Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 26/08/18

Jen Med's Book Reviews

Yeah. So. Not sure if this is a good thing or bad. As my regular reader (singular), I’ll let you decide. This overlong ramble marks my 1000th post on my blog. 1000!!! Not all my own work, Mandie has written a good number of reviews now bless her and I’ve had many a guest post along the way, although I contributed in some small way to each and every one of them, even if it was just bringing them all together on the site and banging in order links. Never underestimate just how long that takes.

Can you believe it? I started the blog on 23rd May 2016, having just been to my very first CrimeFest in Bristol and being inspired to give something completely new a try. Gathering together a few of the reviews I had written in the earlier part of the year I gave myself a quick lesson in WordPress (by quick I mean I fluffed my way through their online how to guide and a couple of articles I found on Google) and the next thing I know a monster my blog was born.

I never thought I would stick at it for that long. Being on the tinterweb really wasn’t my thing. But I did enjoy books and the more I blogged, the more I enjoyed it and soon I found myself part of a really large and fabulous community of bloggers, authors, reads and, quite frankly, nutters. They must be if they have befriended me, even if it is only on Facebook 😉 So with a mixture of inane ramblings, occasionally insightful but mostly long and random reviews, a good selection of guest posts, features and my nonsensical weekly round ups, here we are. Post number 1000. That makes an average of 1.2 posts per day. Feels like a whoop whoop moment to me. Here. Have a virtual drink.

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Well. When I left you last week I had no mo and no jo for blogging and yet here we are again. And what a difference a week makes. I’m still unemployed and going stir crazy with nothingness, but I have been on a few adventures along the way, and I don’t just mean grocery shopping, which I can now do quite happily as my new fridge freezer is working a treat. Yay. No. This week, I may have gone a little crazy.

By crazy I mean that on Monday morning, while most sane and rational people were still in bed, I decided to get up and buy a same day train ticket to Edinburgh. Yep. You heard me. I bit the bullet, said sod everything and booked myself a return to the lovely Scottish Capital and a ticket to see the panel with Lin Anderson and Antti Tuomainen at the Edinburgh Festival, led by the lovely Russell McLean. By about quarter to six I was in my car and heading off to Crewe station and by 10:45 I was sat in a cafe on The Royal Mile, hoofing down a lovely Jammy Dodger Cup Cake and a smooth Flat White. Fabbo.

I could have had anything, there was such a great selection, but I do love this coffee shop and it had to be done. I also made a quick call into the Christmas shop just up the road to buy my first Christmas card of 2018. Always good in August.

After the long train journey and the cake, I needed a bit of a leg stretch so what better way than to head down to Holyrood Park and take a wander up Salisbury Crags. Not Arthur’s Seat – I’m not insane and I had a festival to go to – but still a nice walk to get the blood pumping and the views over the city and around the park are beautiful. So quite when you are walking up the trail between the two hills that you’d almost forget you were in the heart of the city.

Afterward, it was a quick walk back through the city to the festival. It’s my first time attending, hopefully not my last, and although it was a flying visit I had a great day just soaking up the atmosphere. I ran into a few friends while I was there, Claire McLeary, Jacky Gramosi Collins, Sharon Bairden, Karen Sullivan and Michael J Malone, and also met author Sandra Ireland for the first time, who is absolutely lovely.

I may have picked up a couple of books in the festival shop too. And why not you ask. Why not indeed. Would have been rude not to. I purchased copies of Gordon Brown’s Darkest Thoughts and Furthest Reaches as I had just read and reviewed book three in the series and it seemed approriate. I also picked up a copy of Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen so I could get it signed while I was there. It was an extra bonus to see that not only had I been quoted inside but that I am a cover girl too, with my quote gracing the rear of the book. Love this book so that made me super smiley and the trip to Scotland all the more worthwhile. I had literally no idea. What is even better, for you guys at least, is that the ebook is out in a couple of days so you can read it for yourselves. Yay.

A quick sprint for the train (well fast walk – I’m not that crazy) and food of champions to keep me going and back home by eleven. And I wasn’t even tired. Well not that tired at least …

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Just as well really as on Tuesday I’d made plans to go to Lake Vyrnwy in Mid-Wales with Mandie. Neither of us had ever been but we fancied a bit of a walk, so Mandie packed up the dog, picked me up, and off we went. Absolutely stunning and I can’t recommend it enough. If you like walking, there are some fabulous trails around the lake. Even if you don’t you can just take the 12-mile drive around the perimeter, stop at the many lay-bys along the way and soak in the atmosphere and the peace and quiet. Absolute heaven. Can’t believe I’ve never been before when it is only an hour and a bit away and yet I’ll happily jump on a train for a nearly 600 mile round trip to Edinburgh for a day. Well. No-one ever said I was sane.

Aside from all of that galavanting, I have been reading. Yep actual reading. Books. With words. A lot of dicking about on social media too, but mostly reading. I may be turning a corner. Or not. Who knows. I also bought a couple more books because I am an addict and it is healthier than alcohol. I bought Beneath the Skin and Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland. I also received one piece of book post, The Promise by Katerina Diamond from the lovely folk at Avon, which I am taking part in the blog tour for very soon. No new Netgalley and no new audio books.

Books I have read

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Truth and Lies – Caroline Mitchell

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

A brand new series and a brand new protagonist from Caroline Mitchell but, by golly, this is a good one. And I thought my family was a nightmare. They are nothing compared to poor Amy Winter’s and getting to know them is only the beginning of her problems. High tension and brilliant story telling make this another sure fire hit. Released on 30th August, you can pre-order a copy here.

