One in Three by Tess Stimson

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I am in the minority here about this book.  We start off with a tense scene, two women in a hotel room with a dead man between them.  One woman is injured and covered in blood. Which one killed the man on the floor?

After that I was confused as there were so many characters introduced at once.  I was having trouble keeping them straight such as which one was Andrew’s daughter or who was related to the other characters.

Louise is the ex-wife of Andrew Page and Caz is the current wife.  There are tensions between the two even as they try and play nicely with the relationships. The interviews at the police station reveal more about each woman’s personality and you start to get a picture of their lives and how Andrew played them both.  I developed some empathy for characters I previously disliked as the story continued.

I would try another book by this author but I wasn’t over the moon in love with this one.  Again, I am i the minority after seeing reviews.

Thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book.  This book was published by Avon books UK on July 9, 2020.

Darkest Night by Jenny O’Brien

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Christine De Bertrand is a divorced  woman and stays in most nights.  She’s a teacher and homebody but on her birthday her friends manage to drag her out for a fun evening of celebration. She has a very uncharacteristic evening of excessive drinking, partying and brings home a stranger for the night.

This is a first for her and when she awakens to the seemingly sleeping body next to her, she flees the bed to get meds for the massive headache and makes coffee. She’s in for a surprise when she returns to the bedroom, hoping to gently roust the dark haired man from her pub night.  There will be at least one homicide in the DC Gabriella Darin series so you can probably guess Christine will be a suspect for murder. Then the other characters are introduced and the pool of suspects gets a little larger.

We are taken to Wales via Jenny O’Brien’s latest book in the Gabriella Darin series.  I am enjoying this series and happy to know there are more books planned.  This is book 2 and we are following DC Gaby Darin in her personal life and career path with a Welsh police agency.

“North Wales was stunning with its stretches of golden beaches, incomparbale lush fields abd hills coated in green.”

A character I am hoping will be developed is Medical Examiner Rusty Mullholland.  She’s gruff and yet appealing.

Foodie stuff:

A full English with toast and marmalade on the side.
Soup and bread
a dinner party with fillet of salmon and homemade Pavlova
Vegetable lasagna and wine
A big bowl of carb filled pasta
Sun dried tomato and basil drenched fettucine

All that pasta had me craving a bowl with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese.  Pure comfort food. Get the recipe from Food Network HERE.

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Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced complimentary copy. I was not compensated for this review and throughly enjoyed this book. Publication date was July 17, 2020. Genre is fiction, mystery and thriller.

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Wartime with the Cornish Girls By Betty Walker

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The setting is 1941 in London during the Blitz. I was anxious to get to the Cornwall setting but this takes a few chapters. We met three very brave  women who come from different backgrounds.

Violet lives in London and helps at her mother’s shop selling sandwiches and cakes. Her father is dead, her sister was recently killed in an air raid bombing and her brother-in-law is a soldier missing in action. As his mother was German there are insinuations he was a spy.  Cheery stuff here. Violet moves her nieces to Cornwall as it’s safer and goes to work at an air base.

Eva is a showgirl in London. She meets an American airman and there is some romantic interest there, then the club where she is performing is bombed during  a strike. She awakens in the hospital and after recovery she moves to Porthcurno Cornwall to work at an air base using her knowledge of Morse code to help with the war effort. ( there’s a backstory to this development )

Hazel is a local woman who already lives in Cornwall and works at the air base. She is married and her abusive husband is deployed during the war. He gets home on leave occassionally and is most assuredly not a model husband. Not a bad man, just not a good husband.

I thought it was a slow start but found it more enjoyable once the three main characters  met up at work. I liked the friendships formed and the Cornish setting. Normally I like an edgier plot and action but this is a nice “beach read” type of book. If you are looking to escape the horrors of the news right now you may enjoy this book.  Nothing objectionable here.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced complimentary copy. I was not compensated for this review and throughly enjoyed this book. Publication by Avon Books UK is February 18, 2021. Genre is historical fiction/womens fiction.

