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Murder By The Minster By Helen Cox

Murder By The Minster‘Murder By The Minster’ is the latest book by Helen Cox.

It’s a perfectly normal day for Kitt Hartley at her job at the University of the Vale of York library, until Detective Inspector Halloran arrives at her desk to tell her that her best friend, Evie Bowes, is under suspicion of murder. Evie’s ex-boyfriend Owen has been found dead – with a fountain pen stabbed through his heart – and all the evidence points to her. Kitt knows there is no way Evie could murder anyone – let alone Owen, who she adored. Horrified that the police could have got it so wrong, Kitt decides there’s only one thing to do: she’s going to investigate Owen’s murder herself. She’s read hundreds of mystery novels – how hard can it be?
With the help of her assistant Grace, and the occasional hindrance of the library’s eccentric regulars, Kitt summons up all her investigative powers (absorbed over years of reading everything from Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin) and gets to work. She soon discovers that down the quaint streets and snickelways of York lie darker doings than she’d ever dreamed, but she needs to watch her step: the murderer is watching her. And they haven’t finished killing yet…

I spent my Sunday curled up with this book and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the final page. The first book in the new Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery series is a fantastic introduction to a new mystery series and one that I wholeheartedly hope there will be more books to come.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of librarian Kitt Hartley, who finds herself using her own investigative skills to solve a murder of her best friend’s Evie’s ex boyfriend. As Evie finds herself the prime suspect in the murder, Kitt is determined to solve the crime using her own wit and the skills she has learned from her love of Agatha Christie novels. But as Kitt delves deeper into the crime and the bodies pile up much to the disgruntlement of the Yorkshire police, particularly a handsome detective called Halloran.

I loved the characters in this book, particularly Kitt and her librarian assistant Grace as the pair piece together the evidence and clues they have gathered along the way. They are a comical duo who make for entertaining reading with their banter. Throughout the story, there are many suspicious characters that leave you wondering if they are the murderers.

Gripping from the first page, this cleverly written book is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Miss Marple. Set in a sleepy village with a pair of witty and cunning librarians at the centre of the drama, ‘Murder By The Minster’ is an exciting new series that is riddled with mystery and drama throughout.

You can buy ‘Murder By The Minster’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Flatshare By Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare‘The Flatshare’ is Beth O’Leary’s debut novel and it’s also Quercus books most anticipated debut of the year.

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window.

The story is seen through the narrative of Tiffy and Leon, who flat share, but have never met and communicate through post its to each other. Tiffy, is struggling for money and having come out of a toxic relationship needs somewhere to live urgently. So, when she sees the advert for an unconventional flat share, she jumps at it. Much to the dismay of her best friends. Leon needs someone to help pay the bills, whilst he works at night in a hospital as a palliative care nurse. Whilst he works at night, Tiffy has the house to herself and sleeps on the left side of the side. Then, when she’s at work, Leon sleeps on the right side of the bed.

As the months pass, they confide in each other and become close friends as they deal with problems in their lives and they find it easier to chat through the medium of notes instead of face to face, as they can be brutally honest with each other.

Like many others who’ve read ‘The Flatshare’, I adored this book. The plot is such a unique concept and the story is cleverly written. I loved both Tiffy and Leon, they were such interesting characters that complimented each other. Tiffy is outspoken, adventurous and with a vibrant wardrobe. Her confidence is low, from a bad relationship and as the story progresses, we see her blossom and grown in confidence, all down the post its that the quiet and gentle Leon leaves for her.

I read this book in a couple of sittings and found it difficult to put down. It’s deliciously written with warm and kind characters, that I fell in love with. With a stunningly pretty cover, and an unique premise, ‘The Flatshare’ is a captivating and funny story, of love, friendships and new beginnings.

You can pre-order The Flatshare from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th April 2019

Leave No Trace By Mindy Mejia

Leave No Trace‘Leave No Trace’ is the second book by Mindy Mejia and it’s just as dark and compulsive as her previous novel called ‘The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman’.

Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior. There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child. But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?

The book is primarily seen solely through the narrative of Maya Stark, a speech therapist at a psychiatric hospital who has been give a new patient called Lucas Blackthorn, a violent and non-responsive young man who came out from the woods one day, ten years after him and his father disappeared. He’s unresponsive and refuses to answer questions, so Maya is brought in to help him and two of them form an unlikely bond and kinship as they have more in common than neither of them realise. There are occasionally perspectives from Lucas and his father and these insight provide an interesting slant to the story.

