Ruin Beach by Kate Rhodes



Everyone is a suspect. Nobody is safe.

The Blurb

When the body of professional diver Jude Trellon is found in Piper’s Hole, it seems that the young mother’s death was a tragic accident, but Kitto discovers that she was choked to death with a metal figurine, dating from Roman times. Kitto realizes that she could have been killed for failing to reveal the location of a Roman shipwreck called the Minerva, reputed to be loaded with ancient treasures. The killer is leaving cryptic messages in bottles, taunting the police for failing to track him down, and Kitto must risk his life in a terrifying hunt at sea before the case can be resolved.

My thoughts

I very much enjoyed Hell Bay last year so was delighted to see Ruin Beach appear on NetGalley in preparation for the paperback publication in February. Second books are supposedly difficult to keep to the standard of the first but with Ruin Beach Kate Rhodes has not only written a book as good as the first but, in my opinion, even better. This is an excellent story full of atmosphere, with a great sense of place and terrific characters.

DI Ben Kitto is fast establishing himself as a trusted detective back on his home Island of Bryher. Still he has yet to have his position confirmed his review is imminent. As he pays his uncle a visit a frantic islander turns up saying that there is something Ben needs to see at Piper’s Hole, locally considered a notoriously dangerous spot. Upon investigation a body is found, that of Jude Trellon, at first it appears that this is a tragic accident another islander had drowned there the previous year. However, it is soon established that Jude has been murdered. What follows is a terrific detective story as Ben tries to find the murderer, then a Police Officer is attacked and then there is a kidnapping. Will Ben solve the murder? Can he find the kidnap victim in time? Who has committed these heinous crimes? Is there more than one perpetrator? Are the crimes connected? We follow Ben’s investigation as he tries to figure out what is happening and why.

Ruin Beach will have you guessing until the final reveal, there are several suspects and Kate Rhodes cleverly leads you from one to another as the story of why these terrible crimes are being committed is finally revealed. The tension builds as you read and you are gripped by the story, the setting, the characters and the plot.

Kate Rhodes writes beautifully her prose vividly summon up The Scilly Isles and you find yourself thinking what a wonderful place they would be to visit. (The tourist board must be delighted as I’m sure that this is how all the readers of the Hell Bay Series feel.) She also has a wonderful way of drawing you into the plot and you will not want to put this book down until it is finished.

This was my last read of 2018 and I’m delighted that it was, it’s just the sort of book I enjoy and I think this may be my favourite book of the year. What a terrific book, I would highly recommend it to everyone.

I will be purchasing the paperback in February to go with my copy of Hell Bay, the first in the series, and eagerly await Burnt Island the third book of this excellent series.

With thanks to Simon and Schuster UK via NetGalley for an eCopy of Ruin Beach by Kate Rhodes. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of this book.


Publisher:           Simon and Schuster

Paperback:         21st Feb 2019   Pages: 416

Buy:                     Amazon Smile UK



Author: Kate Rhodes grew up in London, but now lives in Cambridge with her husband, the artist and writer Dave Pescod. Kate began her career as an English lecturer and still works part-time as an educational consultant. Before becoming a crime writer she produced two award-winning poetry collections. In 2015, Kate was awarded the Ruth Rendell Short Story prize.

Also by Kate Rhodes


Hell Bay; Ruin Beach; Burnt Island


Fatal Harmony; Blood Symmetry; River of Souls; The Winter Foundlings; A Killing of Angels; Crossbone’s Yard

Like to know more?


Kate Rhodes Website







ROAR By Cecelia Ahern

Thirty short stories from the Sunday Times bestselling author


Book blurb

Have you ever imagined a different life?
Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided?
Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?
From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

A Radio 2 Bookclub Choice.


My thoughts

This is the first book by Cecelia Ahern that I have read and it’s a very enjoyable collection of short stories about women who find themselves in one kind of predicament or another. They are poignant, witty, charming stories that many women will relate to and, indeed, many men.

An accomplished book from a well-known and accomplished writer it will make you smile, make you laugh and, yes, perhaps shed a tear. I found that reading it over a few days dipping into a story or two at a time was very enjoyable but I’m sure many will just sit and read from start to finish. Either way a book to relish.

