Summer is here, the sun is shining (well it is for now) and it’s the perfect time to sit back, relax and lose yourself in a good book.

a woman sitting in a deckchair on a beach, reading a book

I’ve put together a list of books that I’m hoping to read this summer and I thought I’d share it with you.

Thriller

I love a good psychological thriller and I’m already half way through this one.

cover art for book, a red butterfly on a window frame

Three Secrets

A terrible secret killed your husband…. But which one?

Robert kisses his wife on the head before heading out to the shop for more wine; he walks up the hill, takes a left across the footbridge, and jumps to his death on the busy motorway below.

Two years later, Francesca and her young daughter are leaving London for a fresh start. Money is tight, and Robert’s mother has found them a little cottage in her village. Francesca is grateful for the help, but why does Robert’s mother want to keep them so close? Does she know about what Francesca did in the hour before Robert’s death?

Soon Francesca begins to suspect there was more to her husband’s death than she realised, that there might be even darker secrets hiding in his past than her own….

The closer she gets to uncovering the truth, the more she asks: Is her own life in danger now, too?

Buy Three Secrets on Amazon for £20.03

The Light Read

Best for the beach or relaxing in the garden. A nice feel good read is great for the summer.

cover art for book, an illustration of four women on a beach and four different looking beach huts

How to Keep a Secret

A feel-good listen full of drama and romance, this is a story about family, being brave and opening up to love from international best seller Sarah Morgan.

Three generations of Stewart women, all with secrets to keep…

Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be, and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean? Lauren’s teenage daughter, Mackenzie, masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her, but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?

When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a summer, and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And whilst unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment….

Buy How to Keep a Secret on Amazon for £5.75

The Good Laugh.

I love a book that can make me laugh out loud. Nothing better to settle down with a funny book on a balmy summer’s evening.

cover art for book, a bright yellow background with shelves of kitchen utensils. A big pink fridge, a dog, two bottles of wine and a bag of groceries.

The Mum Who’d Had Enough

The voice of modern women is back! Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews.

Nate Turner has a nice life. He has a steady job as a driving examiner and lives with his wife, Sinead, and son, Flynn, in a lovely house in a good part of town. Yes, it’s a very nice life.

Until one morning Nate comes downstairs to find Sinead gone and a note lying on the kitchen table, listing all the many things that Nate does wrong – or doesn’t do at all.

Now, somehow, Nate needs to show Sinead he can change – fast. But as Nate works on being a better husband and dad, his life changes in amazing and unexpected ways. And he starts to wonder whether he wants to go back to normal after all. Could there be more to life than nice?

buy The Mum Who’d had Enough on Amazon for £7.11

 

A Little Romance

I’ve always been a fan of Marian Keyes and we all need a little romance in our lives.

cover art for book, a blue background with an illustration of a suitcase with pink bra and pair of red shoes.

Rachel’s Holiday

Rachel Walsh is 27 and the miserable owner of size 8 feet. She has regular congress with Luke Costello, a man who wears his leather trousers tight. And she’s fond – some might say too fond – of recreational drugs.

Until, that is, everything goes pear-shaped and she finds herself being frog-marched to the Cloisters – Dublin’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She’s outraged. Surely she’s not thin enough to be an addict?

Rachel isn’t expecting plump, middle-aged men in brown jumpers, and more group therapy than you can shake a stick at. Heartsick and Lovesick, she seeks redemption in the shape of Chris – a man who might be more trouble than he’s worth.

You can buy Rachel’s Holiday on Amazon for £6.45

Horror

My taste for horror has depleted over the years, but once upon a time I was a big James Herbert fan. This is one of his that I’ve not read, so if I did go back for a little scare, then this would be the one I’d go for.

cover art a silhouette of person struggling through moonlit cobwebs

Nobody True

Deadline. Jim True has returned from an out-of-body experience to find he has been brutally murdered and his body mutilated. No one can see him, no one can hear him, no one, except his killer, knows he still exists.

Freed from his body, True embarks on a quest to find his killer and discover why and how he has managed to survive. As he closes in on his murderer, True discovers that even the very people he loved and trusted have betrayed him. He meets his killer, a strange and sinister figure who can also leave his body at will.

An epic and deadly battle ensues between True and a seemingly unstoppable and hideous serial killer – a man now intent on even more murders, including True’s wife and child.

 

Buy Nobody True on Amazon for £9.99

What sort of books will you be indulging in this summer?

I prefer to listen to my books on Audible, in fact I’m quite addicted. You can trial Audible free for 30 days, you get a credit every month for a new download.




