Tag Archives: random things tours

Random Things Tours – Book Review – Dashboard Elvis Is Dead by David F Ross

“The word is written in chalk on a small, wall-mounted blackboard behind the hotel’s tiny reception desk.”

Genre: Fiction

Number of Pages: 300

Date of Publication: 8 December 2022

Publisher: Orenda

My Review Summary: An interesting story

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

A failed writer connects the murder of an American journalist, a drowned 80s musician and a Scottish politician’ s resignation, in a heart-wrenching novel about ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

Renowned photo-journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow in 2014, in the wake of the failed Scottish independence referendum, and it’ s clear that she’ s searching for someone.

Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to lead the country as First Minister? Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties one-hit wonders The Hyptones? Or is it Rabbit – Jude’ s estranged foster sister, now a world-famous artist?

Three apparently unconnected people, who share a devastating secret, whose lives were forever changed by one traumatic night in Phoenix, forty years earlier… 

Taking us back to a school shooting in her Texas hometown, and a 1980s road trip across the American West – to San Francisco and on to New York – Jude’ s search ends in Glasgow, and a final, shocking event that only one person can fully explain…

💭THOUGHTS💭

I was intrigued by the cover and the blurb of this book and was pleased to be accepted onto the Tour. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was an interesting and unique read. 

The style of writing was interesting in that it focused on two main people and kept alternating between them. As well as that there was the odd chapter about the author. You certainly had to keep your wits about you and a couple of times I had to go back and check things, but overall it was an emotional and cleverly intertwined story. I enjoyed the fact that the two main characters were speaking to you as the reader (and in their own dialect!), not directly, but as if you were there listening to them. That was interesting and cleverly done. 

The chapters weren’t overly long which meant that you got a good chunk of the story before moving on. This was useful for me as because you were on a couple of story lines at the same time, it meant that you weren’t rushed from one place to the other.

Each chapter had a title and was further split by spaces in between paragraphs and subheadings (dates). Despite my confusion at times, I did get pulled in and really invested in what was happening in each individual chapter. It was so emotional and heart breaking at times. 

The characters were excellent. I loved them all. They had so many things happen to them which made them interesting. I loved the connections that they all had, however loose! 

The settings were excellent. I enjoyed travelling around and experiencing the past. The story was mainly focused on the characters so the background was only lightly described, but what there was made for an interesting story. 

Overall an interesting book. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

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“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop by Cressida McLaughlin

“Ollie Spencer reached blindly for her mug of tea”

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Number of Pages: 416

Date of Publication: 10 November 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

My Review Summary: A cosy Christmas read with plenty happening to keep your interest

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

Ollie Spencer has started a new life in the idyllic Cornish seaside town of Port Karadow. Throwing herself into her job at the town’s bookshop, A New Chapter, is one way to make friends. The shop is glitzing up for first Christmas and Ollie hopes her inspired ideas will give the shop the edge it needs to dazzle the town.

But far from being the Sugar Plum fairy the place needs, Ollie is fast becoming its Christmas pudding. With the bookshop’s success at stake, Ollie turns to twinkly-eyed café owner Max for help. Can he help Ollie to turn the page, and put the sparkle back into her Cornish dream?

💭THOUGHTS💭

Just one look at the title and the cover and I wanted to be a part of this tour. I was delighted when I was accepted! It was a lovely book to read with plenty of emotion, Christmas decorations and bookish adventure!  

The writing was light and entertaining with plenty of things happening throughout the book. The description of places was great and I really felt like I was there with the characters. I enjoyed the spooky myths that made up some of the story and liked being on the journey with the main character investigating them!

The chapters were fairly short, labelled with a curly font and had a lovely picture of a teacup. There was a good pace to the book. Nothing felt rushed, and the shorter chapters kept the story moving.  

The characters were excellent and I loved the spirit of friendship throughout the story. My only slightly negative point of view is that there were quite a few characters and I personally found it hard to remember who was who – which is quite rare for me.

It was written from the perspective of the main character and I loved her enthusiasm for the shop and those around her. Whatever life threw at her she was ready to take it and turn it round to her advantage. I definitely want some of her spirit! I liked that the main character had to work to be liked and she wasn’t just accepted straight away. I thought that added something to the story and you willed everyone to like her! I was quite invested in the main character and hoped that everything worked out well for her. There was just the right amount of emotion that made you appreciate what the main character had been through. 

