books read and reviewed Oct23
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Books read and reviewed October 2023

I’ve stopped reading as much this month which is unusual given it’s darker and colder weather. But I’ve been distracted by jigsaw puzzles, and trying to get back to my stepping again to get fitter. I’m still trying to get through as many books as possible to clear out my Kindle some more, and move onto my to read books.

Books read in October – 13

Here’s a selection of books I’ve read and reviewed in October.

books read and reviewed Oct23

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

On a break detective Elin and her boyfriend travel to a new minimalist hotel in the Alps for her estranged brother’s engagement celebrations to her childhood summer friend Laure. The hotel used to be a sanatorium and Elin’s unnerved by the building and its history. It doesn’t help when a storm brings avalanches and blocks them in.

While we’re in the present reading about disappearing people from the hotel, we also see the flashbacks to her younger brother’s death, and her concerns about older brother Isaac’s role in it. Why do people keep going missing, are they linked and where and how are they going?

Elin’s feels like it’s her role to step in, with her detective past, and while it bring her a sense of being back, and a better connection with her boyfriend, she’s also worried about the distance of the police from the guests cut off in the hotel.

I like the way the story goes between the individual dialogues from those going missing although we don’t find out the reasons until the end. The hotel seems quite creepy and it makes me wonder why anyone would actually want to stay in such a hotel with its past, even before we find out the truth.

There’s some discoveries found at the end alongside solving the crime which I hadn’t guessed.

Overall if you’re a fan of these type of tense, psychological detective novels that bring in the detective’s mental struggles then The Sanatorium could be a story to try.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Daisy’s Dilemma by Debbie Viggiano

Florist Daisy is newly engaged to Dominic a travelling salesman who’s away all the time. It’s been a whirlwind, but Daisy’s finally put her cheating ex-husband Harry behind her. Then gorgeous Seth moves in next door, and Daisy feels something totally different that she tries to push away.

With her best friend and employee Becky permanently searching for love; she’s there to help Daisy navigate through her confusion of still not having met Dominic’s mum and other weird happenings. What is actually best for Daisy and her relationship. And how can she stop being attracted to Seth.

Daisy eventually goes on a madcap spy mission and finally gets her answers.

This book made me laugh out loud a lot. But Daisy also frustrated me. Why her friend didn’t come out with her suspicions earlier, and how Daisy didn’t work out what was going on from the start, I don’t know. It was pretty obvious. But you’re rooting for things to go better for Daisy, and for her to get her happy ending.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Old Enough to Know Better by Jane Wenham-Jones

History repeats itself when Claire’s young daughter Ellie brings home a fiance who’s only 8 years younger than her mother (while Claire’s own husband is a lot older than her too). Not everyone seems happy with the relationship, with Ellie’s work colleague Anna warning her off marrying so much older than her. Anna’s facing her own uncertain future as she approaches 60 with an over 80 year old husband.

The book’s about relationships across generations, amongst family, and how they change through time. With Claire and Anna both questioning their choices of husbands although they both still love them, their heads are being turned by attention from younger men of nearer their age.

Then Claire’s son and daughter are both trying to make their own relationships work along with trying to make their ways in their jobs (or trying to get one).

I really enjoyed this book, with the intertwining of relationships at home and work, how the different people are viewing the relationships, both past and present. All the while hoping they all work out the way they should in the end. It’s worth a few hours of reading, and might make you think of your own relationship and those around you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Good as Dead by Susan Walter

Holly’s husband is killed in a hit and run while Holly received serioud injuries leaving her and teen daughter Savannah in an even worse position with money. Who’s the man who visits her in hospital to offer to help them out?

Morally they know they shouldn’t accept the money and help, but they see no alternative.

With a house, car and everything else they need, Holly and Savannah try to rebuild their life, meeting the neighbours who’re already starting to question their new neighbour’s life and living.

The story unravels from each person’s view, unravelling what actually happened. Will Holly be at peace once she knows the truth, and will anyone get caught for the crime?

