Tuesday, 30 April 2019


Queenspotting- Hilary Kearney- Factual

A wonderful colourful read for anyone interested in bees. This begins by saying why spot
the queen and giving several reasons for doing so. Here in the UK we would maybe add
one extra reason. For us one of the main reasons for finding the queen is to see if she
is still there and actively laying eggs. Seeing eggs can be one method but if you see the
queen you definitely know she is present. The next section is inside the hive and gives
the jobs of the bees. There are some stunning pictures in this book and it would make
a perfect coffee table book that could be enjoyed by both adults and children alike.
I enjoyed the story about swarm removal. Anyone who has tried to do this will know i
ts never as easy as you first think. Plan A quickly turns to b,c,d…. you get the picture.
The book covers everything from the role of each type of bee, the dances they perform
, turning nectar into honey and even storing honey. There are several pictures of
“just bees” interspersed throughout the book. Each one has a queen in! (there are
answers at the back!) Excellent practice- as she is sometimes rather elusive to say
the very least. An interesting, educational read not just for the beekeeper.
A perfect mix of pictures, stories and facts.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Sunday, 28 April 2019


Twisted- Steve Cavanagh- Psychological Thriller
A famous author is dead. One who is highly successful and sells by the millions. His books
always have twists in them adding to his notoriety.  A man is standing with a gun ready
to take out one of the four people in the world who know who the author really is. Marie
is having an affair with Dylan a local waiter. Her husband is rather controlling and
although she thought he was “the one” early on, this has now changed as things are so
good between her and Dylan. One evening when her husband is away, yet again, she
goes in to his office with Dylan to try and find his secret stash of cigarettes she knows
he keeps there. What they discover is far more than they ever expected. Paul, a
marketing executive,  has been keeping a secret from Marie, a huge life changing one
and now she isn’t sure what to do about it other than she wants the benefit from it,
almost at any price. Paul has his own secrets from his past and will do anything to
make sure they stay there. He is a very private person and even Marie knows little
about his life before they met.This is a different plot from Steve’s other two books I
have read (the others are courtroom based) but he does manage to slip in a mention
to Eddie Flynn who features in them. You are grabbed by intrigue early on from more
than one aspect and then taken on a ride as only Steve knows how. That said this
didn’t slip through my fingers quite as easily as Steve’s other books as it was more
complex and at times I had to stop and think about things. It is a tense read all of the
way through and one to test the grey matter. Twisted just doesn’t cover it- prepare
to be blown away!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

The Suspects

The Suspects- Katherine Johnson- Psychological thriller
Five young people are training as journalists each staying in places they would rather not.
When one suggests buying somewhere together it seems the perfect answer. This is the
late nineteen eighties. Mortgage prices are rising and they are struggling to meet their
bills. When they find a body a few days after a new years eve party in their basement, a
place they rarely go as it is so damp and unsafe, they have to find a plan as to how this is
going to be sorted. The book begins at the funeral of one of the five a few months later.
We are told the story mainly from the perspective of Emily who herself has secrets. She
has epilepsy and although mostly under control it’s not something she likes to be widely
known. Stuart, one of the boys, has had a brush with the law before which he confessed
to Emily at the party. As it was so noisy and she was slightly the worse for wear she didn’t
really hear what he said. So begins a plot to rid themselves of someone who fleetingly
passed their way- the man appeared to be asking for someone they didn’t know.
The book has that tension in it and you really don’t know where it is going to go. I felt
for Emily as she appeared the most normal and naive of the group.
This is a very well written book that you want to know what happens and who killed
the two victims, but at the same time you are not quite sure where it is going if that
makes sense. A tense and interesting read with a clever plot.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