Betty Walker lives in Cornwall and is a prolific writer.

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The Last Piece by Imogen Clark

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This book pulled me in immediately with the realistic dialogue between the three sisters in the beginning. Felicity,  Julia and Lily are texting back and forth about an unexpected and uncharacteristic event.  Their mother, Cecily Nightingale, has up and flown off to Greece on some mysterious trip.  The Nighingales rarely take any holiday away from their Yorkshire home.

Lily and Julia, who are twins, found it amazing Cecily would up and just go anywhere without their father Norman.  They are old homebodies who never do anything out of the ordinary.  When the sisters converge on Norman to ask about their mother he is rather deceptive, other than telling them Cecily is not ill so they needn’t worry.  The women have to wait it out to see what happens when their mother comes home the following week.

Supporting chararacters:

Felicity, the oldest, is married to a scoundrel and has a 4 year old son.  She has a high powered business career and has a very rigid view of life.  I guess if I were married to Richard I’d have an edgy personality as well.

Julia and Lily are twins with an unusual birth story.  Lily arrived weeks months early and had a rough start to life while Julia stayed put until her proper birth time.  Therefore, although they are twins and share that special mental connection and personality, they have different birthdates. Julia is a medical doctor and single. Lily is married to Marco and five sons.  She makes everything seem easy and has a lovely personality, quite the contrast to snappy and judgemental Felicity.

We find out why Cecily Nightingale took her mysterious trip about a quarter of the way into the book.  You can figure it out by then and you will see how it impacts all of the family once she returns.  I can’t say without giving spoilers so I’ll save that for Goodreads.

When I got to the end I felt a little let down until I thought about it for a bit.  It seemed abrupt, then I thought of the title.  The Last Piece.  Everything came together, even Norman’s jigsaw puzzle and a family issue.

There was a bit of foodie stuff mentioned such as fish and chips, Jamie Oliver meals, curry, roasted beef dineer and such sweets as black forest gateau and Fat Rascals.  I didn’t know what that was so I looked it up. A fat rascal is a type of cake, similar to a scone or rock cake in both taste and ingredients. It originated in Yorkshire at least as early as the 19th century.

Imogen Clark lives in Yorkshire and has three other novels published

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced complimentary copy. I was not compensated for this review and throughly enjoyed this book. Publication date is July 28, 2020. Genre is women’s fictions.

Imogen Clark lives in Yorkshire and has three other novels published.

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Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

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Margery Benson is introduced in this story as a ten year old girl, sitting in her father’s study and enjoying his company as he shares the book Incredible  Creatures. She is quite taken with the sketches of animals and in particular a Golden Beetle from New Caledonia.

Suddenly this pleasant moment is shattered when her father receives a visitor telling him all four of his sons have been killed in the war.  His grief and shock is so great that he immeditely goes outside and kills himself. This life shattering event forces Margery and her mother to leave their home and live with relatives.

We quickly jump to 1950 in London, Margery is an unmarried disheveled school teacher getting zero respect or joy in her job. After a particularly horrible day at school she sinks into depression and suddenly remembers a bright spot in her life; her former obsession with the golden beetle in New  Caledonia.

Margery decides to upend her sorry, boring life and take an adventure to look for the golden beetle. Some of that inspiration may come from wanting to connect to her much missed father, in my opinion.  She knows nothing about New Caledonia and advertises for an assistant who speaks French so she will have an interpreter.  After interviewing several people she ends up with an unlikely companion, Miss Enid Pretty.  This beuatiful blonde tells her, after they are well underway toward New Caledonia, that she does not in fact speak French.  She only knows “Bon Shoor” and off they go. Margery and Enid set off unprepared for an adventure of their lifetime.

These women couldn’t be more different in looks and personality but a true friendship develops as they move through the jungle, end up in crazy predicaments and their lives intertwine. I very much liked the end but the middle of the book dragged a bit, just for a while.

