Sunday, 30 December 2018

*************My top 20 books of 2018 **************

Here are my top 20 books. They are in the order I read them. They have all been awarded  my special 5** rating. To earn that they have to have several things- a good plot, likeable characters, a good ending and that special something. It could be an emotional pull, it could be a very cleverly thought out plot. That "Je ne sais quio"

1. Fifty Years of Fear- Ross Greenwood - Crime A stunning read and a title that resonated with me.

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 https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2017/12/fifty-years-of-fear-ross-greenwood-5-my.html

2. Three things about Elsie- Joanna Cannon. One of those special reads you never forget.

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https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/three-things-about-elsie-joanna-cannon.html

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz- Heather Morris . A very memorable read and one I will never forget

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather   Morris

https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-tattooist-of-auschwitz-heather.html

4. The Last Laugh- Tracy Bloom  "Live life with hope" a truly wonderful uplifting read

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-last-laugh-tracy-bloom-5-stunning.html

5. The Pact- S.E Lynes- One I found hard to put down

The Pact: A gripping psychological thriller with heartstopping suspense
https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-pact-s.html

6. The Key- Kathryn Hughes A brave topic, a sensetive issue very well dealt with.
The Key by Kathryn Hughes
https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-key-kathryn-hughes-5-ellen-crosby.html


7. Where the Missing Go- Emma Rowley- A highly emotive read
Where the Missing Go

https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/where-missing-go-emma-rowley-5-warning.html

8 The Good Samaritan- John Marrs A brilliantly entertaining read#

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. https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-good-samaritan-john-marrs-5-laura.html

9. Over my shoulder- Patricia Dixon A brilliantly written gripping read



https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/08/over-my-shoulder-patricia-dixon-5.html

10 Thirteen -Steve Cavanagh Oh boy- on the edge of my seat!

https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/06/thirteen-steve-cavanagh-5.html

11. They Don't Know- Patricia Dixon- a very different love, a wonderful read.


https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/08/they-dont-know-patricia-dixon-5-adam.html

12. Getting Over Gary- Jessica Redland A book that gave me strength


https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/06/getting-over-gary-jessica-redland-elise.html

13. Do No Harm- Lucy V. Hay A brilliant psychological thriller


https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/07/do-no-harm-lucy-v.html

14 I give you my heart- Sarah-Jane Forder Another really special read

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https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/i-give-you-my-heart-sarah-jane-ford-5.html

15. The next person you meet in Heaven- Mitch Albom Like a precious gem that sparkles.


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https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-next-person-you-meet-in-heaven.html

16. The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert aged 19-91. David M Barnett A brilliantly inspiring read


The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert, Aged 19 Going on 91

https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-growing-pains-of-jennifer-ebert.html

17. Becoming the Supervet- Noel; Fitzpatrick an inspiration to all mankind

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https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/12/listening-to-animals-becoming-supervet.html

18. The Uninvited- J.A Baker Oh boy - a gripping edge of your seat read





https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-uninvited-by-j.html

19. Three Mothers- Patricia Dixon- A beautiful story that had me in its pages.

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https://nickibookblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/three-mothers-patricia-dixon-womens.html

20. The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker- Jenni Keet - out Jan 2019. Review to follow






Friday, 21 December 2018





The Winter Mystery- Faith Martin- Crime
(This was previously published as “ A Fatal Fall of Snow” under Faith’s other name of Joyce Cato)
Jenny has been employed by a farm to cook for them for two weeks over the Christmas
period. She arrives in deep snow and finds the atmosphere inside the house is even
chillier than the weather outside. Stan runs the place with a rod of iron and is
despised by all around him- and they are mostly family. He scrimps on everything
and it turns out that the farm is really owned by his nicer older brother Sid but Stan
has acted as though it was his since time immemorial. ~When Sid not Stan is found
murdered who could be the culprit and the even bigger question is why?
I really enjoyed this. Jenny is not a private detective just a bystander who has
her eyes and ears open and happily chats to people which draws the information
out. There is a “homeliness” feel to her, her love of people but keen sense of right
and what just doesn’t sit quite right. This is based around Christmas but could
be read at any time of the year as it is all about he family and the murder rather
than the festive season. A heartwarming tale of family wrongs and history
being put right. Certainly one to lift the spirit. Merry Christmas!
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.