The Suspects by Katharine Johnson Shallow Grave meets The Secret History in this quirky psychological thriller Bristol, 1988. Five young graduates on the threshold of their careers buy a house together in
order to get a foot on the property ladder before prices spiral out of their reach. But it soon
becomes the house share from hell. After their New Year’s Eve party, they discover a body – and it's clear they’ll be the first
suspects. As each of them has a good reason from their past not to trust the police, they
come up with a solution – one which forces them into a life of secrets and lies. But can
they trust each other?  "The hugely talented Katharine Johnson has, again delivered a tense thriller! This is a
compelling novel - up there with Erin Kelly and Sophie Hannah." Val Penny, author of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. “Gripping and frighteningly realistic. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end.” Jo Fenton, author of The Brotherhood. Purchase Links: UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suspects-Katharine-Johnson-ebook/dp/B07PRCJ785 US - https://www.amazon.com/Suspects-Katharine-Johnson-ebook/dp/B07PRCJ785

About the author: Katharine Johnson was born in Bristol and now lives in Berkshire. She’s worked as a
journalist on lots of magazines and has written a history book about Windsor. When
not writing you’ll usually find her with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other,
restoring a house in Italy, walking her spaniel or playing netball (although not usually
at the same time.) https://www.facebook.com/katharinejohnsonauthor https://www.twitter.com/@kjohnsonwrites https://www.instagram.com/katharinejohnsonauthor https://www.pinterest.com/katharinejohnsonauthor https://www.katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katharine-johnson www.crookedcatbooks.com @crookedcatbooks

Rosie and Ruby  Patricia Dixon- Women's Fiction
(previously published as Three Mothers)

Rosie has a nightmare of a mother. One who controls her every move and wants
to control every aspect of her life. Once Rosie is old enough and her mother Doreen
pushes her once too often she ups and leaves. Her cousin Ruby fairs little better with
her own mother, Stella who brings home an array of men one of whom tries it on
with Ruby. Again pushed too far Ruby makes her own way in the world. Eventually
she marries Marcus and was thrilled by his glamorous existence, wanting for nothing.
Very different to her own upbringing. Little did she know then that Marcus behind
closed doors is a control freak and dictates everything to his wife and is not only
cruel to her but also to their children. Rosie is now working her way up the ladder,
a ladder that in her mother’s eye’s was “bringing shame on the family” however
Rosie is now happy not only in her career choice but that she has escaped the
clutches of a mother who thought more about what people thought than about her
own daughter. The book follows both Rosie and Ruby through their lives and how
they learn to see through different eyes. The characters of Doreen and Stella and
the third mother- Olivia (Marcus’s mother) may be fictional but in type they exist
in real life. How they  can affect someone’s every move and thought their whole
life through. We often think that they would “see” how things should be,
however when they have been indoctrinated for so long, they really can’t see how
things should be and the smallest kindness can mean so much. ”She didn’t hug
or even try to give her mother a peck on the cheek because affection had given
up, packed a case and left the building many years ago”. A book with a message.
A book that some may find difficult to read having been in those positions or
even not realising that these things really do happen. Most of all- a book of hope.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. One of the most beautiful stories
I have ever read. 10*if I could.

Rosie and Ruby blurb Ruby lives one-step away from poverty on a rundown, crime infested estate in Manchester,

with Stella, her feckless, self centred a mother. In the quiet suburbs of Cheshire Rosie,

Ruby’s cousin, leads a charmed, middle class existence but feels suffocated by her

domineering mother Doreen. Although Stella and Doreen have little in common,

they share the inability to show the love and loyalty that their daughters deserve.
Meanwhile, Olivia, a member of the elite Cheshire set, is aloof and distant, rattling

around in her sprawling mansion, attending charity functions and hosting infamous

bridge nights. Her errant son Marcus lives his life in the fast lane, maximising the perks

of the family firm whilst enjoying his jet setting bachelor existence, well away from

the watchful eyes of his disapproving mother. But when Ruby meets Marcus her life
begins to crumble and one by one the secrets she has kept are exposed. Can Rosie and Ruby’s bond survive? And in Ruby’s hour of need, will her cousin keep

her promise, and come to her rescue?

Author Bio Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown
up children and one grandson.  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 a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in
March 2019. Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patricia-Dixon/e/B00I1YV2RM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 Twitter  @pbadixon Email - dixon.patricia@icloud.com.  Facebook Links Author Page https://www.facebook.com/pbadixon/?ref=bookmarks Profile Page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009000921564

Friday, 26 April 2019


Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley rom-com
Jane is having a nightmare. She has recently split from her fiance and the woman she

works for, Coral an instagrammer, is ever demanding. She flatshares with a old school

friend Freddie and is looking forward to an all expenses trip to New York with Coral.