Lastly the settings. I loved being in Cornwall and in the bookshop. I loved the village and the support of the people. It was made to feel real with the main character doing her best to fit in and not always getting it right. Overall a lovely read.

📖THE AUTHOR📖

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – Someone To Kiss by Jamie Anderson

“She was drunk – not “super-fun life of the party” drunk.”

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Number of Pages: 300

Date of Publication: 22 October 2022

Publisher: TRM Publishing

My Review Summary: An entertaining, gripping tale about the pitfalls of online dating

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

A Hilarious and Heartening Take on the Pitfalls of Modern Dating.

As the clock strikes midnight over a disastrous New Year’s Eve and happy couples celebrate all around her, Kate makes a resolution, hastily scrawled on the back of a napkin, that next New Year’s Eve she will have found someone of her own to kiss.

But when you’re a forty-something cat-mom who’d rather binge Netflix than brave the singles scene, finding someone to kiss turns out to be harder than it sounds. Kate is totally unprepared for navigating hook-up apps, speed-dating, and sliding into somebody’s DMs.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Kate seems further than ever from reaching her goal. As relationships crumble around her and dark long-kept secrets spill out, could Kate’s fixation on her quest cause her to let true love slip through her fingers forever?

Someone to Kiss is a wry and witty romantic comedy, tackling serious issues with real heart. The perfect new read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Jennifer Weiner and JoJo Moyes.

💭THOUGHTS💭

Sometimes you just need a light, entertaining read and when I saw this I thought that it would tick those boxes. Not only was it light and entertaining, but it was also thought provoking and had some serious moments in it. It was just the right mixture that had me hooked and wanting to read more. 

The writing was light and easy and made me want to keep on reading, I struggled to put it down! I was completely invested in the main character’s journey and wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I loved the fact that every so often the character perspective would change so that you got to see what the other characters were thinking whilst the main character was on her journey. I also enjoyed the text messages that were interspersed throughout, that added an extra layer to the story. 

The chapters weren’t overly long so the story moved fairly swiftly. Despite the short chapters, there were lots of things happening along the way that allowed you to really get to know the character’s thoughts and feelings. This helped to slow the story down and to stop it feeling rushed. 

The chapters were all numbered, but some of them had dates which clearly showed how the year was going. I sometimes find it hard to gauge time in a story, but with this book I was expressly told. I also enjoyed the fact that we went back in time so that we could see how the main character ended up being where she was. It was just an extra layer that allowed you to really get to know the character and become more invested in her journey. 

The characters were great. There was clearly a main character, but she had excellent support and it was nice to be able to see the other characters’ thoughts throughout the story. I loved the dynamics between the best friends and the best friend’s brother. They were the constants that made the story more heartwarming. 

Lastly the settings. They were good. They were definitely secondary to the characters, but I enjoyed being taken round various parts of Saskatchewan. There was enough detail to give you an idea of where the characters were without detracting from the characters conversations, thoughts and actions. 

Overall a great read that I struggled to put down. I recommend it if you want something uplifting to read.

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #romcom #autumnreading #fallreading

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”, “rom com”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The People Before by Charlotte Northedge

“It’s that flash, the lightening movement at the edge of your vision, no more than a flicker, so that you don’t know whether you’ve imagined it.”

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Number of Pages: 336

Date of Publication: 10 November 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

My Review Summary: A story that plays with you.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

What if your dream house became your worst nightmare?

Jess and her husband need a new start. So when the chance to buy a rambling old house in the Suffolk countryside comes up, they leap at it.

But not everyone in Suffolk is welcoming. The locals know a secret about the Maple House, and soon, Jess realises they’ve made a huge mistake.

Something bad happened in that house. Something nobody wants to talk about.

💭THOUGHTS💭 

When I read the blurb for this I was completely taken in. I was very excited to then be accepted onto the Tour. I was in the mood for something a bit darker and this fitted the bill. It was a rollercoaster of emotions with lots of things going on that all tied up very neatly at the end. 

The writing was gripping and tapped in to some of my fears. It was cleverly written from two different perspectives. I liked the way that you went through one story then it swapped perspectives. So many different things happened, but they tied up well. The writing was clear and kept me interested throughout.