The perfect book for those who enjoy reading short stories or can only snatch a few minutes here and there to read.

With thanks to HarperCollins UK via NetGalley for an eCopy of ROAR by Cecilia Ahern. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of this book.


Publisher: HarperCollins (1 Nov. 2018)

Hardcover: 352 pages       Language: English

ISBN-10: 0008283494        ISBN-13: 978-0008283490

Buy:                                      Waterstones         Amazon UK


DF38FC07-B0A9-449E-9CA6-6237B33E7C2ECecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-four million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.
She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You.
She lives in Dublin with her family.

Follow on Twitter: @Cecelia_Ahern


Author Web Site


Other books by the author

After completing a degree in Journalism and Media Communications, Cecelia wrote her first novel at 21 years old. Her debut novel, PS I Love You was published in January 2004, and was followed by Where Rainbows End (aka Love, Rosie) in November 2004. Both novels were adapted to films; PS I Love You starred Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, and Love, Rosie starred Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.

Cecelia has published a novel every year since then and to date has published 15 novels; If You Could See Me Now, A Place Called Here, Thanks for the Memories, The Gift, The Book of Tomorrow, The Time of My Life, One Hundred Names, How To Fall in Love, The Year I Met You, The Marble Collector, Flawed, Perfect and Lyrebird.

To date, Cecelia’s books have sold 25 million copies internationally, are published in over 40 countries, in 30 languages.

Along with writing novels, Cecelia has co-created the US ABC Comedy Samantha Who? and has created many other original TV projects.

Cecelia Ahern has written many books see them all at HarperCollins
Flawed / Perfect
The Gift

The Katrina Code – The Cold Case Quartet, Book #1 by Jørn Lier Horst; Translated by Anne Bruce




Book blurb

Katharina went missing twenty-four years ago.

Each year on the anniversary of her disappearance Chief Inspector William Wisting visits her husband, the man he could never help.

He re-reads her files, searching for the answer he could never find.

The code he could never solve.

Until now.

This year is going to be different.

Another woman is missing.

And so is Katharina’s husband.

Wisting has to find him, but is he rescuing a dear friend, or playing a deadly game?

Set between the icy streets and dark forests of Norway, The Katharina Code is a heart-stopping story of one man’s obsession with his coldest case. Atmospheric, gripping and suspenseful; this is Nordic Noir at its very best.

My thoughts

This book took about a quarter of the way through to really ramp up the tension and get into it’s stride. The first quarter is really setting the scene, the place and introducing the characters, in particular Wisting himself. Whilst this is the first book of four which has Wisting looking at cold cases it is not the first book with Wisting as the main character. For someone who had not read anything previously written by Jørn Lier Horst this was invaluable background which was both interesting and helpful. So be assured that this book can be read without having read any of the previous books. If you have read the others there is plenty of good reading in this portion of the book that you will not only need to read but will want to.

The story itself has Wisting looking ‘off the books’ at an old case of a woman, Katerina, who went missing over two decades ago and has never been found. It is quite a mystery to him and a note left behind at the time seems to be a code which has yet to be solved. Over the years he has remained in touch with Katerina’s husband, Martin, always visiting him on the anniversary of her disappearance. As he goes for his annual visit this year Martin seems to have disappeared.

Wisting – Chief Inspector William Wisting of the Larvik Police, Norway – is a terrific character we find that he is a widow and, recently, has become a grandfather. He has grown children, twins, Line and Thomas. Wistings family life is an integral part of the story which allows Horst to show how cases impact upon him personally and from which we can learn his character, how he conducts himself, what drives him and what type of detective he is.

As the story develops we learn that CCG Kripos, a national cold case department, has re-opened an old case that of Nadia Krogh a child who had been kidnapped in the late eighties. The lead detective on the reopened case is Adrian Stiller.

Wisting is teamed up with Stiller and he learns of new evidence that has come to light on the Kroger investigation. His daughter, Line, also gets involved as she is asked to return to work early from maternity leave as an investigative journalist.  As we follow Wisting, Stiller and Line the threads of the case are laid out and we learn what happened all those years ago.