Of course things don’t go to plan as this is Jane. When her best friend Rachel announces

she is getting married- to the man she split with but couldn’t live without Jane is at sixes

and sevens as to if she should be pleased or not- or worried. Two of her friends are in

love with the same man. One split from him and the other one is now married to him.

Another has had a baby and won’t reveal who the father is. Jane is the one who holds

them all together whilst at the same time trying ot sort out her own life and problems.

What ensues is a hilarious look at life with all its’ ups and downs. Of friendships and

relationships of the rough and the smooth and of secrets and lies.

A book to make you grimace at times but mostly to make you
smile. A fun read.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
Meet Rachel, the beautiful bride with BIG plans for the perfect day! The venue is a castle and the dress is designer.  It’s just a shame her husband is a rat.
Maddie and Sally have only one thing in common – they both love the same man!

Beth is a newly single mum with a mystery baby daddy.  Surely the father isn’t someone the girls all know?

And then there’s Jane, the glue holding them all together, but being dumped doesn’t make her the happiest bridesmaid…especially with gorgeous flatmate Freddie complicating things.
Will the bride say, ‘I Do!’?  Or will her bridesmaids save the day…and find love along the way? 
The most hilarious, feel-good rom com of the year!
Purchase Links: Amazon  iBooks  Waterstones and other good retailers 

Author Bio –
Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of The Wedding Date.

Born in a small village in the UK, she wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true.

She writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say 'ahhh'.

Zara now lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Zara’s bestselling novels include 'No One Cancels Christmas', 'The Wedding Date', 'The Holiday Swap', 'Summer with the Country Village Vet', 'Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage' and the popular Tippermere series - 'Stable Mates', 'Country Affairs' and 'Country Rivals'.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley
Instagram: zarastoneley

Thursday, 25 April 2019

TROTTERDOWN (the first three Detective Harriet Taylor thrillers)  by Stewart Giles

Do you like gripping thrillers that are a little different?  Meet Detective Harriet Taylor in this gripping series set in Cornwall From #1 best-selling author: Stewart Giles. 

Three gripping thrillers in one, great value, box set. 

Alice Green is a beekeeper in the small Cornish village of Polgarrow. She lives with her pet jackdaw in a beautiful cottage not far from the sea. One evening, Alice finds something strange under the hollyhock bush in her garden. The gruesome discovery will change everyone’s lives. And then Alice’s best friend Milly disappears…

Two cats are found mutilated in the same town. Detective Harriet Taylor is reluctant to investigate, but then one of their owners is killed a bizarre way that same day.  Harriet and the team step in. The dead woman has four words written on her neck — four very ambiguous words.  Then another body turns up with the same words written on it. Harriet fears the worst — a serial killer is on the loose in the small Cornish town of Trotterdown.

A girl’s body is found hidden in a remote spot of a Cornish Farm. The same farm that a young girl ran towards to escape her pursuer many years before.   Who would kill a young backpacker who hurt nobody?  Is there a link between this and a mystery from many years ago?

If you like Police Procedurals, then this is a series you won’t want to miss.

Trotterdown and the surrounding villages is a fictional village in Cornwall.  It is typical of Cornish villages with remote farms and sleepy Cornish stone cottages.  However, the area is steeped in history and the residents of the quaint cottages have their share of myths and secrets making it the ideal setting for this series.

DC Harriet Taylor had only been married for 2 years when her philandering husband was killed in a car crash.  It is common knowledge around the station that the woman who died next to him was his latest lover.  Harriet transferred to Trotterdown to escape the gossip and sympathetic looks.  She is now finding her way around Cornwall and getting to know the other members of the team.
Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. After Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series - the DC Harriet Taylor Cornwall series. The Beekeeper hit the shelves and hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well. The third in the series, The Backpacker I have self-published and there are plenty more to come. Unworthy, the ninth Smith instalment was followed by a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers. Entitled The Enigma, it brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor. Miranda is something totally different. A stand-alone psychological thriller, it is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. A new Smith/Harriet book is in the pipeline as is the 10th Smith instalment.