The story was split into a prologue and 3 parts (two of which were labelled with the character whose viewpoint we would be reading) with chapters that weren’t overly long in each part and were similar in length. There was a good pace to the story with lots of little bits going on. Things were dropped then gradually were explained throughout the story, which made me want to keep on reading to see how it would all turn out. Even though there were lots of little bits, I didn’t get lost or confused by what was going on.  

The characters were excellent. With the way it was written you just weren’t sure who to trust and whether what you were reading was as straightforward as it made out. I loved that we had the two viewpoints so we were able to really get to know the two main characters. So many different things kept coming to light. They were certainly complex people with secrets that they were trying to keep hidden. I was emotionally invested and was satisfied with the ending. 

Lastly the settings. I loved the house. It was a character in itself. It was cleverly written to seem both spooky and not, depending on how you were looking at it. There was enough description to give you an idea of the house, but the main focus of the story was on the characters and their thoughts, feelings and actions. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and recommend it if you want something darker to read. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading #thepeoplebefore #psychologicalfiction

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Will by Rebecca Reid

“Roxborough Hall is an enormous house. Too big, really.”

Genre: Crime

Number of Pages: 384

Date of Publication: 10 November 2022

Publisher: Penguin

My Review Summary: A gripping family tale

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

The Mordaunts aren’t like most families . . . 

For one, their family home is Roxborough Hall – a magnificent, centuries-old mansion in the Norfolk countryside. For another, the house isn’t passed down from parent to child – but rather to the family member deemed most worthy.

Cecily Mordaunt is dead. On the evening of her funeral, her family will gather for dinner and each will be given a letter, revealing who is the next custodian of Roxborough Hall.

The house is a burden, a millstone, a full-time job . . . but they all want it. And some are willing do anything to get it.

One family. Eight letters. Who will get what they deserve?

💭THOUGHTS💭

I was drawn in by the blurb of this book and was excited to be accepted onto the Tour. I had read a book back in the summer with an inheritance theme and enjoyed that, so I had fairly high expectations for this book. I was not disappointed. I just kept on reading and struggled to put it down! 

The writing had me hooked from fairly near the beginning. It took me a little bit to work out that the chapters without a date on meant that they were back in the present day – it would have been helpful to have had that label, but I was soon in the swing of it and because I read for a few uninterrupted hours (!!) I was able to keep a handle on what was going on and who was who. I am pleased that there was a family tree in the front of the book as that helped when there was confusion. I will say though that on the family tree it had one of the character’s full name on, which I don’t recall him ever being referred to in the book, so that caught me out a little bit (the character was called Jonty, but in the family tree he is down as Jonathan). Despite this occasional pause in the story while I worked out what was going on I absolutely loved it and didn’t want to put it down. I often have a couple of books on the go, but decided not to swap over half way through the evening as I wanted to know what was going to happen next! Definitely the sign of a good book for me! 

The chapters were fairly short and those that went back in time were dated. As I mentioned above I would have preferred it if the numbered chapters had the title of present so that I knew where I was. It didn’t take long to work out, but if you had put the book down it might take you a while to realise that you were back in the present time upon picking it back up. The short chapters gave a good pace to the story and it was always moving. I didn’t get bored at any point.  

The characters were excellent. There were some unlikeable characters, and weak characters, but that made the story for me. The outcome was unexpected. I enjoyed the way that you hopped around different character’s perspectives. They did have a chapter to themselves when this was happening so I was able to keep up with what was going on. It was nice to get everyone’s point of view at some point in the story. 

Lastly the settings. There was only one main setting and that was the house itself. It was described as another character really. I enjoyed what description there was, but it was primarily a book based on the characters and their thoughts and actions. 

Overall an unputdownable book for me. I highly recommend it! 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – Havana Fever by Leonardo Padura

“The symptoms hit him suddenly, like a voracious wave sweeping a child off a quiet shore and dragging him into the depths of the sea: a lethal double blow to the stomach, numbness that turned his legs to jelly, a cold sweat on his palms and, above all, the searching pain, under his left nipple, which accompanied every single hunch he’d ever had.”

Genre: Crime Fiction / Translated Fiction

Number of Pages: 292

Date of Publication: 15 January 2009

Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press

My Review Summary: A great murder mystery set in Cuba at a time of suffering

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

Mario Conde has retired from the police force and makes a living trading in antique books. Havana is now flooded with dollars, populated by pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and other hunters of the night. In the book collection of a rich Cuban who fled after the fall of Batista, Conde discovers an article about Violeta del Rio, a beautiful bolero singer of the 1950s who disappeared mysteriously. A murder soon follows. This is a crime story set in today’s darker Cuba, but it is also an evocation of the Havana of Batista, the city of a hundred night clubs where the paths of Marlon Brando and Meyer Lansky crossed.

