thoughts and things

Tag: fiction

One Wish In Manhatten by Mandy Baggot Book Review

As Bookouture Christmas comes into an end, I have a great review to leave you with. This is a lovely, romantic story which is just the Christmas tonic I needed. This a great book if you want a piece of escapism set in the magical […]

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin Book Review #BookoutureXmas

   Holly says this is the perfect book to curl up by the fire with, and I totally agree! Christmas at Lilac Cottage is a snowy whirlwind of romance and full of Christmas charm. I was able to read this book by taking part in […]

Secrets of The River by Jess McGlynn Book Review

Secrets of The River is the debut novel of blogger Jess McGlynn. Jess very kindly sent me an ebook version of her book in order for me to undertake a review.


Here’s the Blurb:

Some secrets simply can’t remain hidden… 

When Isabelle moves to a sleepy riverside village in France she thinks she is being given a second chance. 
Keen to leave behind the secrets of her past, she throws herself into village life where she meets cute American journalist Ed, rugged vineyard worker Matteo, and the dark and mysterious Hugo. 
Life should be good, but Isabelle’s arrival acts as a catalyst in the village and she soon discovers she isn’t the only one trying to escape her past and that sometimes there are things which simply can’t remain hidden. 
Isabelle must face her mistakes and rediscover herself in this wonderful romance set against an idyllic backdrop.

I really enjoyed this book. Set in France, it has a very relaxed, holiday feel to it and if you have ever been to France before then you will be able to picture the kind of village that Secrets of The River is set in. It’s the sort of place I’d just love to pack up my things and go and live, far away from the city. We meet Isabelle, just arriving in France after leaving the UK in tragic circumstances. Isabelle is hiding a secret surrounding these events and is trying to move on with her life. She goes to stay with her Sister and her family, but soon realises that things are not all as they seem within the village. 

Many people in the village have secrets or have run from their own past. She meets various characters of the village, such as Matteo, who works for Eric her brother in law, Rose, a young student and American Ed who is in France to write a historical article (or is he?) and Hugo, a tall, brooding man who is friends with Eric, her brother in law and whom Isabelle instantly has a connection with. One could say that the characters can at times feel a little stereotypical but I find you can relate to these characters given the situations they are in and also you warm to them pretty quickly. Characters like Hugo made me want to find out more about him and also what he was hiding. The way the characters and their stories interlink and run parallel make this story very readable and also interesting, you are keen to find out more and try and piece the mysteries together. Coupled with this is the romantic themes that run through the novel, a will they/won’t they which you hope will be positive! The story is told from various points of view, mainly from Isabelle but the dialogue can switch to another’s point of view half way through the page. This can get slightly confusing at times but generally I didn’t find this an issue. 

The story moves along at a relaxed pace but things do quicken up towards the end. Secrets are revealed and mysteries are solved. The nice thing about this book is that it had some twists that were not easily identifiable and  keep you guessing right till the end. The ending was lovely, just what I hoped it would be and put a smile on my face – what more could you want! I hope this isn’t the last we have seen of these characters, and I look forward to reading more from Jess in the future. 

I rated Secrets of the River 4 out of 5 stars.

Secrets of the River by Jess McGlynn is published by Jess McGlynn and is out now. 

Evil Games by Angela Marsons Book Review

A thrilling, tense page turner, this second book in the Kim Stone series doesn’t disappoint…. I received an eBook copy of Evil Games via NetGalley    Here’s the Blurb: The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game… When a rapist is found mutilated in a […]

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton Book Review

A tense psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end, this is great read… I received a copy of this book from Netgalley Here’s the Blurb: What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you? Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s […]

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock Book Review

An easy, comfortable read about a young man and his sexuality at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. 

I received an electronic version of this book via Netgalley
Here’s the Blurb: 

‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’

Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England’s history of upheaval and change – both personal and social – this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.

I really enjoyed this book. This book was easy to read, comfortable and like getting to know some old friends. I really enjoyed finding out about Rick, and his life as a young gay man in 1970s. His life at this time is interwoven with the big news of the era – the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The murder of these women are interspersed with tales and tribulations of Ricks life. Rick works as a Corona pop delivery boy by day and we start the story as he starts to explore his sexuality and forge friendships within the more or less underground gay community. 

