Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 28/10/18

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This week’s episode of ‘Adventures with Jen and Mandie’ saw us travel to the lovely Shropshire town of Ludlow. Now Ludlow is in the south of the county, some 50 miles from where I live, so it’s not somewhere I travel to on a whim (it’s actually easier and quicker to get to Birmingham, Chester and Liverpool to be fair), but while I still have a few more days of freedom, it seemed to be a good idea.

I haven’t been to Ludlow in what is probably a couple of years now, but it’s always a pleasure to visit as it’s a wonderful ‘foodie’ town as well as being steeped in local history. We took the opportunity, while the weather was still on our side, to visit Ludlow Castle which was nice and quiet so we could really appreciate what we were seeing.

I am very lucky with where I live as there are so many beautiful areas right on the doorstep. It’s a shame we forget to appreciate them more often but I’ve definitely made the most of my three months of enforced relaxation and am determined to make more of an effort moving forward.

The weekend saw us making a return trip to the local deer park at Attingham which is always a lovely walk and in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday, we completed the three and a bit mile loop of the park, enjoying not only some beautiful scenery but all the wildlife who were out enjoying the area before the crowds appeared later. Crows, squirrels, deer … we were treated to quite an assortment of wildlife on our walk, but none quite as unusual as that which was lurking in the woods …

This was the woollen walk, a wonderful collections of woolly wonders which covered the trees along a section of the park. It must have taken ages to do but I am sure kids will love this autumnal treat as they visit with parents. The size of those spiders, it kind of put me in mind of this weeks Dr Who …

Anyway, back to books and it was a quiet week for me this week. No post (not a bad thing) but I did get audiobook-post (can you get audiobook post?). This was a copy of The Infirmary the audio first DCI Ryan story from LJ Ross. I am very excited to listen to this which I will be doing sometime this week. The book book version isn’t out until February so this is an extra special treat. I am so lucky. 😀

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I was trying to be so good on Netgalley but the temptation was just too strong this week. First up was Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer, the second Natalie Ward book which was a must read (so I did). I also had The Songbird by Richard Parker and A Winter Beneath the Stars by Jo Thomas, which are both tour titles so a necessity. I also picked up For the Missing by Lina Bengtsdotter, which I actually forgot Mandie is reviewing for the tour rather than me but I’m really intrigued to read it anyway (whoops – old age …) and The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor because I am weak and I really want to read it but don’t want to spoil my signed proof.

Purchase wise I was quite good really. Only two books. A Ransom Christmas by Rachel Schurig, because I have read all the other books and it only seemed right, and Christmas at the Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies to complete my set.

Oh … and I also found a flamingo tape dispenser while in Ludlow so it wasn’t a bad week at all really.

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Books I have read

ttw.jpgThe Twisted Web – Rebecca Bradley

A social media shaming. A killer with a message. A deadly combination. 

When the body of a man is left in the city centre set up as a realistic police crime scene, DI Hannah Robbins is forced to enter a world that can break a person, a case and a reputation.

Social media platforms light up and Hannah is pitted against the raging online monster and a killer who has already lost everything.

Can she catch the killer and put him behind bars or will she become part of his sadistic game? 

Buy The Twisted Web and step inside the game…

This is really only the first Hannah Robbins story I have read, although I have read other books by Rebecca Bradley. An intriguing tale in which Hannah and her team are taunted by a killer who likes to make a big show of his victims. I really enjoyed the story which challenges the world’s obsession with social media, and will be sharing my thoughts in the next week or so as part of the tour but you can order a copy of the book here.

llLast Lullaby – Carol Wyer

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.

Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’ scrawled on the wall next to her. 

All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.

When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

I loved The Birthday and Last Lullaby is just as an addictive read. A young mother beaten to death with no end of suspects to challenge Natalie and her team, this had me hooked until the end and cleverly managed to hide the killer right until the end. A fabulous addition to what is turning out to be another cracking series from Carol Wyer, you can pre-order a copy here.

snatlhhSnowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel – Karen King

Snowy rooftops, mulled wine, and a hot single dad. Not the Christmas Saffy wished for… but maybe the one she needs?

Twenty-nine year old Saffron Baxter knew her holiday plans didn’t stand a chance the moment her sister called to say she was stuck abroad with no hope of being home before Christmas. Saffy would just have to abandon thoughts of wild festive parties in the city and head down to remote Cornwall.

Because every year her sister hosts a huge Christmas meal for all the single parents in her village. And Saffy knows it’d break her heart to let them down.

Arriving as snow starts to fall over the thatched cottages of the little harbour town of Port Breok, she meets Logan – the tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed, devoted single dad who lives next door, with his adorable daughter Chloe. At first she thinks he might help her make Christmas Day extra-memorable, but he just seems convinced she’ll never manage – that she’s just a party girl who doesn’t care about Christmas, or anyone’s feelings.

Maybe he’s right. After all – she doesn’t want to settle down, she’s only there for a few days… But she’s still determined to do her sister proud with gorgeous decorations, the most beautiful real tree – complete with extra twinkly lights, and delicious mince pies. To make it a Christmas everyone will remember, especially little Chloe. Even if, when the mistletoe comes down, she knows she’ll probably never see Logan again…

The perfect festive romance novel, ideal for fans of Nora Roberts, Jenny Hale and Debbie Macomber.

Romantic, engaging and full of festive cheer, what’s not to love. From the start I was drawn into this cheerily festive tale but perhaps not for the reasons you’d think. Saffron, the main character in this book, is not immediately likeable but she is someone you warm to quite quickly and the chemistry between her and Logan is immediately evident, even if their blossoming romance doesn’t go exactly according to plan. I’ll be reviewing for the tour but you can pre-order a copy here.

tlThe Lingering – SJI Holliday

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

Creepy, atmospheric, this book put me immediately in mind of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. I loved the way in which the author slowly built the tension, letting you know that something wasn’t quite right, both with the house and with its residents but creating such effective misdirection that you didn’t really know which way was up until just past the mid-way point. Definitely chilling, this is a perfect Halloween read and you can get a copy here.

gsGood Samaritans – Will Carver

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

I have to be honest, this book caught me a little unawares. I have been looking forward to reading it after hearing such great reviews and previews. It is a slightly unusual book, not necessarily the story itself, but the style in which is it written, using a mixture of third and first person narrative where the first person switches part way through the book. It is definitely a book which catches are readers attention and I’ll be sharing my full thoughts when i join the tour in a couple of weeks, and once I’ve had a proper chance to digest what I’ve read. You can order your own copy here. Read it and we’ll compare notes.

And that was it. I’m halfway through another book, and not read as much as I would have liked but I got a little distracted over the weekend going car shopping so lost a bit of time there. Five books isn’t bad though as they were all full grown up books too. We had a busy blogging week this week too – recap below:

Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt

One Dark Night by Tom Bale

Steel and Shadows by Stuart Field

Closer by KL Slater

The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant

Christmas At The Little Cottage On The Hill by Emma Davies

Off Island by Marlene Hauser

The week ahead is pretty full on too with a number of tours lined up. First up is Jade Beer’s Promise Me; The Cornish Village School: Second Chances by Kitty Wilson; Night Shift by Robin Trigg; The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton (reblog); Hard Return by Rosie Claverton and No Time To Cry by James Oswald. Cannot wait.

Well, that is me done. Off now to enjoy my last week of freedom as this time next week I’ll be at my new job. I am going to be rehearsing waking up on time all week – not going well so far …

Have a fab week all and speak soon.

Jen

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