Much thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book. This book will be published November 24, 2020. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated for this review.

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The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves {Book #9 in the Vera Stanhope series}

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Ages ago I was introduced to Ann Cleeves’ series Shetland and I enjoyed the few books I read.  But this series about Vera Stanhope has completely captured my attention.  If you like British police procedurals and an uncoventional detective you are in for a treat.

The setting is Northumbria near the Cumbrian border in December, just before Christmas.

Detective Vera Stanhope is on her way home from work when she is caught in a blizzard. She ought to have waited until the storm passed but being a stubborn woman, set off anyway. After a wrong turn she comes upon a car pulled off, the door open and a toddler strapped in a car seat in the back. No sign of any adult.   Vera takes the little boy through the blizzard to shelter at a nearby estate.  This manor home is a known to her as it’s in the Stanhope family.  Her father Hector took her there when she was a child but she never developed relationships with this distant family as Hector was the black sheep of the clan.

After calling the station to get assistance and report a missing woman (Vera assumes it’s a woman and most likely the child’s mother), a body is discovered near the estate.  It is indeed the child’s mother and she was most definitely murdered. There are a number of possible suspects, any of which may have motive.  This one keeps you guessing and I certainly thought I had it figured out early.  Nope!  I was wrong.  What an ending!

I enjoyed this book very much. As it’s book number nine in the series and I’ve only read book one previously, I obviously missed some character development. There is a detective named Holly who seems to want Vera’s approval and I sensed reading she is either a new character to the series or I’ve missed important developments. No matter, it was a smooth read and I never felt like I ought to put it down and start at the beginning of the series.

Foodie Stuff

Wine and mince pies, tea and thin sandwiches, meringues, roasted pheasant cooked slowly in with red wine and shallots, vegetable casseroles for the veggies and vegans, roast potatoes, sprouts and parsnips.
Bread and soup
Eggs Benedict, avocado on sourdough toast

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I’m loving the series so plan to make it my goal for the remainder of the year to catch up. I’m on a Vera mission! Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced complimentary copy. I was not compensated for this review and throughly enjoyed this book.

Publication date is September 8, 2020. Genre is mystery and thriller.

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Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

5456994F-34B9-4AC3-AA0E-73C66C5DE6A4This book is labled as a psychyological/thriller drama involving a host of characters to which I only slighted warmed. Is it wrong to let a character name put you off? Let me just start with that – one of the main characters, or I should say a supporting character – named Roan Fours.  Maybe it’s just me but Roan Fours sounds like a game or an intersection.  He was not a likeable or sympathic character.

The main character is a 17 year old girl named Saffyre Maddox who went through some heavy trama early in her life. Roan Fours was the young woman’s child psychologist when she was 10 years old, helping her get over self harming herself.  Three years of sessions and he stopped therapy. We follow 17 year old Saffyre along as she sits outside the Fours household, watching the comings and goings of Roan, his needy haunted and suspicious wife Cate and their two children Georgia and Josh.

The abandoned lot Saffyre sets up camp is next to an apartment building where 34 year old virgin Owen Pick (yes, he is described this way in the book) lives with his aunt. He and Saffyre exchange greeeings some days but otherwise they do not intersect in each other’s worlds.  Owen is looked upon as the “creepy guy” at work and by the neighbors on the street.

There are random attacks on women in the area, grabbed from behind and groped, some raped.  Thankfully there isn’t vivid detail of the attacks, just suspicion thrown around.  During all this Saffyre suddenly disappears.  I she hiding or dead? You will wonder if it’s creepy Owen or the son Josh or the misogynistic Harrison John who makes his appearance near the end of the book.

This was my least favorite of any book authored by Lisa Jewell and I had difficulty connecting to anyone.  No empathy from me on any of them…ok, maybe Saffyre’s uncle Aaron but he does not get a big part in the book.

Some food mentioned throughout and of course the curry grabbed my attention.