As the story comes to a climax Wisting is placed in a pretty precarious position in order to gain important information.

This book is a really good read and I would certainly recommend it to all who enjoy a good detective story. Wisting is a terrific detective, realistically portrayed, the story is well plotted and nicely paced. It will be interesting to see the TV version when it arrives in the meantime there are a good few books that can be enjoyed.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for an eARC of The Katerina Code via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for this review.


Publisher: MICHAEL JOSEPH an imprint of MICHAEL JOSEPH UK| USA | Canada | Ireland | Australia India | New Zealand | South Africa Michael Joseph is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at


Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Penguin (13 Dec. 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1405938064

ISBN-13: 978-1405938068

Buy:         Waterstones    Amazon


Jørn Lier Horst is a prize-winning crime writer and former Senior Investigating Officer in the Norwegian police force. He made his literary debut as a crime writer in 2004 and is now considered one of the top Nordic crime writers. His William Wisting series has been extremely successful – it has sold more than 1 million copies in Norway alone, been translated into thirty languages, and is being adapted for television.


Visit Jørn Lier Horst Website                  Follow on Twitter @LierHorst

William Wisting Series

  1. Key Witness (Org. Nøkkelvitnet, 2004)
  2. Disappearance of Felicia (Org. Felicia forsvant, 2005)
  3. When the Sea Calms (Org. Når havet stilner, 2006)
  4. The Only One (Org. Den eneste ene, 2007)
  5. Nocturnal Man (Org. Nattmannen, 2009)
  6. Dregs (Org. Bunnfall, 2010) – translated into English by Anne Bruce, 2011
  7. Closed for Winter (Org. Vinterstengt, 2011) – translated into English 2013
  8. The Hunting Dogs (Org. Jakthundene, 2012) – translated into English 2014
  9. The Caveman (Org. Hulemannen, 2013) – translated into English 2015
  10. Ordeal (Org. Blindgang, 2015) – translated into English 2016
  11. When It Grows Dark (Org. Når Det Mørkner, 2016) – translated into English 2016 (A prequel to the series.)
  12. The Katharina Code (Org. Katharina-koden, 2017) – translated into English 2018 (Book #1 ‘The Cold Case Quartet’)


The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in 2011 for Closed for Winter
The Riverton Prize in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Glass Key award in 2013 for The Hunting Dogs
The Martin Beck Award in 2014 for The Hunting Dogs
The Petrona Award in 2016 for The Caveman

Other work

Together with award-winning illustrator and animator Hans Jørgen Sandnes, Horst has created the bestselling children’s book series Detective Agency No. 2 for ages 6-9. Set in the idyllic small town of Riverton, the Detective Agency No. 2 series follows the adventures of our main protagonists Tiril and Oliver – not to mention their dog Ocho! Together the two young detectives collect evidence, search for connections, and join the at times perilous hunt for criminals. Concluding each book is an afterword in which readers can put their own sleuthing skills to the test.

Jørn Lier Horst is also the author behind the highly praised CLUE series for children aged 9-12.


Anne Bruce has degrees in Norwegian and English from Glasgow University Nynorsk and Bokmål classic and modern texts, written and spoken Norwegian, as well as Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish. She has traveled extensively throughout Scandinavia on lecture and study visits, and undertaken translation and interpretation for visiting groups from Norway. She now lives on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.  She has translated Wencke Mühleisen’s I Should Have Lifted You Carefully Over, Jørn Lier Horst’s Dregs, and Anne Holt’s Blessed Are Those Who Thirst.

Follow Anne Bruce on Twitter

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Shortlisted: 2018 Costa Novel Award



Book blurb

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters. The Trojan War is known as a man’s story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead? In this historical novel, Pat Barker charts one woman’s journey through the chaos of the most famous war in history, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.

My thoughts

Having read a little of Greek mythology and history including some of Troy, Helen and so on I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read this fascinating book.

