Now N’s at secondary school it means an earlier start to the day, dropping off at the bus stop for 7.30. It means I’ve got a whole hour (or hour and a half on some days) until I officially start work. I need to go to bed earlier, so I’m now trying to start work at my proper start time and not earlier. Which means more reading time. I’m meant to use it for exercise, but at the moment it’s reading time.

So here’s some of the books I’ve been reading this autumn. I’ve pretty much finished all the Virgin River books, and have now started on the Bridgerton series, but like to intersperse with other genres. You can find all my book I’ve read and reviewed on my Goodreads.

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I’m trying to work through my unread books before buying more for my Kindle. I’ve got way too many still unread.

Books read:

  • September 7
  • October 11
  • November 16

Schooled by Ted Fox

A book for all of those who’ve suffered during their school days, losing out to the ‘perfect’ person who seemed to win or get away with everything. Jack’s a stay at home dad after a disastrous day in the office, when Chat appears back in his life through his daughter’s school. Then comes the election for the chair of the parent board and the challenge to win begins.

There’s quite a bit of fun in this, revenge, conniving head, emotional relationship strains and more going on in Schooled. It’s an easy read with Jack being a likeable character with some loyal friends. If you’ve ever been involved with school politics as a parent or teen, this book is for you.

It’s not often I read books like this by men. It’s a hard one to place – comedy but with a touch of ‘chick’ lit relationship stuff. But it was worth a read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just the Way You Are by Beth Moran

Ollie tries to break free from her mum’s clinginess and moves out to start her life properly. With her dream list in hand, her best friend persuades her she doesn’t need a man to fulfil her dreams. As she grows in confidence she gets closer to her dream man Sam, as well as finding and supporting new friends Leanne and Joan to build their life up too.

A classic romance and finding yourself story, I enjoyed this book. Although it did make me frustrated that Ollie takes so long to realise how toxic her relationship with her mother was, and to get out. But she manages to break free and get what she deserves in life. Her freedom and a new man.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

My first time reading Clare Mackintosh and after reading Hostage, it won’t be the last book of hers I read.

Chillingly close to what potentially could happen in future with extremist environmentalists, and we know how religious hostage situations on planes can happen since 9/11. But throw in manipulation of flight staff, family troubles with a superbright adopted daughter with how the parents cope, and a husband who has his secrets, and you’ve got a great story you can’t stop reading.

It’s rare you read a book that doesn’t have the reader guess the truth before the end. But then there’s a further twist of attempted manipulator trying to see their goal to the end.

If you like fast moving thrillers with emotional relationship issues thrown in, then Hostage is for you. Will you want to get on a plane again after reading?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

books I've read Autumn 22

The Loyal Friend by AA Chaudhuri

This book jumps around quite a bit between the different characters, those brought together by a gym class run by Jade who’s liked by all. Or is she? From Natalie, the super anxious, OCD, routine obsessed girl who seems to be clinging to her friendship with Jade, and missing her wonderful brother who protected her through their tough childhood years. To Susan the middle aged bored ‘lady who lunches’ and spends her husband’s money as their relationship has never been good. And what secret is Grace hiding with her husband and their background with their boys they’ve lost a mystery until further in the book.

Then Jade goes missing, and Natalie tries to find the truth, uncovering everyone’s secrets, including her own terrible story.

This books is great, yuo get caught up in the characters, all flaws and more. The ending isn’t totally unexpected though.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One Fine Day by Teresa F Morgan

I loved this chick lit, and it was slightly different to most others being largely written from the man’s point of view.

On the up Hollywood actor Steve Mason takes time off to visit his sister, and gets her help in become ‘normal, blend into the background and try and meet a woman who’ll love him for who he is and not for his fame and money.

It’s fairly obviously from early on who he’ll end up with, but how long will he be able to keep his cover and evade the media.

I really enjoyed the book, the relationship between Steve and his younger sister was believable, and while it was obviously how things might go wrong, it made me want to keep reading and get the happy ending.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

With Dolly Parton teaming up with James Patterson, it’s obviously going to be a country music themed book. 