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Much thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary ARC copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review.  Just because I wasn’t thrilled with this book does not mean I wouldn’t read more by Lisa Jewell. The Family Upstairs was good and I enjoyed The House We Grew Up In as well as I Found You but…this one wasn’t for me.

This book is scheduled for publication October 2020.

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Ghost Signs by Frank Mastropolo

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If you ever wondered about some old faded murals on buildings and the history behind them, this is a book that will interest you.

Ghost Signs is a  heaping helping of gorgeous old building signs and a history lesson about New York’s fledgling businesses.  It was interesting to read about Wall  Dog painters from the 1920 era when safety precautions took a backseat. I placed a link in for current painters called Wall Dogs.

There is a triangular marker embedded in the sidewalk to mark it as part of the Hess property estate.  In 1910 there was a five story building called the Voorhis, owned by David Hess. It was seized by the city as eminent domain to place a subway through the area.  During a review of surveys it was determined there was one triangular portion hat still belonged to the Hess Estate. This ,marker was placed to show it was never intended to for public purposes.

Did you know Gold Medal Flour was originally named Washburn Crosby’s Superlative Flour? In 1880 their first entry into an international millers’ competition won a gold medal.

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There are more stories to share but it’s fun reading, educational too, learning how immigrants started small businesses, some of which became international.

Publication date is November 28, 2019. non-Fiction and Travel genre.

Much thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

The Legacy of Mr. Jarvis by Jude Hayland

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It’s been rehashed in the book descriptor but I have to outline the plot.  A young girl named Mary Foster is unexpectantly uprooted from her childhood home in London and moved to to a seaside home far away.  She comes home one day and the movers are packing things up.  Her parents didn’t give her any warning.  Imagine that….I would be extremely upset to lose my friends and suburban life without warning, that is from the point of view of a twelve year old.

The perspective jumps to Mary as an adult, taking care of her aging father and her mother who now has Alzheimer’s. Things her mother remembers sparks Mary to research her past a bit.  It’s funny how some things we don’t understand as a child make perfect sense when you are an adult.

It’s a point of reference from the grown up experiences and how we remember something that suddenly fits like a puzzle.  The “Oh, that’s what that meant!” kinda thing.

Without spoilers I can say the end leaves you to make up your own mind how life proceeds for Mary. Two clear and distinct choices are presented by Mary, taking her life in the direction she chooses.  Which one did she pick?  Hmmmm….The author depicts a normal group of characters with everyday flaws and problems.  

Much thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review.  Would I read more by Jude Hayland?  Absolutely.

This book was published October 8, 2019.

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My Yorkshire Great and Small by Peter Wright

We begin with an introduction to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, a  big agricultural event that’s been ongoing for over 150 years. Mr. Wright mentioned Amanda Owen, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, who attended and was a guest speaker. I’m a fan of her books as well.

What attracted me to the book was the setting and author being a veterinarian in the Dales. Peter Wright was a Vet trainee with Alf Wight and Donald Sinclair (James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon) something I didn’t know until I started reading this book. He also has a television show! The Yorkshire Vet is a program I was unaware of until I read this book and yes, it seems I am living under a rock some days when I discover an old show.

The observations and comparisons to present day and what life was like decades ago was also very interesting to me. Fishing is a pastime our author and his brother enjoyed very much.  The observation that many of the today’s youth don’t have that opportunity as they are living in cities and are so used to iPhone, Xboxes and that electronic distractions.

I found the story about finding centuries old coins fascinating.  A pair of brothers were digging up a piece of their farmland, leveling it off when they discovered a broken ceramic jug and coins.  It’s a great story and fabulous discovery.  After these old treasures were dug up  they ended up in a museum.  This is after a court decision.  If I am ever visiting near York’s Castle Museum I will certainly want to view the display of coins and old papers.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. Publication date is January 17, 2020. If you enjoy reading about veterinarians, Yorkshire or loved the James Herriot stories you will like this book.

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