Twitter: @stewartgiles

You can join the Stewart Giles reader club by completing this form  https://mailchi.mp/a64f6de4c541/sgreadersclub


The Perfect Murder- Stewart Giles- Crime
It’s quiet at the station for a change so when two reports of mutilated cats come in from the same street, the team go round if only to get out for a while. Suddenly things take a turn for the worse and murder is involved- not of cats but humans. They have never dealt with a serial killer before and as the bodies mount it is becoming more and more likely.  A brilliant start for a plot. DI Killian has things going on at home as well as work and the team have to pull together and use their initiative to progress the case. His wife has dementia and caring for her takes much of his time. This is a well written book with a nicely thought out plot. Nothing too gory, in fact a fairly lighthearted read (in the world of murders and detectives) with a little humour thrown in. the literary link is wonderful. If you are looking for a different twist in the crime world then this book could be for you. Left me with a smile!I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

THE BEEKEEPER a gripping crime mystery with a dark twist

The Beekeeper-Stewart Giles- Crime

A lighthearted detective read with twists and turns. Alice keeps bees as well as something under the Hollyhocks. Her best friend suddenly disappears and the local force now have more activity than they have ever had on their hands along with a possible shark attack. Three older residents dead within a few days. This is a well written novel  and as you can guess from the description is done with a sense of humour. Alice is a wonderful character that you can see in your mind’s eye. A slightly eccentric woman that we have all met at one time or another (or at least imagine to have done). Characters come to life with their antics and personalities to make this an enjoyable easy read. Nothing too taxing. nothing too gory just a lovely entertaining read with a smile.

The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane- Dee Macdonald- Humourous fiction
Tess and Orla have been friends forever. Now in their sixties they together run
”Curvacious”  a boutique specialising in clothes for the larger lady which they make
and tailor themselves. Both are now single having lost one or more partners and Tess
thinks that they should get back into dating before they are too old and whilst they
can still enjoy themselves. This leads to signing up to a dating agency MMM.
Included in the price is a discount on a cruise- so what’s not to go for? This is the
story of their lives around the dating adventures and the cruise. Orla soon finds
someone nice and then another. Tess however goes through the mill of learning
that people are not always who they say they are and may have other intentions.
You have to smile! The ex husband’s rather bitchy new wife. Also thin- something
both Tess and Orla aspire to and have also joined the local slimming club to
attempt to rectify this. Tess’s daughter is getting married in a few months and she
is determined that she is not going to be upstaged by a thinner woman on the arm
of her ex. I loved this. A tale of life and its ups and downs. Life, love, adventures
and a bit of escapism with wonderful larger than life characters you would
love to meet.
An uplifting heartwarming read to make you smile (and the odd cringe at some
of the dates!). A perfect summer read.
For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

Wednesday, 24 April 2019


OUR LIFE IN A DAY by Jamie Fewery - Contemporary fiction/Literary romance

Tom and Esme have been seeing each other for 10 years. On their anniversary Esme
surprises Tom with a card and a game. He has to come up wit a memory of them being
together for each hour of a twenty four hour period and it has to coincide with the
correct time. She states “not always the best memory just an honest one”  and this is
true, they are just as they are. Through each hour we learn the story of their
relationship. Things like that Esme told Tom early on, very early on, that she never
ever wanted to get married (hence the 10 year relationship). The memories are not
in any time order (either hours or years) just honest memories warts n’ all of life.
Tom however had a secret about his health which as time went on despite pushing
from his mother and his own guilt, Esme knew nothing about.  A very different
concept idea for a book, Not “just” a relationship of live story, something that bit
more gritty and earthy. Life with all the cards it may deal. A difficult subject
handled well in the context of what is really a love story but really is so much more.
I felt for Tom and his demons whilst Esme was supportive but somehow appeared
to have her own agenda.
A very different love story. One that touched me in a good way.

For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1

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...