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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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Grooms Wore White by Charlie Lyndhurst

This story is women’s fiction/ general fiction rather than romance and it centres around Jason who is a wedding planner, nearing his 40s and who has a long term partner in Pete; Mel who is in her 40s, suddenly single and grappling with being a single mum after all these years; and Harriet, who is another wedding planner, slightly younger than Jason, who is actively homophobic at the start of the book. Harriet is definitely not the most likeable, but she does go through a huge character change which is quite nice to see.
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was nice to see older characters looking for and finding romance or cementing existing romances because we quite often see only the point of view of the young. It was good to see Mel coming out of her shell. I loved the details about the weddings that Jason was working on. I especially liked how ‘Extra’ the Extra Weddings were.
This is a fun book to read. Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

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Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A wedding on a remote (and pretty scarily atmospheric) island off the coast of Ireland. A murder.
The book is structured so that we don’t know who had been murdered or how at the start of the book. We see the revelation of the murder and then we see the days leading up to the murder through the eyes of various people.
It’s wonderfully done. Clues are revealed about the problems and preoccupations of the various people in the wedding party until they all coalesce at the end to reveal the victim and the murderer. I really enjoyed reading this book. Gripping.

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Review: A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker

A Question of Us

A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker

Clarrie and Simon have been best friends since primary school. Clarrie doesn’t particularly want to grow up. Simon … well, Simon keeps asking Clarrie out. She keeps saying no. It’s a long running joke between them. Isn’t it?

This book revolves around a pub quiz league and a group of quiz enthusiasts who are almost, but not quite, grown up. I loved the banter between the friends. I spent my mid teens in West Yorkshire and this is exactly the way my friends would talk to each other! It made me laugh out loud.
The ‘found family’ dynamic between the friends was wonderful.

Clarrie is one of the lads, which was great, but sometimes you did want to shake her. That said, she’s a completely believable character because someone who is prone to anxiety would be scared at the idea of ruining things by moving out of the status quo. Simon was lucky enough to have figured out what (and whom) he wanted early on. I like a hero who isn’t too uptight to cry when things go horribly wrong.

I really enjoyed this book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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Book review: One Night Wife by Ainslie Paton

One Night Wife (The Confidence Game #1) by Ainslie Paton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finley’s charity is failing and she’s desperate enough to stand on a barstool and ask people to donate. That’s how she catches the attention of con man/ philanthropist Cal Sherwood. Cal and his family run a ‘rob the rich, give to the poor’ type enterprise involving elaborate investment scams. He’s a rogue, but such a charming one, with his heart in the right place, that you often forget that he’s a con man.
Cal ends up training Finley in the art of the con – she gets people to donate money to her charity, Cal gets an in to get people to invest in his fake company. Finley is so well meaning and straight laced, I was genuinely anxious for her when she found out about the con.

I really enjoyed this book. Great characterisation, sparkling dialogue and an unusual take on both the Millionaire trope and the fake relationship trope.
I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series.

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