This is more about relationships, breaking into the big time music world, and letting past experiences shape you than a fast paced crime book I’d have expected from usual James Patterson books.  Yes, there’s the undercurrent of bad, and running from a past, but most of the book is focused on Annielee finding her music, being discovered, and choosing the right path and friends. In Nashville, we see her blossom into her talent, along with her relationship with the steady hero Ethan.

This is one book where I’d guessed part of the issue that Annielee is running from, but I didn’t get the final part. If you’re not into blood and gore in crime novels, this isn’t that although there are domestic violent issues. It’s about more than crime, and more about a person escaping and finding her perfect life.

A fast read, but an enjoyable one which isn’t just for crime book lovers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I Know You by Claire McGowan

A tense thriller that jumps back and forth between Rachel’s and Casey’s stories…with them being one and the same person.

What’s the truth about Rachel’s former life as a family’s nanny at the age of 19, when 3 of the family were murdered and she ended up on America’s Death Row for it. Now she’s insistent she’s being framed for another person’s murder back home in the UK and is trying to clear her name.

Who are the people she can trust, can she trust herself, and can she get back her freedom from bad things following her?

Parts of this story remind me of murders from the past in real life I’ve heard about, and it’s clever the way it weaves in the differences between the 2 countries’ justice systems, and the previous lives of characters in the plot.

Definitely worth a read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love Your Neighbour by Kat French

Classic chick lit plot. Girl meets boy, is annoyed with boy and gets riled up by him and the fact that his business of a funeral parlour moving in next door will ruin her business, a little wedding chapel. This is the story of their pull towards a relationship that anti love and marriage Marla fears, as well as the friendships, relationships and support of others in the village.

We all know how it’ll end, and I certainly quite fancied the charming Irish Gabriel. Throw in a couple of evil people trying to scupper their relationship progress, and you’ve got a lovely book I really enjoyed.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What you Did by Claire McGowan

Another great story from Claire McGowan. This brings together old university friends from different backgrounds, 25 years later in a reunion weekend, including their children and current anguishes over life and relationships.

But oneof them is attacked, but who did it. And how does it tie back to their old memories of days back at Oxford with a student who died.

Only one of the characters Bill is really someone you’re drawn to, there’s something unnerving or irritating about most of the others. However, their time at uni was only 2 years after mine, so it really made me relieved I didn’t go through horrific times like theirs during my uni years.

With sexual abuse, domestic assault, and digital sexual images and social media issues included in the plot, there’s a lot going on. But it’s fast paced, and there’s lots to unravel and try to guess before the truth is unravelled.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Credit: Pablo Nidam, via Scopie

The Perfect Holiday by TJ Emerson

Julian and Olivia are holidaying in luxury in Mallorca, taking time away from their philanthropic and charity work, bumping into Gabriel, a good looking, carefree younger man from Julian’s past. Julian’s past life caring for his first wife Helen who’d been severely disabled in a car accident came to the fore, while he is drawn into the deep intense relationship and hold that Gabriel has over him.

While Gabriel asks for more from Julian who’s pulled in that direction, then back to his wife. We see his jealousy as Gabriel meets the young rich Nina who threatens to take Gabriel away from Julian. Plans are put in place and we wonder whether Julian will go through with it and risk everything for his obsession with Gabriel.

There’s a twist at the end where not everything ends as Julian hopes.

As the story unfolds, you can almost feel you’re there in Mallora’s heat with them looking in. The irritations of marriage, of intruding guests, of looking forward but being pulled back into your past. I didn’t particularly take to any of the characters in the book, but I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What Next? by Shari Low

A middle aged romp as a group of friends from childhood head off to the US with one of their group who’s moving over there to finally live with her husband. They set off on a bucket list of their aunt and her late best friend, doing activities from famous movies.

We follow the fun and escapades, while they try to work out their romantic and life changes, including the menopause.