Written from the viewpoint of Briseis, former princess of the Trojan city of Lyrnessus, now Achilles’s prize, his slave. This take on the Trojan Wars brings home how the fate of women has so often hung on the whim of men. This is a fresh, new and exciting take on Homer’s Iliad.  Showing the effect of the Trojan war, indeed pretty much any war, on women and Briseis is a great voice to tell it. However, Pat Barker also gives account of how the war effects the men, how upbringing has shaped attitudes and how accepting of killing, of battle, of war and all it’s consequences men are and, if only for appearances sake, women have to be. Or do they? Should women remain silent? Should they accept their fate? Or can they be outspoken? Should they be willing to loose their own identity, their own traditions, customs and history? It is so very difficult to rail against a mighty foe. Briseis sees how very difficult it is to do any of this, indeed to even be seen as a person rather than a possession.

As we see how the War plays out we find out the fate of Troy, of Briseis, of Achilles, of the  women whose silence has been shattered in this very timely, wonderfully brought to life story.

This is a wonderful retelling, reimagining of that piece of history and one that will long live in the memory of the reader.

With thanks to Penguin Books UK, Hamish Hamilton via NetGalley for an eARC of The Silence of the Girls. This review is purely my own thoughts and, for which, I have received no payment.




Publisher: Hamish Hamilton  (30 Aug. 2018)

Hardcover: 336 pages   Language: English

ISBN-10: 0241338077    ISBN-13: 978-0241338070

Penguin Random House

Sep 04, 2018 | 304 Pages

Buy:             The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

AmazonUK       Waterstones       AmazonUS


AF542681-BEBF-4057-A2F8-65096CF7215CPat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she’s published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK’s highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. She lives in Durham.

Pat Barker|British Council


Books by Pat Barker


2018: The Silence of the Girls
2015: Noonday
2012: Toby’s Room
2007: Life Class
2003: Double Vision
2001: Border Crossing
1998: Another World
1995: The Ghost Road
1993: The Eye in the Door
1991: Regeneration
1989: The Man Who Wasn’t There
1986: The Century’s Daughter
1984: Blow Your House Down
1982: Union Street


2000: CBE
1996: Booksellers’ Association Author of the Year Award
1995: Booker Prize for Fiction
1994: Northern Electric Special Arts Prize
1993: Guardian Fiction Prize
1983: Fawcett Society Book Prize


The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The New Hercule Poirot Mystery


Book blurb

Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy.

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

My thoughts

This is the third book by Sophie Hannah that brings Agatha Christie’s Belgian Private Detective Hercule Poirot back, giving the reader a new mystery to enjoy.

As I considered what to write I have a small (!) confession to make. Ah, you say, already the influence of Hercule Poirot is at work. What might I have to feel guilty about? Surely such an upright citizen (?) could not have any, what do you say, mmmm….. skeletons in the closet? But, my friends, I must tell you this – I have never read any Poirot books well not until now. So, there you have it, shocking I know. However, there is more? oh dear! Perhaps worse still is that I have something of a preference for, she will remain nameless in this post, the other Agatha Christie amateur detective.

You may find all this somewhat beyond the pale. How could I dare to thrust my opinions upon you with so little familiarity with M. Poirot? I will not use my watching of him on the little or big screen in my favour just to say we must all begin somewhere and this is where I have begun my foray into the world of Hercule Poirot.

Well now, the book. The opportunity to read a Poirot mystery not by Agatha Christie appealed to me even though I had not read the previous two books by Sophie Hannah. Starting here is not an issue for the stories stand alone. Of course, as with any series, the style and characterisations grow stronger, more confident and rounded with each book. This being the third such book it is not surprising then to feel that Sophie Hannah is presenting an accomplished and quintessential piece of writing. It is unique and yet evocative of the great lady herself, a masterly piece of writing.

The mystery is thoroughly enjoyable, well thought out and will keep you guessing. I rather liked Hercule Poirot a character I had never really warmed to in my (non-reading) Poirot experience. The Mystery of Three Quarters is mainly written from the point of view of Police Detective Inspector Edward Catchpool who is a new character introduced by Sophie Hannah. As is Fee Spring, a wonderful character, who brings a down to earth element to the book and gives one outlet for the humour than can be found throughout the story.

The Mystery of Three Quarters is a terrific read, thoroughly enjoyable, well written and well worth reading. I can see that, like me, if you haven’t read Agatha Christie’s Poirot that these books from Sophie Hannah will open up a wonderful world of new stories from both authors and for those who are already fans of Agatha Christie’s Poirot surely these books will be a great pleasure to read and an opportunity to expand their collection of Poirot mysteries.

With thanks to HarperCollins via NetGalley for an eARC copy of The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. This review is purely my own thoughts and, for which, I have received no payment.


Pages:         401   (Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0008264457)

Publisher:  HarperCollins (23 Aug. 2018)   (Paperback:  4 Apr 2019)

Language:  English


Buy:             Waterstones       Amazon


E86ADA2C-7F97-4C52-85EA-14727F2FB983SOPHIE HANNAH is an internationally bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in more than 35 languages. Her novel The Carrier won Crime Thriller of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, and as a poet has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Sophie has written two previous Hercule Poirot novels, The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, both of which were top five Sunday Times bestsellers.

Sophie Hannah:   Website       Twitter


The Hercule Poirot Series from Sophie Hannah
Also by Sophie Hannah

Little Face   Hurting Distance   The Point of Rescue   The Other Half Lives   A Room Swept White   Lasting Damage    Kind of Cruel     The Carrier       The Orphan Choir      The Telling Error    Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen        A Game for All the Family  The Narrow Bed   Did You See Melody?



2F6698C5-2EDB-486B-9501-1F8CB27C93ACAGATHA CHRISTIE is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, more than 20 plays, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott.

Agatha Christie:     Website         Agatha Christie Ltd.           Twitter

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay

The Skylarks’ War marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and is a classic in the making.


An evocative and heartbreaking novel of family and friendship in wartime from Hilary McKay, award-winning author of the Casson Family Chronicles.


Book blurb

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?


My thoughts

This is the story of Clarissa ‘Clarry’ Penrose and her brother Peter along with their cousin Rupert and friends Simon, his sister Vanessa and Violet. It starts in 1902 and finishes sometime after 1918.

This is a wonderful story it depicts life in the early 20th century for Clarry and Co. in language that brings an understanding of the times so clearly and without fuss. It will make you laugh, cry and it will carry you along with the delightful and the dreadful stories of childhood and youth. Clarry is wonderful and Hilary McKay has used her voice beautifully to bring her family, friends and the period vividly to life.

An outstanding book, exquisitely written which will engage the reader and draw them into the lives, the life and the times keeping them engrossed until the very end.

This book may be for 9-11 year olds but it is a book that anyone who reads will be captivated by. It is timely to be published on the 100th anniversary of WWI ending but this is not solely a wartime story and so can be read at any time and, surely, it will be read often and by many over the years. Of course, it can and should be used as a vehicle in the study of the Great War and young peoples, especially girls, lives at the time in schools, libraries and homes. This is a book worthy of any and every bookshelf everywhere, deserved of all the praise and plaudits it has and should receive. I liked it and would highly recommend to all.

I received an e-copy off The Skylarks’ War from the publisher via NetGalley – for which, my thanks. I have not received any payment and all thoughts are my own.




Publisher:        Pan MacMillan Children’s Books

Age Range:      9 – 11 years

Published:       Main Market edition (20 Sept. 2018)

Hardcover:     320 pages             Language: English

ISBN-10: 1509894942                  ISBN-13: 978-1509894949

Buy:               Amazon UK


4F37C9B3-6963-4348-AFAB-8BC7DD338849Hilary McKay is a critically acclaimed award-winning author, having won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Exiles, and going on to win the Smarties and the Whitbread (now the Costa) Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy’s Angel. Hilary studied Botany and Zoology at the University of St Andrews and went on to work as a biochemist, before the draw of the pen became too strong and she decided to become a full-time writer. Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children’s Books and is a critically acclaimed classic-in-the-making, whilst her novel The Skylarks’ War is a classic in the making. Hilary lives in Derbyshire with her family.

Hilary McKay Website