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I was quite excited when I was accepted onto this Blog Tour. I love a murder mystery and this one involved a library that was set in a country that I know next to nothing about. I was also interested in reading a translated text. I haven’t read many translated texts before so this is another one that I can add to my list. 

The writing was so descriptive and really pulled you in to that world. I haven’t read a book so heavy on the description for a while so it did take me a while to complete it. I enjoyed reading it though, and loved the immersive experience even if, at times, it was a bit emotional reading about what people were going through. The whole story was from the main character’s point of view, but every so often a letter would appear from a mysterious source. It took a while for me to work out who the letters were to and from, but once I did it made it all the more interesting. 

On to the chapters and there were none in this book. I have never read a book without any chapters. There were pages that indicated where there would have been a next chapter though. The story was instead split into 2 parts: The A Side: Be gone from me and The B Side: You’ll remember me. The story therefore had an uninterrupted flow until the occasional, seemingly random, letter got in the way. The letters were completely random and had nothing to do with what was happening at that time. When you get to the end of the book though you appreciate the cleverness of this format. 

The characters were great. I loved the detective and his moral compass. He had a great group of friends and it was lovely to read about his relationship with them. When times were hard they were there for each other. And times were hard in this book! 

Lastly the settings. This book was all about the settings and the atmosphere, and experience it created for me as the reader was excellent. I often read books where the characters and their conversations and actions are the main focus of the story, and to have any more detail on their surroundings would distract. This book had so much context and detail, yet it didn’t distract you from the main character and what he was trying to achieve. It was very cleverly written and I am glad that I was able to experience it. 

Overall a great book and one that I recommend if you want a different sort of murder mystery. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading #havanafever

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen

“The new budget forecast is ready by half past ten.”

Genre: Crime/Thriller

Number of Pages: 300

Date of Publication: 27 October 2022

Publisher: Orenda Books

My Review Summary: An exciting second installment

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen has finally restored order both to his life and to YouMeFun, the adventure park he now owns, when a man from the past appears – and turns everything upside down again. More problems arise when the park’s equipment supplier is taken over by a shady trio, with confusing demands. Why won’t Toy of Finland Ltd sell the new Moose Chute to Henri when he needs it as the park’s main attraction? 

Meanwhile, Henri’s relationship with artist Laura has reached breaking point, and, in order to survive this new chaotic world, he must push every calculation to its limits, before it’s too late…

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I was excited when I was accepted onto this Tour for the second book in The Rabbit Factor series. I enjoyed reading The Rabbit Factor and so had high hopes for this one. 

The writing was light, entertaining and had me wanting to keep on reading. It was written from the perspective of the main character who is unique in his take on life. I enjoyed the tone of the book and thought that it added an extra layer on to what was already going on. A lot of things did go on in the book and there were some bits that I wasn’t entirely clear on, but it didn’t spoil anything for me – I got the gist of what was going on and was happy enough with that. There was a fair amount of description and thoughts from the perspective of the main character and I think that added a realistic touch to everything that was happening. There were some tense moments in the story with one thing happening after the other, but it all tied up well. The ending was however left open for the next book. 

The story was broken up into chapters entitled earlier, now and three weeks later. The time travel gave an extra layer to the story. This only happened in the first few chapters though so you weren’t constantly going back and forth.

The chapters weren’t overly long so it gave a good pace to the story. As I said above there were a lot of things happening all the time, which whilst keeping my interest the chapter division made sure that the story kept moving. Each chapter carried on with the story allowing not only a good pace, but also a good flow. 

The characters were great. I loved the main character and the way that he views the world. The book details his thoughts and resulting actions, which was interesting to read about. I love the relationship that he has with his employees. Even though they have their ups and downs he is there for them, and given his personality that is a big thing. He literally puts his life on the line to save a park he didn’t really want at the beginning of the series in order to keep his employees in work. I enjoyed reading about the criminals, however how the main character managed to solve his problems with them and how the park got into the problems that it did was a bit complicated. As I said above though, I got the gist and I still enjoyed reading the story. 