FAITH MARTIN
Faith Martin was born in Oxford, and has spent all her life within twenty miles of the university city, even working at Somerville College for five years before turning to writing full-time. The author of the popular DI Hillary Greene novels, she also writes more classic-style 'whodunits' under the pen name Joyce Cato, but began her writing career as Maxine Barry, winning an award for penning romance novels! A popular writer for over 25 years, she has had nearly 50 novels published so far. Her hobbies include walking her now ageing dog, wildlife-watching, reading and (reluctantly) gardening.  


THE WINTER MYSTERY by Faith Martin

Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These charming mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is.

“Classic murder mystery story with a twist at the end” Oxford Times

Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.

Please note this book was first published as “A FATAL FALL OF SNOW” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
Jenny Starling is spending Christmas in a snowed-in country house cooking all the traditional food she loves. But the family she’s working for are not full of the seasonal spirit. In fact, they seem to hate each other.

On Christmas Eve, someone is found dead on the kitchen table. And the head of the family is blaming Jenny!

But with an incompetent detective called in, and seemingly no motive for the murder, Jenny will have to give the police a hand.

She will stop at nothing to clear her name and find the real murderer.

This is the second of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page.

Thursday, 20 December 2018


Mo Mo Mo! Merry Christmas, Maureen! by [Hill, Jonathan]

Mo Mo Mo Merry Christmas Maureen- Jonathan Hill

Free on Kindle ****

Hahah!! One to make you smile on every page. When Santa has developed a hernia and
Maureen has to step in (because she fits the costume) things can only go from bad to
 worse, especially when she thinks the coat has its own magic. I won't say to much
as this is a short (under an hour) read but if you want something to lift your spirits
over the festive season and bring a smile then this could be the very read.


The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup- Crime

A woman is murdered and nearby a chestnut doll is found. When a partial fingerprint
from this is linked to a missing girl, presumed dead from a year before hand, Thulin
and Hess are perplexed to say the least. The missing girl was the daughter of a leading
politician and a man has been charged with her murder as a blood stained axe was
found at his premises with her blood on it. This is the author who wrote “The Killing”
recently seen on TV in the UK. The book is of good length (500 pages) and the chapters
kept short and snappy to keep things moving along. I didn’t watch The Killing but even
from the first few chapters of this book can see how it became so popular.
There is the tension, the building of the characters and a plot that could go anywhere.
A sub plot which doesn’t detract from the main one but in this case adds to it- could it
be the same person? A gritty read, a little disturbing at times. A true Scandinavian
crime read which you would expect. A debut novel which I think will be well
received on the back of The Killing. Could this be another TV series?
A book with a difference, a book that kept me turning. A book I think will go far.




THE CHESTNUT MAN-SØREN SVEISTRUP

10th January 2019 / Hardback / Michael Joseph / £12.99
Introducing the nail-biting debut thriller from the BAFTA and Emmy winning creator
of global TV sensation The Killing.
Publishing in 21 territories around the world, The Chestnut Man captures
all the unrelenting tension, style and atmosphere that made The Killing unmissable

viewing and amass legions of fans worldwide

Publishing in 21 territories around the world, The Chestnut Man captures
all the unrelenting tension, style and atmosphere that made The Killing unmissable
viewing and amass legions of fans worldwide.
Søren Sveistrup is available for interview and will be in the UK for publication.
One Tuesday in October, Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as minister for social affairs
following a year’s leave of absence – granted after the dramatic disappearance of her
twelve year-old daughter. Linus Bekker, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing,
but is unable to remember where he buried the various parts of her dismembered corpse.
On the same day Rosa returns to Parliament, a young single mother is found brutally
murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen-she’s been tortured, and one hand
has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, the detectives sent to investigate the crime, arrive at the
address to find a figure made of chestnuts hanging from a playhouse nearby.
When yet another woman is murdered-this time with both hands missing-and another
chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect a connection with the
Hartung case. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because its clear that the murderer is ona mission that is far from over…

Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television
phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more
than a hundred countries. Søren Sveistrup (born 1968) holds a master of Literature
and History from the University of Copenhagen and has graduated as script writer
from the Danish Film School.
For more information or to arrange an interview,
please contact Jenny Platt on 0207 139 3123 or

jplatt@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

White is the Coldest Colour (Dr David Galbraith, #1)