A story not like one I’ve read before. I found this really interesting thinking about the moral side of things vs the practical. Wondering what I’d do in the same situation. And how a situation can change from accident to intent by the end.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In her Shadow by Mark Edwards

Jessica’s sister Isabel, died 5 years ago in what seemed like an accident. But when her 4 year old daughter Olivia starts talking about her aunt, things that she’d never known or been told about, Jessica wonders what the real story was about her death. How does Olivia know these things, why are Isabel’s things appearing and why’s her daughter’s behaviour going downhill.

If you like a bit of creepiness and ghostly goings on, this might be the book for you. Mark Edwards has written another good book, one that kept me hooked, and wondering what exactly went on. The answer was a surprise, but the journey to find out was an interesting one, and I’ll be looking out for more of his books to catch up on.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page

If you’re interested in what makes people tick, and stories (obviously), then you might enjoy The Keeper of Stories. I found it took a while to get going, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s quite a gentle book, nothing fast paced going on. It’s interesting to read the interrelationships, and how everything turns out right in the end, despite things not looking quite like that at the start.

There’s some fun characters in Mrs B and others, with the main character Janice quite downtrodden by her husband at the start. She does start to stand up for herself, in a reinvention of Janice’s own story.

I do tend to quite enjoy books within a book, and the way Janice collects people’s life stories, the one story that makes meaning of their life, plays into that niche too.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spring flowers and April Showers by Beth Rain

Emmy gets dumped then gives up her dated florist job that she can no longer stand, and it looks like she’ll have no money for rent. So she escapes off to stay in her Aunt’s cottage in cute Devon village Little Bamton to take time out and decide what she wants to do with her life.

Getting involved with the community, making friends, and discovering good looking handyman Jon who lives in the paddock behind while repairing and sorting out the cottage she’s living in. Will Emmy make her dream job happen with her new friends’ encouragement? Will the spark between her and Jon bring them together? Will Little Bamton make her want to stay and set up her life there.

I do like these cosy countryside romance chick lits. I was surprised at how short this book was, but it did feel finished without rushing the story. All the characters were nice in this book which makes a change. It’s just a nice book that’s got nothing offensive in.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When life gives you lemons by Fiona Gibson

Even though I’ve got to be hitting peri-menopause phase now or soon, I’m not that keen reading about it. Viv’s suffering from sweats and everything else, while her husband Andy has given up and had a fling with a ‘perfect’ woman of similar age. When Life Gives You Lemons is about Viv trying to get over that while trying to look after their 7 year old, avoid the awkwardness in sharing days out and holidays. But also trying to make more of a positive impact to stand out at work where her boss is bringing in lots of youngsters to avoid poor PR continuing.

When Viv gets a burst of inspiration about helping a local museum, and make memories for her friend Penny, she’s on a mission. Could there also be a potential romance in her future.

An ok book. Not one that excited me that much – I’m not sure I’m ready to read about characters who make me realise that I’m more like them heading towards menopause, than those in younger chick lit books.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Boyfriend by Michelle Frances

Amy wakes from an accident having lost her memory of the last 6 months. It seems she has a new boyfriend that none of her family or friends have met yet, but they’re all off to stay at her aunt’s house in the mountains.

Gradually Amy starts to get flashbacks. What went on with her and best friend Jenna? Why can’t she remember boyfriend Jack? Why’s she remembering differently to what she’s being told?

While she tried to work out what’s going on, her friends, family and Jack think the accident is making her paranoid.

Amy tries to get guidance from her beloved aunt, but discovers a tragedy happened in the 6 months she’s missed.

The book jumps between Amy’s life and poor put upon Harry who’s trying to better his life in the only ways he knows how. It takes a while before you can work out any links, but it’s interesting to read the 2 stories in parallel.

I quite enjoyed this book. It was fairly obvious some of what was happening, and you just want Amy to remember and everyone to believe her. Worth a read if you like a psychological thriller.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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