Lastly the settings. I loved being back at the park. It was enjoyable reading the descriptions of some of the equipment and I always enjoy the talk of food in the book, especially in this case where the food all has crazy names to make it more exciting for the children who are going to be eating there. 

Overall an enjoyable read with great characters and an interesting storyline. I recommend it, but you need to have read the first book, The Rabbit Factor, before embarking on this one. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – Good Taste by Caroline Scott

“Josephine Baker had made him cry.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 432

Date of Publication: 13 October 2022

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

My Review Summary: A lovely book with a relatable main character.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS📖

You can tell a lot about a person from what they like to eat..

When Stella Douglas, author of a much-loved but not very successful biography of a forgotten cookery writer, is summoned to see her editor in London, she is dreading being told her writing career is over before it’s even started. But much to her surprise, she finds she is being commissioned to write another book – this time a history of food in England and how the English like to eat. It’s to be quintessentially English and will remind English housewives of the old ways, and English men the glory of their country. The only problem is – all English food is really from elsewhere. 

So Stella sets about inviting recipes from all corners of England, in the hope of discovering a hidden culinary gem. But what she discovers is oatcakes and gravy and lots of lots of potatoes. 

Longing for something more thrilling, she heads off to speak to the nation’s housewives. But when her car breaks down and the dashing and charismatic Freddie springs to her rescue, she is led in a very different direction…

Full of wit and life, Provenance is a story of discovery, of a modern England emerging from the past and one woman’s desire to make her own way as a modern woman. 

💭THOUGHTS💭

I was excited to be a part of this Blog Tour because I have come to realise that I enjoy reading books that have food in them. I have read a few books recently with food involved and I love the way that the food is described. For me it adds something extra to the story, something that makes it more grounded. 

The writing in this book was light, yet emotional at times. I loved the different styles of writing that together made up this story (alongside the main character narrating the story you had letters from the public telling their individual stories). There was a lot of description that made you really feel like you were there with the character. Whilst there was a lot of description, it added to the story and went well with the character and her journey. I also enjoyed that the language used was of it’s time. There were words and references that I didn’t recognise as of this present time and I liked being transported to the 1930s via the language. 

The chapters were a mix of lengths. They were generally shorter at the beginning and the end and longer in the middle. I therefore felt that I was introduced to the story quickly and the end was quickly wrapped up. I liked that at the end of some of the chapters you got to see the letters that the main character had sent in to her from the public. It broke up the story, yet added to it at the same time. You were able to see what the character was seeing and could understand the difficulties that she was having in trying to write her book. 

I loved the main character. She was very relatable and I enjoyed being on her journey with it’s ups and downs. It is quite interesting (and sad) that the things that happened to her are still happening today. I did start to feel quite nervous for her at some points and I think that that is the mark of a good writer! It was more emotional than I thought it was going to be, but I was satisfied with the ending. 

The settings were excellent. I loved the descriptions of the places and the main character’s thoughts whilst she was in those places. I enjoyed being taken round the UK and it was eye-opening to see the similarities of what people ate despite being miles apart. 

Overall a lovely book with a good mix of adventure and emotion. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading #historicalfiction #goodtaste #carolinescott

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”, “historical fiction”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – What Child Is This? By Bonnie Macbird

“London snow is rare in the early twenty-first century, but one evening in late December of 2021 some tentative flakes drifted lazily down outside the window of my small mansion flat just off Baker Street.”

Genre: Christmas Mystery/Crime

Number of Pages: 240

Date of Publication: 13 October 2022

Publisher: Collins Crime Club

My Review Summary: A beautifully presented Christmas mystery. The perfect Christmas gift!

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

It’s the season of peace and goodwill, but a Victorian Christmas is no holiday for the world’s most popular detective in this new book from Bonnie MacBird, author of the bestselling Sherlock Holmes novel Art in the Blood.

It’s Christmastime in London, and Sherlock Holmes takes on two cases. The angelic three-year-old child of a wealthy couple is the target of a vicious kidnapper, and a country aristocrat worries that his handsome, favourite son has mysteriously vanished from his London pied à terre. Holmes and Watson, aided by the colourful Heffie O’Malley, slip slide in the ice to ensure a merry Christmas is had by nearly everybody . . .

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I love a Christmas book and when I saw that this was also a Sherlock Holmes one that was illustrated I got extra excited! I was so pleased when I was accepted on the tour. The book itself is gorgeous with amazing illustrations to accompany a great story. It showed off Sherlock Holmes really well without being overly complicated. I loved it! 