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The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House – Lilly Bartlett

Meet Phoebe, who’s 28, and Laney, Dot and Maggie, who are 68, 78, and none of your business. Together they’ll prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship, belonging and an unquenchable zest for life.

A hilarious, uplifting novel about the ties of community, the strength of love and how nobody is truly ordinary.

When Framlingham’s famously all-female senior living home goes co-ed, a war between the sexes is declared.

Stuck in the middle, chef Phoebe Stockton is desperate to help her friends plot to keep the community that means so much to them. It’s become her life raft, too. She finds comfort in her beloved career that might finally make her parents proud. But Phoebe’s darling Nick is lining up on the other side of the battle, and their relationship is suffering collateral damage.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the home’s owner can’t improve business by moving the men in, he’ll have to evict everyone.

The women aren’t about to let that happen.

I do love me a little diversion away from the life of crime (reading) on occasion, and I know that when I pick up a Lilly Bartlett novel I am guaranteed a book full of fun, laughter and comical misunderstandings. What happens when a group of Ladies are forced to share the quiet retirement home with a new bunch of Gentlemen and one not quite so gentle one? Well you need to read to find out. I’ll be sharing my thoughts later this week but you can bag a copy of the book here.

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Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill – Emma Davies

The climb up the hill takes her past sweet-smelling pink roses in full bloom and leads her to an utterly breathtaking view. Megan is happy to be home at last, but will her relationship have survived the journey?

It has been a difficult few years for thirty-year-old Megan Forrester, completing her apprenticeship and trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with her gorgeous boyfriend, Liam.

She’s returned home to compete in a local craft competition. The prize is the chance to design beautiful new gates for the estate at the bottom of the hill, a job which could secure her future in the village forever.

As the contest gets underway, Megan is devastated when a rival design turns out to be almost identical to hers. Someone in the close-knit community must have leaked her sketches, but who? Is it the same person spreading heartbreaking rumours about Liam?

Down to the last few left in the competition, Megan throws her heart and soul into a show-stopping final piece… but will winning even matter when the truth about Liam is finally revealed?

Set in my home county of Shropshire, I’ve really fallen in love with this series of books by Emma Davies. This time around we get to meet blacksmith Megan who has returned home to enter a big competition which could change her life and also learn more about Clara, the kind hearted gardner who brings joy and peace to Joy’s Acre. Another fab addition to the series you can buy a copy of the book here.

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Overkill – Vanda Symon

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.

To find the murderer … and clear her name.

A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

It’s always exciting when Orenda Books brings a new author into the fold and having read some absolutely brilliant reviews, I have been looking forward to reading this one for a while. My first bit of Kiwi Crime, but definitely not my last and protagonist sam Shephard is a brilliant character I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of. I’ll be sharing my own thoughts on the book as part of the tour but you can grab a copy of the book here while you wait.

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After He Died – Michael J Malone

You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

Having heard Michael J Malone do a reading from this book at Bute Noir I’m was even more excited to read this. I loved the his last two books and this is yet another fine example of his mastery of the written word. Full of tension and mystery this is another book I’ll be blog touring for very soon. In the meantime you can buy a copy of the book here.

Not too shabby for a woman who zero attention span right now huh? Busy enough week blog wise as I snuck in a couple of extra pesky reviews 😉 Recap below.

Deepest Wounds by Gordon Brown

Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces by John Sutherland

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

Secrets at Meadowbrook Manor by Faith Bleasdale

Finding Felix by Jo Platt

We’ve quite a few posts lined up this week too with both Mandie and I taking on more tours. We love it. First up today are Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill and The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood; then Fractured by Billy McLaughlin; Bye Baby Bunting by Tannis Laidlaw; Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell; and Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies.

Not sure what the week ahead will hold other than more reading lol. Mandie and I have very vague plans for tomorrow so there may be more pictures next week. Sorry about that. But it’s not often you get time to yourself before you retire and I don’t want to waste a single second of it. The time for moping is over and if I’m not reading I’ll be writing. Even if it’s only blog posts.

1000 down. Plenty more to go. I may even have to celebrate.

Have a happy week everyone. See you on the other side.

Jen

13 thoughts on “Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 26/08/18

    1. Thank you. Hope you’re enjoying blogging as that is all that matters. I started out really slowly, maybe one or two posts per week but the great thing about blogging is that it is an entirely personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to do it. All that matters is having fun with it.

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  1. That’s a really impressive statistic, a 1000 posts. More so though, I think you’re sounding a bit more “up”, which makes me happy. I love the pictures of the outings you and Mandie go on so I’m glad to hear there’s more to come! Have a fab week! xx

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    1. Thank you. I am trying to be positive. Something will happen (even if it is only me going nuts) and whatever it is is just the next step on the adventure right? Time for wallowing is over.

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  2. Congratulations on 1000 posts. Here’s to the next 1000, or is that something you’d rather not contemplate? I get a sense you feel a bit happier this week, so hope you’ve turned a little corner. Granted a job, or a plan for the foreseeable would help, but hopefully something will materialise soon. x

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    1. Thanks Jill. Scary hitting the first 1k. Lord know how long it will take to make the second lol.

      Feeling more positive this week with a little more time and perspective. Trying to make the most of my free time while I have it and gaining a little perspective. Just need to find energy as I’m permanently napping and then I’ll be dandy

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  3. Congrats on reaching 1000 posts! That seems so far away to me, only been doing it since June, but I’m loving it – maybe one day! I’m sorry to see you’re unemployed – I was down about that earlier this year after being made redundant. Going to interviews and been consistently in the last two (4 times this happened!) sucked the life out of me. I gave up in the end and decided to follow my dream and go back to uni instead – I kind of feel everything happened for a reason and was just nudging me onto the right path – I hope this is the case for you too!

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