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Author: Stuart Turton

Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Raven Books (8 Feb. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1408889560
ISBN-13: 978-1408889565

The Blurb:

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Review:

I read about this book on another blog, Jera’s Jamboree, and I was intrigued. Having recently found a love of murder mystery thrillers, my former love was science fiction and it was mentioned that this book had an edge of sci-fi.

Starting the book it was just like you’d expect, a murder to be solved, a manor full of interesting characters, lots of clues to be solved. The main character has eight days to solve the murder, but each day is spent in a different guest. But…it’s not as simple as that as he flips from guest to guest, simply because one guest has fallen asleep, or been knocked out or even murdered.

A complete tangle is formed but the author never make you feel any more lost than the main character. As you approach the end the murder is solved and you are waiting to find out what happens next, all the time with niggling unanswered questions in your mind.

You are not left feeling baffled though, everything is explained, all questions answered, all puzzles solved. It just might not be what you were expecting.

I loved this book and find it difficult to believe it’s a debut novel as it’s so well written. Each character comes to life and is so different from any other character. Blackheath Manor is described so well you could imagine you are visiting it yourself. This book is full of emotion that will take you on a roller coaster ride of suspense, horror and tension. There may even be a love story or two but that would be telling.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a good read with lots of twists and turns but a satisfying conclusion.

cover art for the seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Audible

Audible is now my most favourite way of digesting a book and I bought The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle with my monthly free credit. I always listen to a sample first to make sure I like the sound of the narrator. It’s not easy to listen to a book if the narrator irritates you. Thankfully you can listen to samples on Audible and most narrators are really great at the job.

You can buy The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on Audible here, or just listen to an extract.

 

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Forest School Adventure cover art

Author : Naomi Walmsley & Dan Westall
ISBN13 : 9781784944032
Binding : PB with flaps
Pages : 176
Photographs : 250 photographs
Quick Find Code : 28384

The Blurb

Learn how to light a fire without matches, build a shelter to sleep in, cook on a fire, hunt for bugs and much more. From essential bushcraft basics and Stone Age survival skill to joyful outdoor play, this book is packed with ideas to bring children close to nature an all its magical offerings.

Young children will be immersed in imaginative, gloriously mess play and crafts, while older ones can get to grips with more complex activities like stone tool making and sourcing water.

The book is split into four main sections, Nature Awareness, Bushcraft, Wild Food and Games. Entertaining stories from the authors’ own experience of surviving int eh wild can be read aloud to children, bringing to life the thrilling reality of sleeping in a cave or savouring your first ever foraged meal.

Whether in an organized setting, a group of friends or a family outing, the fun-filled exercises, crafts and games will build confidence and result in happy and energized children.

First Impressions

This is a lovely book jam packed with lots of fantastic photography. It’s printed on thick paper and the pages turn easy. It’s a good quality book that would last being taken on an outdoor adventure.

The book is divided into sections which are easy to find. And there is so much to discover inside.

The authors are from Shropshire, UK and specialise in bushcraft and Stone Age Skills. They provide unique experience for school children and teach them how to connect to nature. Together they undertook a five month Stone Age immersion experience in the US, living in the wilderness without any modern equipment, which has profoundly influenced their lives and teaching. You can read more about them on their website www.outback2basics.co.uk

My Review

This book is for anyone who wants to teach their children about the great outdoors and nature. The first section is split in two. Nature Awareness begins with lots of crafts like building a bug hotel, leaf collages, goblin villages, nests and leaf printing. Skills and Learning helps your child learn about nature and how to detect and observe our natural surrounding.

pages from the book showing how to make leaf print pictures

The Second section is Bushcraft and has many chapters which include making nots, building dens, making fire, collecting water and many primitive schools. By the time you have worked through this section your child will certainly know how to survive in the wild.

pages from the book showing how to collect water

The third sections is all about food. You can teach your child how to forage for food and medicinal plants. It begins with the laws and considerations which everyone should follow, then there is a detailed photographic section on things that should be easy to forage and finally a recipe guide. It also shows you how to teach your children to cook outside.

pages from the book showing how to make syrup from dandelions

The last section is all about games which are claimed to be excellent ways for children to start moving their bodies, get their senses tuned in and get in touch with the environment. As well as being a perfect excuse to be silly and have some fun. You can learn how to play Ninja Stick, Blind Fetch, Tail Grab and Hunt the Humless to name a few. I’ve not heard of most of these games before so it’s a thrill to find new ones to play.

pages from the book showing games for children.