It’s an easy going read, and if you’re approaching the perimenopause, then it’s nice to read a chick lit book full of women in their 40s+ rather than in their 20s. It also made me feel really young in comparison.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Diddly Squat: Til the cows come home by Jeremy Clarkson

Ahead of the 2nd series of the Prime Jeremy’s farm series, Diddly Squat book 2 follows on from the second during the Covid years. It’s a real life take on farming life, struggles, planning obstructions, government policy and environmental views from Jeremy who is learning about farming and trying out lots of new schemes. Book 1 was more about ‘sheeps’ while this book has more of a focus on his new cattle.

The book is typical Jeremy Clarkson in language, contempt, and common sense that many others are also querying and stating. There’s some swearing so bear that in mind if you’ve got children reading, but it created a lot of laughs for us, a lot of nods, and sighs, and N loved seeing the illustrations.

Everyone who wants to know what farming is really like, should read both of Jeremy’s farm books.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Doctor Will See you Now by Dr Amir Khan

Authored by Dr Amir Khan, made famous by the tv show GPs behind Closed Doors, and then appearing presenting other tv shows. The book talks through the emotions of a GP at the front of care in an inner city surgery, including how the pandemic hit the medical and surgery staff, the relationships between a GP and long term care of his repeat patients.

It’s an easy read, although uncomfortable. If you didn’t realise what life was like in primary care before reading, you would know afterwards, helping explain why maybe you should rethink moaning about not getting appointments or struggling with other complaints about your local surgeries.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

I really enjoyed this book. Yes it was always going to be obvious. Cleo’s a writer sent to find herself on a remote Irish island after she’s about to hit 30 having had dating nightmares galore. She finds her holiday lodge double booked with Mack, an American who’s recently split from his wife and struggling to live away from his children and come to Salvation Island to photograph the place part of his family came from.

The plot’s about them both finding themselves and each other, while finding where they belong is this wild windswept off the beaten path community.

It might be obvious, but you can almost see the photographs that Mack is taking, and imagine how it would be on that island yourself.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Murder List by Jackie Kabler

Crime writer Mary receives a diary warning of 4 murders that are going to happen with hers the 4th. It’s a race working with the police to stop the murderer being successful with no leads. Are her work colleagues involved, or even her housemate. The suspicions go everywhere as the police struggle to solve the case as time marches on.

In the background we hear more about Mary’s increasing relationship with her long time best friend and housemate, her hard childhood which ended in the death of her father and friend. But what’s the secret she alludes to and will we find out before the killer does.

I had my guesses and was surprised that I didn’t quite work out the killer, and even missed guessing Mary’s backstory correctly.

The Murder List is an easy read, which skims over the blood and gore unlike many other books. It doesn’t seem as brutal as other similar books. More Inspector Morse style violence than gritty US authors like James Patterson or Val McDermid. It’s worth a read though.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Phone Call by AJ Campbell

Joey’s struggling to help out his mother, being the sole breadwinner with mounting debts and looking out for his siblings. He ends up being indebted to the dodgy uncle of Becca, the girl he fancies, getting dragged into the murkey world of drug deliveries while struggling with his conscience. His first delivery he ends in disaster for Becca, and potentially his life.

The rest of the book flits between his trying to keep the secrets, work out how to make the money he need, support his family and Becca while trying to extricate himself from her uncle’s clutches.

It’s quite a steady read, I got through it fast. You end up liking Joey and hoping he can fix the situation he’s in as he’s trying to do good for his family, and it also brings in mental health issues to the plot. One family with a lot of love, the other with a lot of conplexity,

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn

I’ve started and finished the 8 Bridgerton books in November. Having already seen 2 of the regency style novels on Netflix, I had to read them to get ahead of future series. Obviously the tv shows are slightly different to the books, but they’re close enough. The series follows each of the Bridgerton children in their search for love, a husband or wife, and their strong character and family relationships in a usually very formal and ‘correct’ way of living and behaving in that era. I really enjoyed the books. They’re a fast read, but the characters are so likable, they’re fun, romantic (sexy), and have happy endings.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What books have you been reading?

2 Comments

  1. I have read all of the Bridgerton book series too, and I really loved them! The other books you mentioned sound very intriguing.

    • It was a really good series. Now I’m thinking I need to look out for more regency themed series.

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