Book review: Last Victim of the Monsoon Express by Vaseem Khan

This book is described as ‘charming’ and it really is!
Inspector Chopra is on a revived steam train and his ward, the baby elephant Ganesha is travelling with him. An Indian politician is murdered and Chopra has to solve the mystery before the train stops or risk there being a major international incident.
I liked how the history of partition was woven into the story (only where it was relevant). I really appreciated the Poirot-esque murder mystery.
This was a fun short read. I liked the gentle humour in the story, even though Inspector Chopra is a very serious man, his observations are sometimes funny.
I will be checking out the other books in the series.


Book review: The Forgotten House on The Moors by Jane Lovering

Another corker!
Alice is woken up by the police coming to tell her that her ex husband, Grant, has died in an explosion. When she goes up to the site where it happened, she meets his current girlfriend, Jenna and her brother Max. She ends up seeing more of them because Jenna needs someone to talk to about Grant, Alice is curious as to why Grant was out there in a deserted house in the first place and well, seeing Max again wouldn’t be all that terrible either.

It’s nice to see a heroine who is ‘big and plain and sensible’ be loved for who she is. The book is broody an atmospheric in places, as befits a book about the existence (or not) of ghosts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the review copy.

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Plot your Novel In One Morning

It’s back!

Doing NanoWriMo in November but don’t have a plot yet?
Need a bit of time dedicated to thinking about your book with helpful advice on hand?
Going to the RNA York Tea and want to make a day of it?
We have just the thing for you.

The Plot Your Novel in a Morning workshop is happening 9.30am – 12 noon, on the 3rd of September at Miller’s Yard in York.

Date: Saturday 3rd September 2022
Cost: £35 (£30 if you book before the end of July).
Venue: The Loft, Miller’s Yard, Gillygate, York, YO31 7EB.
Time: 9.30 – 12
What to bring: Pen and paper and ideas.

To book or for more information email or

We ran this course for a couple of years (before Covid!) and some of the books plotted in the room are now on bookshelves!
Come and join the fun. There will be biscuits.

Book Review: You had me at Halloumi by Ginger Jones

Flora Butterly is competing for the Golden Spoon – a Masterchef/ Bake off style competition featuring only Cypriot food. This is such a fun beach read. I felt like I was in sunshine myself. I also felt very, very hungry. I had to keep stopping to have a snack.

I liked that Flora was so relatable. I also liked that the story touched on kids who have been carers and what it’s like to look after someone who has schizophrenia. These elements were touched on only lightly, but it was good that they were there.

The food descriptions were amazing. The mystery as to which of the other contestants was the saboteur was very good.
All in all, this was a fun read. I look forward to reading more books in the series.


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Love At First by Kate ClayBorn

This book is so lovely!
Having enjoyed Love Lettering, I was pretty sure I’d enjoy Love At First too. And I did!

Will fell in love with Nora when he first saw (well, heard) her as a teenager. When he meets her again as an adult, he falls in love with her all over again. Nora meets Will as the guy who is about to destroy the peace in the beautiful old building that she lives in. What starts as a battle of wits, ends in friendship and love.

It’s hard to say more without giving too much away. It’s an ‘enemies to lovers’ story of sorts, even though they’re not really enemies. I loved the secondary characters too.
This is a really fun read. Gentle, romantic and heartwarming.

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The Change by Kirsten Miller

When I spotted The Change on Netgalley, I requested it straight away.
Three women in a Long Island seaside community realise that they have powers. Nessa, who sees the dead; Harriet who is the punishment that fits the crime and Jo who will destroy it all at the end.
Nessa sees dead girls (not women, teenaged girls) who have been murdered by men. She knows there’s a serial killer on the loose, but it’s hard to prove it when the bodies haven’t actually been found. As the three women seek to get justice for these dead girls, they uncover a web of corruption that is terrifying.
With heart and anger but also with humour, the book captures the everyday sexism that women face and the double standards the world imposes on people based on their sex and social class.
It’s a fast paced read that sits where thriller meets women’s fiction. I raced through it in a day.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. This is my honest review.

Buy link*

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Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry

Book cover of Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

A friend of mine sent me a copy of this book because she was so sure I’d love it. She was right.
Elizabeth Zott is a scientist – a chemist- and a good one. But sexism in the science community and general nastiness towards her because of her beauty force her out of science and she ends up bringing up her daughter alone. Then she is offered a job as host for a TV cooking show…

Zott is awesome! She’s clever and practical and strong. Her life isn’t easy, but she handles it in her own unique way. I loved the writing style. This book is interesting, poignant and funny in turns. I zoomed through it in a day.

Buy link UK

Book review: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

I picked this up because it was written by a Sri Lankan author and I was told had a lot about Sri Lanka in it. What I was not expecting the Sri Lankan parts to be set in what Ratmalana, which is an area I know well. And I wasn’t expecting there to be the little references which felt like a little zing of recognition each time I saw one. I really enjoyed that.

It’s been a long time since I read a thriller. And this is an excellent thriller. It has a properly unreliable narrator, where neither you nor the narrator herself is entirely sure what’s real and what’s not. The story is told with a dual timeline, which works very well. It’s got a nice twist at the end, and really good ending. That’s all I can say without giving away anything – suffice to say, I really liked the ending. I really enjoyed this book. I totally recommend it if you like your thrillers to be twisty.

Buy a copy

Book review: The Buy-In by Emma St Clair

Book Cover for The Buy-In by Emma St Clair

I had never read anything by Emma St Clair before. I grabbed this book on Netgalley because I saw that it was a sweet or low heat romcom and it sounded like fun. I’m so glad I did.
The Buy In is sweet in every sense of the word. It has a whole lot of heart. The story centres around Lindy who has abandonment issues, and Pat who is a ex pro football player with a tendency to be impulsive (he has ADHD, which is discussed in the context of being part of who he is). It’s a second chance romance between him and Lindy and at the core of the story is a little girl called Jo (Lindy’s niece). Lindy has looked after Jo for years and she is trying to keep custody of her. The story is as much about family as about romance.
It’s a fake relationship story, and a second chance story, both of which are tropes I really like. Plus it’s a small town romance. So there is a wonderful cast of secondary characters for you to get to know and love. I think a lot of them are going to have their stories told in the rest of the series. Overall, I really really enjoyed this. I love the corny jokes. I liked the over the top comics set pieces – including the flaming squirrels – and I really really loved the family and small town love aspect of it. I’m definitely going to read more by this author