Conclusion

We all know how important it is for children to play outside. When I was a child we would often spend hours in the local hills or over the fields. My favourite place was the Bluebell woods where we would build dens and swings and play for hours.

This book is a great encouragement to get outside and try some of the activities. It’s time to drag the kids away from their screens and get them out to discover all that nature has to offer.

From bushcraft and survival skills, to making primitive tools and learning about what is edible, this book has it all. Presented in an easy to understand text with plenty of photographic directions. And for those days when venturing far is not going to happen then the kids can get stuck in to making the crafts, most of the stuff for these can be found in a back garden or park.

If you are ever stuck outside with a load of kids you can get them to join in the fun games. Kids love playing together and these games are lots of fun while learning about thier surroundings.

I’ve come to love this book and I think it will be a useful resource for a long time.

You can buy this book for £16.99 here

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

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Paperback: 256 pages
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Highlights Press; Act Csm edition (9 Nov. 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629798401
ISBN-13: 978-1629798400
Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.6 x 27.6 cm

First Impressions.

When this pad arrived I left it on the coffee table and it was picked up by Boo as soon as she arrived home from school. She started drawing in it straight away. Then Star had a go and finally the Little Man had his turn. They couldn’t put it down between them it kept them all engrossed.

The pad is a colourful A4 size with a whopping 256 pages of activities. A lot of them involve drawing yourself and my kids love this.

The Blurb

Doodling and drawing has never been more fun with the addition of Highlights™ puzzles to extend the experience. The Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw is packed with colorfully illustrated puzzles that kids can solve and add their own creations to. With a wide variety of activities that encourage creativity, this oversized pad features Hidden Pictures® doodles, mazes to imagine and draw, cartooning activities, and more. This perfectly portable activity pad will keep kids entertained for hours whether on car trips or at home on rainy days.

Our Verdict

This pad is so much fun. It attracted a lot of attention from my 7, 10 and 12 year old. They all enjoyed doodling and using their imaginations. It came just in time for half term so they’ve had plenty of time to enjoy it. The Little Man even took it to bed with him last night and I woke up this morning to find him sitting doodling.

It would be great on a car trip, or even on holiday for those chilling out times. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a child that loves to doodle.

You can buy the book from Amazon here Jumbo Pad of Things to Imagine, Doodle, and Draw (Highlights™ Jumbo Books & Pads) for just £11.99

Here’s a few pages from the book that my children have enjoyed doing.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

By: Gail Honeyman
Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 18-05-17
Language: English
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited

The Blurb

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

My Verdict

I listened to this on Audible. You can easily get the book but I did feel that an audio version was the better option in this case. Eleanor Oliphant is a bit of a strange thinking character and reading her thoughts might make it a little more difficult to get a feel for her personality. She does have a strange grasp of the English language, particularly at the beginning of the book. Of course this is a personal choice, but I did find the narrator, Cathleen McCarron a very good interpreter of the characters in this story.

Eleanor Oliphant is that person that we’ve probably seen at sometime in our lives. The one at the office that doesn’t interact very often and when they do they come across as inappropriate. The one often made fun of behind their backs. The one that wears the same clothes on rotation like a uniform and takes little notice of their appearance.

Then she meets Raymond and together they meet Sammy and suddenly a whole world of social interaction opens up for her.

We know from the start that there is something from her past haunting her, we know she was brought up in care from the age of ten. Little snippets of information are let out throughout the story but it’s all too painful for Eleanor.

It takes a very drastic moment in her life for her to realise that she is not alone and that people do actually care about her.

Conclusion

I didn’t want the story to end, I wanted to carry on hearing about Eleanor and what happened next. It wasn’t left on a cliff hanger, I just felt so engrossed, so close to the characters that I wanted to keep on listening.

The story made me tingle with emotion at times, it also made me laugh out loud. There was also a silent tear every now and then. This book certainly has all the feels.

I even enjoyed the chat between the narrator, Cathleen McCarron and the author Gail Honeyman at the end.

Audible

Audible is my best friend at the moment, I’m always popping in my earphones and listening to some story or other book. I’ve just purchased 6 volumes of Sherlock Holmes with my free credit this month. That should keep me occupied for a fair while.

You can try Audible yourself with a 30 day free trail and then it’s £7.99 per month afterwards including a free credit which you can use on a book of your choice. There are also lots of members offers to be had like this month’s 2 for 1 offer. Do let me know if you decide to give it a try

Of course if you don’t fancy Audible, I’d still recommend this book as a read which you can get from Amazon.

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