White is the coldest colour- John Nicholl- Psychological Thriller

When you can hide behind the persona of a respected title you think you can do almost
whatever takes your fancy and when you have friends in influential places you think
you are unstoppable. Dr Robert Galbraith is a child psychologist and chooses certain
patients for his special treatments. Anthony’s father has left the family home and
Anthony is taking it hard. He is still wetting the bed years beyond being a baby and
his GP thinks he is depressed but doesn’t know why. His mother is at her wits end
with him, trying her best to be supportive but can’t behind whatever is causing him
to have changed from a happy-go-lucky little boy in to a withdrawn, shy, nervous
child. This is a highly sensitive subject and has been researched well. John used to
be in the police and a child protection social worker so has first hand experience of
what life can throw at some unfortunate souls from some very dark twisted minds
of others. I have read all of Johns books and somehow this one had slipped the net.
This is our first glimpse of DI Gravel- a character whom I loved in the other books
when we get to know him more and his character shines through. In this one he
begins his reign, a man determined to seek out those on the wrong side of the law.
A stunning debut novel. A tense disturbing read at times, a clever plot,
a captivating read.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

Are you looking for a dark and gripping psychological thriller? Then you'll love White Is The Colour by #1 best-selling author John Nicholl.

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family is oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP, following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.

Fifty-eight-year-old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic, predatory paedophile, employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

When Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But can Anthony be saved before it’s too late?

The book includes content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.
 






About John Nicholl:
John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. 
John’s books are set in the UK and have a strong Welsh flavour. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.
John has publishing deals with Bloodhound Books, W.F. Howes Ltd, and Hungarian publisher – konyvmolykepzo. His latest novel, Anonymity, will be published by Bloodhound Books in November 2018. 

John’s Social Media Links:
Author website: http://www.johnnicholl.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholl06 @nicholl06


Monday, 17 December 2018

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Amy Cole is Zen as F**k- Elizabeth McGivern- Literary Humour

Amy runs a business consultancy with her best friend Elle. Her mother is still waiting for
her to get a “proper” job. When the line“nope, there’s not enough alcohol in the world
to talk to my mother” appears, you get the idea. That has to be one of my all time
favourite lines ever! After successfully finishing therapy after her breakdown Amy
decides the next step is to lose some weight and so joins a local group. The leader
of the group is not exactly subtle to say the very least and shames everyone into
losing weight. Elle suddenly is getting married to River whom Amy managed to run
over. You get the idea- chaos and fun along the way. A look at life with a twist of
humour. Amy has an honesty to her- one we would all like occasionally to say exactly
as we thought but were too polite to. Amy and Elle are our “other” personas- ones
who have things happen to them like the rest of us but have such a friendship that
they can pull each other out of the mud whilst sometimes slinging it at the same time.
A wonderful uplifting read that had me in stitches.
I very much look forward to the next Amy and Elle instalment- I need to know more!!!
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

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Saturday, 15 December 2018





They don’t know- Patricia Dixon- 5**

One of my top reads of the year.

Adam and Ryan are brothers. One has signed up for the forces and the other is at university.
Ryan, the elder one,has always been protective of his younger brother. Even more so since
they lost their parents. Their father was a good -for-nothing criminal and their mother died
from an overdose. They were mainly raised by their grandmother who following a stroke is
now in a home. Daisy lives in France with her parents and has returned to England to
attend university. Ryan speaks to her on the first day when they are both very unsure
of themselves and find themselves in a unique friendship that no-one quite understands.
This is a story of life and friendships. Of those people that have that special
something that you don’t want to spoil. Of life’s highs and lows, turmoil and tribulations,
successes and not quite so successful things we all go through. Beautifully written,
wonderfully described. I loved Daisy and Adam from the start. By the end I felt I knew
them. If you want to restore your faith in human nature then this is one of the books
you should perhaps read. It takes you away to a wonderful place in your mind-
a relaxing read to sink into whilst getting to know these characters that come alive
on the page. Stunningly written this will be one of my books of the year. I fell in
love with the characters, I enjoyed the plot and I really didn’t want it to end.
A book I will remember for a very long time. They don’t know about us-
they’ve never heard of love.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1



They Don’t Know blurb


Daisy meets Adam on their first day at Manchester University and they immediately become firm friends, inseparable and happy in each other’s company. But when tongues begin to wag and their relationship is questioned, for the first time in his life Adam shares his secret with Daisy.  Daisy promises to stand by him and keep his secret.

When their Grandmother dies, Adam’s older brother, Ryan, returns from abroad and Daisy quickly falls for him.

After a troubled upbringing at the hands of a drunken mother and jailbird father, Adam and Ryan only have each other. In adulthood their bond holds firm, glued together by Daisy with whom they are now both in love.

Adam struggles with his secret and the fear of ever losing Daisy to another man. Is he besotted and quietly controlling and soon the past starts to influence his choices.

Ryan is motivated, selfish and sees everything in black and white, living in a military world that shields him from the demons of his past, bringing order to his life.