The book is really just this; a book about a young lad finding himself over the course of the late 1970s. To read this though is much more. You become invested in Ricks’ and his families lives and want to know what happens to them. The murders loom over events and life is punctuated with the news of another murder. The book is written in a Yorkshire dialect from Ricks point of view and initially this can be a little difficult with lots of  ‘t’table’  type words but it adds to the feel of the book and I felt it made Rick more of a real character. 

I really felt this book channelled the era and the mood of the times so well. It was like walking through a time machine and finding out about life in the ’70s. The ending of the book ends as much as it begins; the Yorkshire Ripper is caught and life continues. However an era is sort of over and it provides Rick with opportunity to be himself. 

I’d love to know if this book will have a sequel; Rick is such an engaging character I’d love to find out what happens next for him. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock is published by 4th Estate and is out now.  


Secrets of the Tower by Debbie Rix Book Review

I love a historical fiction novel, I am a big fan of Kate Mosse so was really looking forward to this book, set in Pisa and spanning the centuries. I reviewed an ebook copy via Netgalley Here’s the Blurb: Two women, centuries apart, bound together […]

Normal by Graeme Cameron Book Review

A Very readable, original book and a great twist in the serial killer genre I recieved a copy of this book via Netgalley. Here’s the Blurb: He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden. He shops at your local supermarket. […]

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah Book Review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book via NetGalley

Here’s The Blurb:

A striking literary debut of love and mortality perfect for fans of quirky, heart-wrenching fiction like Nathan Filer, David Nicholls and Rachel Joyce.

Ivo fell for her.

He fell for a girl he can’t get back.

Now he’s hoping for something.

While he waits he plays a game:

He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.

He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.

But he doesn’t have long.

And he still has one thing left to do …

This is a brilliant book, told through the eyes of Ivor, who is in a hospice. I found the structure of the book a great idea; it’s told through the A-Z of Ivor’s body parts, each telling a part of the story of his life, and his love with Mia. Diagnosed with diabetes, he doesn’t look after his body and makes unwise decisions which ultimately lead to tragedy.

Throughout the book you are waiting to find out how Ivo got to where he is; and many times he seems to blame others for what happens to him, but through the story I felt that there was a lot of questions that Ivo really need to ask himself. There is a lot of emotion in the book, and I was a bit tearful towards the end. 

His relationship with Mia is the defining moment of his life; once he meets her, he falls in love and as he waits in the Hospice, we hear of how they met, and what their lives were like. His friends are different to Mia and Ivo struggles to balance his friendship with his relationship, at times making the wrong decisions. At times I almost wanted to shout at him for making the wrong choices. 

You get to know Ivo as his story unfolds. Things are sometimes told out of order and it draws you into the story, wanting to know how things occurred. It’s interesting as we see things from Ivo’s point of view, and how he saw the situation, as well as some interaction between characters in the modern day. Slowly as the reader you start to understand what has happened and what effect that this has had on Ivo and his life. 

I also felt the story highlighted the health issue related to diabetes well (this is the nurse in me talking here) and showing the consequences of mismanaging diabetes and what that can mean for somebody. Ultimately you could say that at 40, Ivo wouldn’t be in a hospice if he had managed his diabetes better, and lived a healthier life. The book opens up an interesting debate about lifestyle, the effect of relationships and social elements in our decision making related to our lifestyle choices, and the consequences of this. It also makes me think about us owning our decisions and mistakes, it is us who decides to live how we do, drink, eat, smoke etc, and can we or should we blame friends or peer pressure for the consequences? 

This is a really engrossing, interesting read and a book I just couldn’t put down. I really enjoyed this book and would give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah is published by Doubleday and released on March 12

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum Book Review

Hausfrau is a hauntingly beautiful book, set in Switzerland. Anna, an American ex-pat, has lived in Switzerland for 9 years. I was able to read this book to review through being sent an ebook via Netgalley. Here’s the blurb: Anna Benz lives in comfort and […]

%d bloggers like this: