The Thirty-Nine Steps By John Buchan Review!

Thursday Quotables - The 39 Steps - The Old Shelter



The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) by John Buchan is a wonderful suspense/adventure story. There has been a few film adaptations of this novel in 1935, 1959 and 1978. I haven’t seen any of the film versions but my Mum and sister seen the 1935 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock and loved it. I’m watching that version later on tonight.

The book is told from the point of view of Richard Hannay. He has recently came back to London after being in Rhodesia. Then enter Franklin P. Scudder, a spy, who has inside information about a plot to murder the Greek Premier Constantine Karolides and to disrupt Europe. Scudder informs Hannay that he has made out he is dead and how he is on a mission to find German spies the Black Stone. Hannay lets Scudder hide out in his flat but soon Scudder is killed and Hannay becomes suspect number one. He goes on the run and begins investigating what he has heard from Scudder. He ends up on the run in his native Scotland. In Galloway. What lies ahead is a fight for survival that is engrossing all the way through.

I very much enjoyed the book. It is written very well and the character of Hannay is an interesting narrator. There is parts like the milkman agreeing to give his outfit to him without asking too many questions which doesn’t seem totally plausible but I let those things go and went with the flow. Because little things like that aside, this is amazing. The plot is very straightforward but was quite new at the time of Buchan writing this book. I felt bad for Hannay with everything he was going through because after all, his meeting with Scudder was really quite by chance and then his whole life was turned momentarily upside down. But also there is a certain adventure side to the whole thing too. He is meeting all these people, seeing all these places in Galloway and experiencing so much life: good, bad, in-between and indifferent. And from the safety of your own home, you get to go on this adventure with him without fearing being bombed or the like. The mystery in this story is excellent, well thought through, great twists and turns.


An amazing read.


To read your free copy of The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan go to:


And for more about John Buchan and his work go to:





Warm Bodies By Isaac Marion Review!

Warm Bodies (The Warm Bodies Series) by [Isaac Marion]


Warm Bodies (2010) by Isaac Marion is the first in the author’s Warm Bodies series.

Many people might know this story from the 2013 film of the same name which I haven’t seen but would like to. This book began from a short story called I Am a Zombie Filled with Love which gives you a slight idea from the title of possibly what a lot of the message of the full-length book is.

We meet the protagonist R who is a zombie and is not sure when he died or what his name in life was previously. All the days since his death have been long and monotonous. He is married and is a father with a female zombie who also has a male lover and is very open about it. Oh, and he is killing people to survive on the regular. But then things change when he meets Julie who is a non-zombie and finds himself unable to kill her but he does kill her boyfriend Perry and share his brains with his friend M. He brings her to his world and doesn’t tell her that he was the one to murder Perry. Gradually he and Julie become friends before eventually falling for each other.

But they have some obstacles along the way to happy-ever-after together like R’s secret, the Boneys attacking them, Perry being constantly in R’s mind after he ate his brains, Julie’s and Julie’s friend Nora’s everyday flippant prejudice of zombies and Julie’s father’s dispproval of their relationship because R is a Zombie. He is a hard man to please even without him being as he didn’t originally take to Perry either. 

The book has many elements to it. There is elements of romance, horror and drama. But the biggest part is the very strong messages coming through of identity, what it means to be human, prejudice and people coming together and understanding each other despite their differences and the idea that the power to change is within us all if we want to change badly enough. There is also the message of remaining yourself through Perry’s story. He changed to fit Julie’s father’s ideal image of him and he was never happy again after that.  

Great storytelling. 


To purchase Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion go to:


And for more about Isaac Marion and his work go to:


Maura’s Game By Martina Cole Review!

Maura's Game (Maura Ryan, #2) by Martina Cole


Maura’s Game (2002) by Martina Cole is the follow-up to her novel Dangerous Lady.

Both books follow the story of the protagonist, the notorious gangster Maura Ryan. I haven’t read the first book but in this book, we meet Maura at a stage in her life where she has left behind her past in crime and has settled down with her boyfriend Terry. But she’s not going to remain in loved-up bliss for long. Foes from Maura’s past life come back to haunt her when they murder Terry and soon Maura finds herself back in the crime business with the Ryan family especially her brothers. The author manages to give us enough background from the previous book to ensure that this can be read as a standalone. We realise that Maura had once been pregnant with Terry’s child but fearing what the neighbours would think, her mother forced her to have an unsafe abortion which left her unable to give birth again.

I can’t say that I like Maura. Some of the things she does in this book are downright awful. But Cole did manage to write a very complex character in her because there is moments where you sort of do feel like you could like her if she wasn’t so involved in organizing murders. She has a gentle and generous side. She did look after her niece Carla and her nephew Joey very well and always stands up against Carla and her mother when they get homophobic about Joey. But then I remember who she is and the bigger picture and I can’t like her but I can certainly see her good qualities. It was quite difficult to find a member of the family to like in fairness and yet you still wanted to know what happened them even if you weren’t terribly worried what did. I did like Joey’s personality for a bit because he seemed fun and away from the vicious criminal underworld but then he showed his true colours more near the end and family friend Abdul seemed nice until he also showed his true colours. My favourite character was Sheila who was married to Maura’s brother Lee. She really just wanted to keep her children safe and didn’t want Lee or by consequence their children and her mixed up in it and I one million per cent agreed with her. She had a great personality. On one side she had a softer, kinder side but she was strong and tough when she needed to be and Lee certainly hadn’t married a doormat. I found her cool.

This book deals with a lot of issues from Cole’s signature style of tackling family dynamics in the criminal underworld as well as homophobia, racism and sexism. Her books are heavy and draining but also very realistic of life and that is always a breath of fresh air. She writes very honestly and that can be really scary to do. I love the way she tackles topics and issues head on. Also the dialogue is so spot-on and the characters are very developed.




To purchase Maura’s Game by Martina Cole go to:


And for more information about Martina Cole and her work go to:

The Solitaire Mystery By Jostein Gaarder Review!

Image result for the solitaire mystery


The Solitaire Mystery (1990, published in English in 1996) by Jostein Gaarder is a wonderfully crafted fantasy novel.


Written by the best-selling author of Sophie’s World and winner of the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature in 1990, this book follows two stories which may or may not be linked in some way. The first story within a story is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy Hans-Thomas. He and his father are on the road trying to find Hans-Thomas’ mother who left many years before. Hans-Thomas meets a man at a petrol station who gives him a magnifying glass and tells him that “You’ll need it!”. As the journey progresses, Hans-Thomas meets a baker at a cafe where he and his father stop off to eat. The baker gives Hans-Thomas a sticky bun to eat on the journey. Inside the bun Hans-Thomas finds a small book with writing that is difficult to read so he uses the magnifying glass to make it out. After this the story moves between Hans-Thomas’ story with his father and the story which the sticky bun book tells as Hans-Thomas reads it. The sticky bun book tells a tale of an old baker who had a grandfather who gave him a liquid to try called Rainbow Fizz, a drink he found out about when he was shipwrecked in his younger years. On the island where he was shipwrecked there lived an elderly sailor Frode and 53 more people whose names were the 52 playing cards and the joker. As the story unfolds, the connections between Hans-Thomas’ life and the story in the sticky bun book begin to merge more and more together. The mystery element to the story is very cool.

It is a fascinating book which has much in it about family dynamics and the search for something meaningful in your life. There is also great and authentic dialogue in this book and it’s wonderfully philosophical in many parts. Though this book’s target audience is YA, it is a book that people of any age will enjoy. There is some beautifully put together writing in it, at times poetic but always accessible. It is a wonderful book which crosses many genres from fantasy to drama to mystery and does so in a very cohesive fashion. The book is translated brilliantly too from Norwegian to English by Sarah Jane Hails.


A brilliant book.


To purchase The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder go to:


And for more about Jostein Gaarder and his work go to:



Bones Never Lie By Kathy Reichs Review!

Bones Never Lie : Kathy Reichs : 9780099558071


Bones Never Lie (2014) by Kathy Reichs is the seventeeth book in the author’s Temperance Brennan series and a very engrossing read.

The plot follows Dr. Temperance Brennan as she investigates the cold and newer cases of young girls who have been killed and kidnapped. The cases bring her back into battle with a woman called Anique Pomerleau who was involved in the murders and kidnaps but who Brennan has never caught and subsequently never got justice for the victims or some form of closure for their families. This understandably haunts Brennan. She is tasked with enlisting former police detective and former lover Andrew Ryan but he is reluctant to return while he recovers from grief over his daughter’s death. 

This book is incredibly well-written. It has a plot which keeps you reading and it plays into stereotypes and tosses them on their head. Brennan is a great character and her cat is a dote. The research is also amazing. A lot of research and experience has went into so much of this book and it shows. Very accurate. My favourite character in the book is her mother. She suffers from mental illness and I love the way Reichs writes her character. She doesn’t write her in a stereotypical sense of a person with mental illness. She writes her as a fun-loving woman with so much personality and an internet savvy way. I loved reading all the parts she was in and I loved her relationship with her daughter. The reveal was great and it leaves a lot of questions which is always a good way to end a book. Why did they do it? How could they do it? And while many questions are answered, many are still left which is often true of life and makes for an intriguing as well as infuriating ending. 

This book is refreshing and it raises a lot of issues in a very seamless way. It is simply great writing.

Excellent read.


To purchase Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs go to:


And to learn more about Kathy Reichs and her work go to:

Kiss The Girls By James Patterson Review!

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson | Thrillers at The Works


Kiss The Girls (1995) by James Patterson is the second book in the author’s Alex Cross series following on from Along Came A Spider.


In the book, Cross’ niece Naomi has been kidnapped by two violent serial killers who have abducted many other young women. Cross begins to solve the mystery in order to save Naomi and the other women. In the process he begins to realize that the killers known by the names Casanova and the Gentleman Caller are picking women they see as exceptional and special. A college murder of a heterosexual/heteroromantic couple from many years ago provides some clues and a similar incident where the man is killed and the woman kidnapped present a possible link to Cross to research who the people are behind all the evil happening. In the course of the book, Cross meets one of the victims of these two men Kate McTiernan, a medical student, who has escaped from the house the women are been kept hostage in and the two begin to feel romantic and sexual feelings for each other. Along with the other women, he now has two major reasons in Naomi and Kate to track down these two killers.

I love the way Patterson has written the women who are abducted in this book. They aren’t written as damsels but neither are they written without fear. They feel very real and human and easy to relate to even though their circumstances in this book wouldn’t be easy for everyone to relate to. It never feels like Patterson is maintaining that big strong man Alex Cross is going to come in and save these helpless souls like the troupe so many books use. It feels more like they in part save themselves and then Alex comes in and saves them too because help is always great when you’re in danger. So I really liked the dynamic in the way Patterson wrote that.

It is like all Patterson books I’ve read, a page-turner. You are intrigued to know what is going to happen in each chapter and the reaveal of Casanova wasn’t obvious. Let’s put it this way, I was going in the right direction but the wrong person. We don’t have much suspense with the Gentleman Caller as his identity is revealed midway through the book but it was interesting trying to figure out who he was working with.

A wonderful read.


To purchase Kiss The Girls by James Patterson go to:

And for more on James Patterson and his work go to:

The Family By Martina Cole Review!

The Family


The Family (2010) by Martina Cole is a really outstanding read which is so realistic of life.


This is only the second book I have read by this author and already I am a huge fan and want to read more. Her writing is amazing and I am intrigued by what her other work has to offer.

This particular outing, which was Cole’s 17th novel, is set in Southend in England and tells the story of the Murphy family. Christine marries Phillip Murphy and finds herself in a dangerous situation which goes on for many years. The Murphys are involved in everything including murder and all manner of gangland activities. In Cole’s signature style of gritty, honest crime fiction, she gives us fantastic background on each of the characters and what makes them all tick. Phillip is an evil nutjob who is obsessed with public image and everyone is in danger if they do not obey him. Cole manages to really bring the reader into this very claustrophic world everyone is living in.

I particularly liked Christine and Breda. These two women are very different but both incredibly strong women in their own ways and though the two go on a bit of a journey to find a respect for each others’ approaches, they eventually do and form a friendship. Watching their relationship was fascinating and nice among all the choas in the book. Phillip’s mother has always backed Phillip which has not been helpful to his behavior or especially to anyone else and their mental wellbeing. His father has not been much help as he takes little interest in sorting things either. In their own way, everyone is afraid of Phillip and it is easy to see why.

Cole tackled many issues in this book from murder and gangland situations to gaslighting. She writes of the gaslighting Christine has faced throughout all her life. First from her mother and then from her husband. Breda also faces a lot of gaslighting throughout her life from her family. As someone who has faced gaslighting, I admired Cole’s truthful way of telling the mental abuse they faced and for talking about and hightlighting an issue that is not hightlighted enough in fiction.

This is an incredible write. It is hard-hitting and draining and superb. I can’t praise this book highly enough. The background information really helps the plot run along with ease and creates a tension that is needed in a book like this.

The book also has a very interesting interview with the author.

Absolutely amazing job. A must read.


To purchase The Family by Martina Cole go to:


And for more information about Martina Cole and her work go to:


Where Are You Now? By Mary Higgins Clark Review!

9781847392220: Where are You Now - AbeBooks - Mary Higgins Clark ...


Where Are You Now? (2008) by Mary Higgins Clark is an enthralling read which holds your interest throughout.

The plot follows 26-year-old law graduate Carolyn MacKenzie whose older brother Mack went missing ten years previously. However, each year she and her mother receive a message on Mother’s Day from Mack. In the decade since Mack has mysteriously disappeared, seemingly out of nowhere, Carolyn’s and Mack’s father has passed away in the 9/11 attacks. Following a possible sighting of her brother and a note left by Mack warning Carolyn to stay away, Carolyn is on a mission to find out what really happened once and for all and to try to put some closure on the torment and pain she has felt since he has been gone. Her mission brings her into much danger from those who don’t want her poking her nose into the past and finding out secrets related to Mack’s disappearance and for their own reasons separate from it. While Carolyn begins her investigations, a young woman Leesey Andrews goes missing and it soon becomes apparent that the two cases are connected in one way or another.

I really like Carolyn as a character. I think her passion and strength drives a lot of this book forward and you find yourself rooting for her to complete her mission and find some peace. The plot is incredibly engrossing and flows with a gorgeously interesting ease from page to page. The cast of suspects is wide and we learn so much about each of them as well as the family and those missing. My only downside to this book is that I could partly work out from the page I met one of those involved that they were involved. Not meaning to give too much away but there is one than one person involved. I got one part of it and I felt it was very obvious. That was a shame because otherwise this book is splendid but sadly the killer cannot be obvious and one part of this reveal was from very early on. However that aside, I found this a very enjoyable read. I loved the main character which really made the book very character-driven in a way which I absolutely love. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and hearing more about these characters’ lives and what they were hiding.

A really entertaining page-turner filled with love of family and great descriptions and plot.


To purchase Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark go to:


And for more on Mary Higgins Clark and her work:

The Testament By John Grisham Review!

The Testament - John Grisham - The Bookmanship


The Testament (1999) by John Grisham is another outstanding read by the author.

The story follows a well-used plot of a rich man Troy Phelan dying and the legal wrangles and drama that follow with his will when family members and employees don’t get what they feel they are due. But it is Grisham’s richly fleshed out writing which really makes this plot fresh, new and very interesting. The book which is a long enough read becomes a real page turner which each chapter as we get to know all the players involved in the game of greed for money. Grisham also brings many topics and issues into the plot, weaving them very seamlessly in, like mental health, suicide, alcoholism, viruses and religion. This book becomes more than a book about a rich man’s will and becomes a book about life and the realities of it. We see the greed of the family and employees but also the greed of the lawyers and psychiatrists as the book unfolds. Everyone seems out to gain something by any means.

The book then shows the other side of this when Nate O’Riley is sent to Brazil to find Rachel Lane or Rachel Porter as she is now known. Rachel is a missionary who is Troy’s illegitimate daughter and he has left his eleven billion dollars solely to her. But when Nate meets Rachel, he soon realizes that she is content in her way of life in Brazil where she is a missionary and doctor and lives a quiet life of prayer. She doesn’t wish to have the money or change her way of life. She has an impact on Nate in more ways than one and a romantic emotion simmers between them but never goes any further. But she helps him find a peace through religion that he hasn’t found in his life so far and it stays with him.

I very much enjoyed the book. I just love how Grisham gets to the heart of why each character is the way they are, writes so crisply and to the point and always delves into issues with his writing. The part about the cow was heartbreaking though and has ensured that I remember Vaca is Portuguese for cow! The ending is also heartbreaking but very touching too.

All round a great read.

To purchase The Testament By John Grisham go to:


And for more about John Grisham and his work go to:


Poem: Perfect

Free Alive Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...


I don’t have to be your definition of perfect

and that is so liberating.

I don’t have to shut my mouth for your comfort

and that’s something I didn’t see before.

I don’t have to be a bigger person

because I already don’t think I am.

I decided not to be your version of mature and sophisticated

because you said that is what it was,

I got tired of being gaslighted

even though I didn’t realise that was what it was.

I began to come alive,

away from the doubts and I won’t let that go.

I am a human,

maybe you should remember that.

I have chosen to be happy

and I ain’t going back.