And in the middle is Daisy who loves both of them and makes a promise to each. One she sets free, the other she vows to protect and never abandon.

But when tragedy strikes can Daisy ever find happiness?

They Don’t Know is a beautiful novel about the promises we make and the different kinds of love.

Author Bio:


Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson, plus the company of a lazy bulldog. 

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood. 

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written five novels set in the Loire and then, in complete contrast, a much darker story of psychological suspense.

She is currently writing her next book, a murderous tale set in the sixties and if she’s not at her desk Patricia loves to read historical fiction or attempts recipes that look great on television but not necessarily her plate. And when the penny jar is full she cashes in her coins and heads to France, the lure of red wine and escapism equalled only by the pursuance of her dream job, writing for a living.

Links:




THE BIRTHDAY MYSTERY by Faith Martin - Crime
Jenny Sparrow arrives at a country manor to cater for a joint birthday party. She has a
sense that something isn’t quite right and is told that there has been a death. On
looking out of the window she sees a body being pulled from the lake. She is catering
for the twins of the owners of the house. Both rather spoilt and wanting their own
way. Jenny soon finds more than cooking gossip in the kitchen.When one of the guests
falls down dead in the middle of the party it is rather a mystery as to who and why as
they were surrounded by other guests. This rather reminded me of the TV series
“Rosemary and Thyme” with Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. Household helps that
have a nose for something untoward going on and finding out more than the police
and sometimes more than they should. I took to Jenny and her simplicity. Saying
things how they are and being truthful both with herself and others and not letting
those that thought they were above her treat her as such. She also has a crusade
to bring back real food- a woman of my own heart (and cooking!) I had to smile at
one of the police characters being Inspector Mollern- the name of a boat in a
certain Hillary Greene series. A very enjoyable start to the beginning of a series.
I think Jenny and I are going to become firm friends!
Please note this book was first published as “BIRTHDAYS CAN BE MURDER”
under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/
or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Amazon Top 1000 reviewer.

-------------

HE BIRTHDAY MYSTERY by Faith Martin

Discover a new series of whodunits by million-selling author Faith Martin. These classic-style mysteries will have you scratching your head to work out who the murderer is. Meet Jenny Starling: travelling cook and reluctant amateur detective.

Please note this book was first published as “BIRTHDAYS CAN BE MURDER” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.

Jenny Starling is catering the twenty-first birthday party of a pair of posh twins, Alicia and Justin.

But when she arrives at their parent’s country house, she is immediately met by the police. A young man has drowned in the pond. Was it an accident or murder?

Then just after midnight everyone gathers for a champagne toast. But one of the guests falls down dead.

The police are baffled and there is a whole party full of suspects. But when it comes to someone adding the extra ingredient of poison to her own precious recipes, Jenny isn't going to take it lying down. She has a reputation to protect.

Jenny Starling won't stop until the murderer is found.

This is the first of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with a great cast of characters and baffling crimes which will keep you in suspense to the final page. Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.

JENNY STARLING
In her late twenties, Jenny Starling is an impressive woman. Physically, she stands at 6ft 1inch, and has shoulder-length black hair and blue eyes. Curvaceous and sexy, she’s a modern single woman, living the lifestyle that suits her – that of a travelling cook. Her famous (and now very rich) father, is a ‘celebrity’ cook, divorced from Jenny’s mother.  Jenny drives a disreputable cherry-red van, and is happy travelling the country catering events and cooking great food. She is on a one-woman crusade to bring back ‘real’ food. And definitely doesn’t like having to divert her attention from achieving the perfect Dundee cake or creating a new sauce recipe by having to solve a murder. She finds crime very distracting, especially when there is chocolate to temper or pike to poach. Nevertheless, she is very good at reading people, and with a quick and agile brain, becomes very good at unmasking killers. And her always-undaunted sense of humour goes a long way in keeping her sane when all around her people are dropping like flies.

FAITH MARTIN is the best-selling author of the DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE mysteries, which have sold over 1 million copies globally in just over a year.

FAITH MARTIN
Faith Martin was born in Oxford, and has spent all her life within twenty miles of the university city, even working at Somerville College for five years before turning to writing full-time. The author of the popular DI Hillary Greene novels, she also writes more classic-style 'whodunits' under the pen name Joyce Cato, but began her writing career as Maxine Barry, winning an award for penning romance novels! A popular writer for over 25 years, she has had nearly 50 novels published so far. Her hobbies include walking her now ageing dog, wildlife-watching, reading and (reluctantly) gardening.  

The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...