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The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A touching, intimate glimpse into a time of loss, sorrow and mourning. Deep reflections as a mind grapples to accept the horror and finality of loss. Poetic, sad, honest.

Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my first book to read by the author. There was much I liked about it, but I found the story too pedantic. The plot was interesting, but it lacked tension. I will be interested to read another of her books.

The Girl in the Missing Poster by Barbara Copperthwaite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this story until I was about halfway. It felt as though it was being dragged out a little too long, which made it less tense for me. I liked the characters, and although I figured out the plot, it was a good story. I enjoy the author’s work and will read more of her work.

The Survivors by Jane Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So I went into this one after not loving the previous book. Although I read the whole book, didn’t hate the story, I still had a hard time connecting to the characters and empathising with them. If I were to call this story a colour, it would be monochrome. Perhaps it’s just me, and I need more colour in the story? I am not sure. Jane Harper is a great writer with a HUGE following, so I really have no place to critique. I would encourage everyone to try her and see what they think. But for me, it’s just a little grey.

When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This writer knows his stuff. Sucks you in from page one and never lets you go. His skill at making you care about his characters is a gift. This new series is excellent. Every bit as good as the others. If you have never read him, start with the first book and then enjoy the ride.

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this first book of the series. The plot was not complex, nor the relationships between the characters, but it was a comfortable read from start to finish.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wasn’t as keen on this story. Good writing, just found it a bit dry and there weren’t enough characters to like. I always want to root for someone or favour a person in a story. But these characters left me wanting, and I was uncomfortable in their skin-which is testimony to the author’s ability to draw me in. But I got no reward if that makes sense? I will always read this writer as her books are very good.

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am always filled with sadness when I finish a Cormoran Strike book. I’ve never been a huge fan of JK Rowling, and, if I’m honest, I’m a bit jealous of how she seems to effortlessly spit out book after book so flawlessly.
But credit is due where it is due. The Strike series seems to improve one after the other, I think because the story is growing with the depth of this unlikely hero. That he is a huge reason the books are so good is only eclipsed by his assistant Robin, and her own personal growth, filled with relatable female issues most working women have encountered.
Likeable characters we can identify, an amazing capacity to tell a damn good story, and the ability to weave dark, yet disturbingly fascinating plots all add up to fine storytelling. One of the few series of books that I can livingly re-read. The audio version is spellbinding. You are missing something very special if you don’t experience these stories. This one is 900 pages of utter pleasure.

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Always good to read a Shetland book. I love the places she describes and I do like the character, Jimmy Perez. I did figure out the villain, but not all the reasons why, and I do like that about Ann Cleeves’ stories.
Start with the books in order though, they are more meaningful. Highly recommend!

Postcards From a Stranger by Imogen Clark
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a tough one because I thought the writing good, even the story is good – it’s the way it is told which I struggled with. Way too slow. Predictable, so no plot twists really, but that was also okay, it just dragged on and I think if the writing had been more abrupt it would have created more tension and impact. This writer is a seasoned author, so perhaps I am no critic. But she could have got the point across more efficiently, it did not need the drag.

The Body in the Dales by J.R. Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was not bad writing, far from it. But I found it ‘thin’ – I was not invested in the characters as much as I should have been. But it was an interesting read.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was looking forward to reading this story, and I was not disappointed. It is like stepping into a Jane Austen novel, with a brand new cast of characters, a plausible plot, and a tidy ending which is always a treat. The writing is excellent, the descriptions border upon the poetic, and I would have been happy had the story continued on.
If you enjoy period drama, with a twist of Austen and Dickens, then delve into this rich, delicious tale which will take you back to old London town and have you wishing you were going to a ball.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The biggest issue with this book is that it ends! As expected, Horowitz delivers and then throws in a few crazy sprinkles, so that when the story is over, you can’t read anyone else as you believe it will be disappointing.
This man is a master. His writing sucks you in under a guise of simplicity, but in reality, he is weaving and spinning you into his clever web and has so many red herrings you are guessing all the time. His story, within a story, is so brilliantly crafted, as a writer I am overwhelmed with envy, respect, and wonder-I aspire to be half as good as this gentleman writes.
If you like a quintessential British mystery, you need these books. And for those of you who don’t know this author – he is the writer of Foyle’s War, and the Alex Ryder books, currently a new TV series.

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