A Domingo
This was a story of a study intensive young girl who opens herself up to new opportunities when she receives and advent calendar with hidden prompts to do each day.
I really enjoyed the slow build of the young romance and the lovely ideas that the author had about what schools organised over the festive period.
This was a lovely YA Christmas read that I could 100% see as one of those feel good Christmas Netflix films you look forward to watching, well written and definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.
Would recommended to anyone wanting an easy read to escape into over Christmas and I will be buying a copy to give to my bookish friends at Christmas!
Thanks to net galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is four short stories (rather than one continuous story, you do see character cross over but they are ultimately separate stories) about people desire to go back to the past. At a little café you get the chance to do so by sitting in a particular chair drinking coffee (while its hot!)
It is a lovely idea and the stories are quick and easy to read but I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary page filler and I’m wondering if this is down to translation.
Thanks to net galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This week I’m super excited for the #bookstagramawards short lists to be revealed. One super awesome bookstagrammer decided that the awards that were out there were not representative of the bookstagram community and I have to say I agree, I see hundreds of book posts every day and hardly any of them show what’s nominated in these so called awards. So, she took on the mammoth task of picking categories and then opening the floor to nominations revealed (all nominations are for books published this year) so I have been really exited for these short lists to be revealed.
So far we have had the following categories:
Head on over and check it out, I would love to hear from you if you have read any of them! I have only read four of them, will put my review for Queenie at the bottom of this weeks blog, the others (My sister is a serial killer, Girl Woman Other and The Silent Patient, can be found in past weeks)
I also started the Goldfinch and Frankly in love this week as part of buddy reads so wish me luck!
The Secrets we Kept – Lara Prescott
I found this book very easy to read and enjoyed the multiple character aspect, including the fact that some chapters were written from the point of view of one character and others from a collective of people voiced as one, i.e ‘the typists’.
I also though liked that it felt fast paced despite being set over such a long period of time.
my only let down is that I felt like it was building to a big twist that never actually emerged! i also which I had read Dr.Z before reading this as i feel like it would have given me more back story.
The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren
A truly feel good romance read, from the uplifting and colourful cover to the heart warming interactions between the characters you cannot help but smile.
This is the story of unlucky Olive who has to take her sisters place on her honeymoon when she and her entire wedding party succumb to food poisoning. She also has to go with the grooms brother who has shown complete distain for her from the day they met.
I love how easy I fell into this book and how I found myself starting it thinking, ‘I will only read a few chapters’, to looking up and noticing it was dark outside!
The characters were well developed and the tension that built really well, I loved the snippy dynamic between Olive and Ethan, their interactions constantly bringing a smile to my face.
The only reason I have give this four and not five stars is because of how believable the story line was, I mean I know its a romance and your going to be shouting at me, “what do you expect from a story that starts with an entire wedding getting food poisoning?!” but I found that it took away from my enjoyment just a little. That being said I will definitely be buying more Christina Lauren books.
The story line was easy to follow and the emotions felt real and raw. a very good piece of YA writing that I would recommend to friends. It also opened my eyes as to how we treat people with visual disfigurements and has made me more aware of what approaches are preferred.
Over all a very good piece of YA writing.
Thanks to net galley for the copy in exchange for review
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Follows the story of Queenie and her downward spiral after breaking up from her long term boyfriend.
This story focuses on friendships, mental heath, racism and sexism. It does get very dark in places but is laugh out loud funny in others (mainly the group text conversations with her friends).
Enjoyable very good read although I did feel she went from 0 to full in crazy very fast!
This week I have read some truly amazing books that I just cant wait to share with you so Im not going to give you my normal ramblings i’m just going to crack on…
Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman
I really loved this book. There were so many quotes and references that I knew, it made me feel so safe and happy!
Yes it was a typical easy to read romance where the heroine has flaws to overcome, an obstacle that is fixed with money and a predictable ending but sometimes that is exactly what you need, especially when the world is so rubbish!!! It also has lots of fun facts, so ya’know your learning and stuff too!
Abbi, please please do book where we see Nina running the store?!
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
This book is dedicated to presenting the life experiences of 12 black British women, through out the past century, each connected to another in some way. There is just so much going on in this book its hard to put into words how good it is without rambling for days!
I have to admit that I did struggle to begin with, purely with the style it is written in. It is a free declamatory style, using commas, but no capital letters, no full-stops and no quotation marks. The prose is printed almost as verse, with random line breaks which, I think, is what I struggled with most (An instagrammer told me that the breaks were where your brain would naturally pause, you will have to try it yourself to see if you agree!) but after the first few chapters I did find myself not noticing this anymore and continued on to really enjoy the story.