Along with her patients, Maya is a troubled young soul who never got over her mothers disappearance and has regularly tackled her own demons and mental issues, she provides a relatable voice to her patients with her kind and gentle nature. Right, from the outset it’s obvious that she has had issues in life and those are revealed as the story progresses shocking not only the reader of the book but also supporting characters in the story. Even though Lucas, is also troubled it is hard not to feel empathy for the young man, after living in the woods for 10 years, he’s scared of the world and the new found celebrity status that is suddenly bestowed onto him as well as his concern for his father, the man he had to leave behind in the woods and that he so desperately wants to get back to.

Lucas and Maya trust each other, where people see volatility and unrest, there’s a quiet friendship brewing between the two as they begin to trust each other and find out they have more in common, than they could have ever imagined and when Lucas begs Maya to help him, she puts herself and her job at risk.

The book is a cleverly written tale that is vividly written and atmospheric from the very first page. Filled with drama and shocks throughout and underlined with tension that makes for a gripping ending. With relatable characters tackling real life issues, ‘Leave No Trace’ is a thrilling and occasionally gory story about mental illness and the major impacts that unanswered questions can have on our lives.

You can buy Leave No Trace from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Relight My Fire By Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire‘Relight My Fire’ is the latest book by Joanna Bolouri.

When Phoebe and Oliver had their happy ending, they thought the hard part was over. And now, with a five year old daughter, they are far from the blissful hedonistic lifestyle of when they first started dating. Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it. But with distractions aplenty, will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

I spent the weekend with my head in this funny and fresh tale. A frank and honest reflection on relationships, with hilarious situations and witty one-liners.

This is the third book that I’ve read by Joanna and this book sees the welcome return of Phoebe Henderson who appeared in one of her earlier books called ‘The List’. In this book, Phoebe is hurtling towards her 39th birthday and feels that her relationship with her boyfriend called Oliver is growing stale, so with the advice of her best friends, Lucy and Hazel, she enlists the help of a therapist called Pam, who helps them ignite their fires.

As they progress with their therapy, Phoebe and Oliver begin to discover things about themselves as well as their relationship.

Joanna is a fantastic writer, she writes wittily and from the heart. With a strong relatable leading woman who makes for delightful reading. Phoebe is my new best friend, she’s frank and straight to the point and with her best friends, they’d be perfect for a night out.

Fun from the very start, ‘Relight My Fire’ is a deliciously, naughty book, a story that had me snorting throughout, a must read for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane.

You can buy Relight My Fire from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Almost Love By Louise O’Neill

Almost Love‘Almost Love’ is the latest book by Irish author, Louise O’Neill.

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard. So it doesn’t matter that he’s twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she’s sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him. Sarah’s friends are worried. Her father can’t understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she’s on the verge of losing her job. But Sarah can’t help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew. And love is supposed to hurt. Isn’t it?

When it comes to books by Louise, you are guaranteed, an emotional rollercoaster of a story that will leave you exhausted at the end, so much so that I literally had to take a step back from the book and review my thoughts before typing them up

Her books delve into the dark worlds of toxic relationships, gas lighting and leading characters, that leave you feeling conflicted when you find yourself disliking them.

In ‘Almost Love’, we meet Sarah, a troubled young woman who has moved from one disastrous relationship to the next as she tries to put her life in order and sort out her head. The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen solely through the narrative of Sarah, as she reflects on her current relationship that is crumbling around her because of a previous relationship that she never got over.

Sarah meets Matthew, twenty years her senior she becomes infatuated with him and waits on his every beck and call. She craves for mere seconds of his attention and when he calls her, she drops everything for stolen moments in hotel rooms. She becomes obsessed with him, which causes trouble with friends and her father, who all want better for her. But for Sarah, Matthew is perfect for her, he introduces her to a world of arts and culture, a world that she longs to be part off. Now, in a new relationship with Oisin, a man her own age, she can’t seem to move on from Matthew and finds herself comparing the relationships and the men and takes all her inner turmoil out on Oisin.

This story is a dark and gritty read that really question relationships and where you stand in them. Sarah is a complex character and as much as I tried to, I couldn’t warm to her. She was horrible to all those close to her particularly her father, who she has a turbulent relationship with ever since the death of her mother. She’s quite self-absorbed and uses those around her, she belittles Oisin constantly and this can sometimes be unsettling reading as she battles her emotions around her.

This book is honest and that’s what makes it such an unique and compelling story, it doesn’t gloss on the fairy tale magic of relationships but focuses on the harsh reality of wanting to be loved and falling out of love, which also a sad and tender element to the tale. A frank and honest tale about love, self loathing, obsession and just how dark it can all become, ‘Almost Love’, is an agonisingly realistic story about the complexities of relationship and how sometimes in life, being you is never quite enough for someone to love you, this book is relatable to any person who has ever been in a relationship.

You can buy Almost Love from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.