The writing was clear and had a good flow. The font was a good size and the first letter of the first word was illustrated beautifully. The book itself was split into 5 parts. Each part had a title and a quote which I enjoyed. The parts were then split into chapters with interesting titles. I loved that the book was from the perspective of Dr Watson as were the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and that in turn this story written by Dr Watson was “found” in a London Mansion Flat in 2021. 

I enjoyed Dr Watson’s description of the surrounding area and other characters every so often. It really made me feel christmassy as well as getting to know the other characters more intimately. I felt that the level of description to action was well balanced and added to the story rather than detracted from it. 

As mentioned above the chapters were split into the 5 parts and were fairly long. You were able to get a good chunk of the story before moving on. Nothing felt rushed and the story gradually unfolded. There wasn’t anything too complicated about it. Sometimes the language used was a bit hard to understand (I needed to look up a couple of words), but it showed off who Holmes was well and it was nice to learn new words! 

The characters were excellent. I have always loved the relationship between Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes. Despite everything there is a real friendship there and this was showcased in this story. Sherlock Holmes has always fascinated me as a character and I enjoyed reading about him and how he interacts with the other characters. I enjoyed that Holmes was always one or two steps ahead of Dr Watson (and therefore us as the reader) and looked forward to the big reveal. 

Lastly the settings. I loved them. I was really transported to a Victorian Christmas. Unlike a lot of books that I have read recently, there was a fair amount of description (as well as character conversation) plus with the illustrations it made for an excellent read. 

Overall I loved it. It is a beautiful book with excellent illustrations and a great story that showcases Sherlock Holmes well. I recommend! 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #autumnreading #fallreading #christmasbook #sherlockholmes #mystery

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”, “christmas book”, “sherlock holmes”, “mystery”

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais

“Half an hour before the alarm will be sounded for the first time in decades – drawing four frantic old women and geriatric crow from all corners of the sprawling manor – Ursula is awoken by insistent knocking, like giant knuckles rapping against glass.”

Genre: Fantasy

Number of Pages: 400

Date of Publication: 15 September 2022

Publisher: Mira/Harper 360

My Review Summary: A gripping tale with strong female characters.

📖PLOT SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS 📖

A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.

Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation.

But the mob is only the start of their troubles. One man is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy he claims was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. Then things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle instead of the solution to all their problems.

The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.

💭THOUGHTS💭 

I was quite excited when I got accepted onto this Tour as I haven’t read a book about Witches in a long time. I also like to try and read seasonally and this book definitely gave me Autumn vibes. Not long after signing up for the Tour I kept seeing the book around so I had high hopes for when I started to read it. I was not disappointed. 

The writing was gripping and I was pulled into the Witches’ world. The story gradually unfolded and little things that I wasn’t expecting kept cropping up, which kept my interest. I enjoyed the pace of the story, which was created by potions being inserted at the end of a couple of chapters at the beginning and that we were able to follow the different characters as the story gradually came together. All the individual storylines were cleverly woven together and kept the journey for the reader interesting. I just wanted to keep on reading!

I liked the way that the story opened with a map of the Manor and a brief introduction to each of the Witches. It can be confusing to enter a new magical world and be confronted with all sorts of different magical abilities and terminology, but these introductions helped to clear that up right at the beginning and prepared you for the story. 

The chapters differed in length, but tended to be longer rather than short. They were labelled with a date and time so you always knew where you were and could really feel the tension when the count down began. As the chapters were longer, you were able to get a good chunk of the story before moving on. 

The characters were excellent. I loved the Witches and all their individual quirks. I also loved that the characters were strong females from an older generation. You don’t find many characters from that generation being written about, so I enjoyed reading about them. I also loved how the characters interacted with one another and the dynamics of the sisterhood. 

Lastly the settings. I loved the Manor and the grounds. The Manor was another character in itself (we were told how the Manor reacted to certain things). You felt the jeopardy and really rooted for the Witches to save the Manor. 

Overall I loved this book and highly recommend it. 

📖THE AUTHOR📖

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #blogtour #fantasy #witches #thewitchesofmoonshynemanor #autumnreading #fallreading

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”, “easy read”,”entertaining”, “new”, “what book should I read next”, “autumn reading”, “fall reading”, “fantasy”, “witches”