I absolutely loved this book, such an original and clever idea, one that men should actually consider!!! It was so easy to read (and even harder to put down).
I thought the characters were all likeable and easy to relate to. The story develops at a fast pace which I loved (a lot of these types can get too caught up in the build up) and there were lots of genuine laugh out loud moments.
I would recommend this to anyone who wants to escape into a book for a few hours and come out with a smile.
Bring on book 2!!!
Thanks to net galley for the arc in exchange for honest review
So this week has been full of learning about all the Instagram terms that relate to books and there are literally thousands, like did you know the book community on Instagram is called bookstagram?! One of my favourite things I have come across thanks to bookstagram is buddy reads. This is where a group of bookstagramers agree to read a certain book by a date, create a group chat and then discuss!!
My first buddy read was for Katherine McGee’s American Royals and I’m so glad it was as the book had been sitting on my tbr for a while but I kept putting it off thinking it wasn’t my kind of book and I think that’s still where it would be if it hadn’t been for the buddy read!
American Royals – Katherine McGee
I loved this novel this tells the tale of if America had a royal family instead of presidents. I found it a hybrid of the princesses diaries and gossip girl, who wouldn’t love that!
My favourite part was probably the end (cant say too much without spoiling it) but I could completely visualise it almost to the point where I had cast the actors in my head!
Most of the couples seemed well matched and I really liked that the sisters sis end up communicating as so many stories now depend on the characters misunderstanding the situation and being too afraid to talk to the other people.
There were so many loveable characters but my favourites were Bee, Conner and Samantha. I know a lot of people dislike Daphne but I did feel sorry for her with all the pressure on her. However I really really did not like Nina’s character, I felt she was selfish and could have brought so much more to the story with being one of the only “commoners” to feature prominently.
Cant wait for book 2 coming out next year!
Bear Town – Fredrik Backman
I still haven’t been able to review this as I just don’t think I an do it justice so i’m going to come back to this. I will say that the narration of this on Audible was outstanding, I sat in my car with tears streaming down my face so many times!
The Dreamers Karen Thompson Walker
A small town suffers from a pandemic sleeping illness that starts in a college dorm.
I read the synopsis for this and was immediately drawn it, it sounded like a brilliant idea but it just didn’t cut it for me.
I enjoyed the writing style, almost felt like I was floating above the town looking down at what was going on, and there were some genuine moments of suspense that made me think something more sinister was coming.
The actual story line let it down for me, it felt like it was just one big observation on what dreams are rather than a thought out story. The author was also very vocal on when she believes life begins which might be hard for some who have been through certain events find hard to read.
So Lucky – Dawn O’Porter
If you liked The Cows, you will enjoy this book!
This is a another story of female empowerment from Dawn O’Porter. Just as in “The Cows” the book is written from three different female perspectives each with their own issues. Ruby has body image and issues, Beth has marriage issues and Lauren has mental health issues and her story is told through Instagram posts, they all have mother issues.
I enjoyed the book and following the story to how all the women finally became connected, I always enjoy that the separate stories come together and I did really feel for the Beth.
I felt the ending let it down a little but that maybe because I was expecting a similar shocking twist as in Dawn’s previous book. It maybe unfair of me to expect a similar ending to another book but as it was written in a very similar style and progressed in the same way it felt like a foregone conclusion.
Since we are reviewing Dawn’s latest book I though I would tag on my reviw of her previous book, the cows which I read in 2018…
The Cows – Dawn O’Porter
Written from three different female perspectives, Tara is a middle aged single mum working in TV; Camilla is a blogger known for her strong opinions and liberated lifestyle; Stella is the PA suffering the loss of her twin. After Tara gets caught in a social media storm we follow each of the women’s lives to the inevitable moment when they are all brought together.
There were some cringe moments but also some genuine lol parts. This book was not what I was expecting from the synopsis, I felt it was going to be a heavy going feminist novel, it was more like chick lit with a message and definitely worth the read. I also did not see one part coming which really surprised me which rarely happens for me!
Also loving how my logo t-shirt turned out, perfect match for this book!
About the Author:
DAWN O’PORTER lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, her two boys Art and Valentine, and her cat Lilu and dog Potato.
Dawn started out in TV production but quickly landed in front of the camera, making numerous documentaries that included immersive investigations of Polygamy, Size Zero, Childbirth, Free Love, Breast Cancer and the movie Dirty Dancing. Further TV work included This Old Thing, a prime-time Channel 4 show celebrating the wonders of vintage clothing.
Dawn’s journalism has appeared in multiple publications and she was the monthly columnist for Glamour magazine. She is now a full-time writer of six books – although she would probably have written sixteen if it weren’t for her addiction to Instagram Stories.