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Sunday, 11 October 2020

The Good Thieves | Book Review

 I was sent my copy of The Good Thieves as part of my participation of a read along with Tandem Collective. All views and opinions are honest and my own.

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of New York City. And nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Friday, 21 August 2020

A Dangerous Goodbye - Fliss Chester | Book Review


Thank you to Net Galley and Bookouture for the advanced reader copy of A Dangerous Goodbye by Fliss Chester for review.

1944. While war rages in Europe, Fenella Churche is doing her bit in the green fields of England. But when she finds a letter addressed to her on the scrubbed farmhouse table, she knows the news won't be good. She hasn't heard from her fiancé Arthur since he was posted to France on a dangerous undercover mission, and from his very first words she knows he may not be coming back. I fear this may be my last letter to you, my darling, Arthur writes. Fen won't give up hope and calls the war office, wanting to know if Arthur is still alive; they refuse to tell her anything. Searching for answers, she returns to his letter, but parts of it just don't make sense. Through her tears, Fen realises that her darling Arthur is giving her all the clues she needs to find out what happened to him.
1945. With the war behind them and nothing left for her in England, Fen travels to the deceptively pretty French village where she thinks Arthur might be, but there's no sign of him. She's close to giving up when she finds his silver cigarette case and another letter full of clues. But when the local priest is killed, it's clear someone wants to keep wartime secrets buried. If Arthur, a brilliant spy, was outwitted and betrayed, can Fen stay alive long enough to find out what happened to the man she loves?

I've been a fan of historical fiction for many years, having read many novels set during World War Two and completed my dissertation on some of Philippa Gregory's novels, so when I saw the blurb for A Dangerous Goodbye, my interest was instantly piqued. Although being set in a time period that I am familiar with, the premise of this novel was slightly different, being a mystery that needs solving. I really felt for the main character Fen; she has been left in the dark as to what has happened to her fiancé Arthur, with just a few clues to go off. Their relationship was greatly influenced by their love of doing crossword puzzles and they'd even create clues for each other to solve. This plays quite a big part at the beginning of the novel, as Arthur's clues to Fen were written in a crossword style. Fen follows the clues to a small village in France, which is struggling post-war, celebrating liberation but second guessing those who may have collaborated with the enemy. She joins an interesting group at a vineyard, which has some ties to Arthur and his fate. Slowly she starts discovering small clues which tell her that she's looking in the right place, but soon other people start to die, suggesting that Fen might be getting a little too close to the truth.

Admittedly, the novel is a little slow to get started, but once the mystery started to unfold, I couldn't put the book down. I just needed to know what was going on! A Dangerous Goodbye is a great, entertaining mystery set in a complex historical setting. The plot was really good and easy to follow, not too complex, but I loved that Fen was trying to effectively solve two mysteries simultaneously. It was great fun trying to solve the crossword clues as she got them. 

I think Fen is an interesting character to get to know. She is initially a little naive in terms of how the French feel following the country's liberation, but I feel like she definitely has some growth throughout the novel, which she could easily continue during the rest of the series. She's intelligent and I loved seeing how she unpicked the clues from Arthur and the greater mystery. 

I gave A Dangerous Goodbye 4 out of 5 stars and would really recommend it to fans of historical fiction and mysteries - with spies, codes, murder and intrigue, what more could you want?! I loved trying to second guess what was happening, and being surprised by the twists and turns. A Dangerous Goodbye is the first book in the Fen Churche Mystery series. I'd be really interested in picking up the next book in the series, to see how it continues. If you have read this book, or are interested, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Love Lexie
xo

Friday, 8 May 2020

Believathon TBR

Last year, I very loosely took part in the Believathon readathon, run by the awesome Gavin, from How To Train Your Gavin on YouTube. Gavin loves middle grade literature, and designed this readathon to celebrate children's fiction. This year, I want to make a conscious effort to read more middle grade so that I can stay on top of recent releases and recommend books to the children at school, so there's no better readathon to be participate in. This round, we're travelling through a map to get to the Book-Keeper's Stronghold. Today, I thought I'd share my TBR and the stops I'm hoping to visit during the Believathon.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Children's Book Haul

As a primary school teacher, I regularly share books with my class. We enjoy reading the classics, particularly Roald Dahl, but I also like to keep on top of new releases for the age group. I've had my eye on a few new titles, but picked a few to add to my to-read pile before lockdown.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Books To Read in Self-Isolation

We all know that the world is a little different at the moment, with us all in isolation. Admittedly, I'm still working from home, as well as heading into school every now and then, but I have a lot of spare time and what better way to fill this time than with books. I find books a great source of escapism, giving me ways to explore new places, all from the comfort of my own home. As I have some more time on my hands, I thought I'd put together a list of a few books that I'd love to get to during this time.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Million Dollar Quartet | Mayflower Theatre

Names like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash are names that you can't help but know. Even though I have never listened to much of the traditional rock 'n' roll music, I've always been interested in the era, so when I saw that Million Dollar Quartet was coming to the Mayflower Theatre, I was interested. I was invited to watch the show to review it and was so excited!

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Exploring Foyles | London Book Haul

For my birthday this year, Stephen surprised me with a trip to London. In true bookworm style, my mind instantly went to the book shopping I would be able to do! I've always wanted to visit Foyles after seeing it online - it looked like a book lover's heaven! Safe to say, I fell in love as soon as I stepped foot inside the four floor bookstore, and I may have made a couple of purchases.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Mamma Mia! | Mayflower Theatre

Mamma Mia is one of those classic films that I know will automatically put a smile on my face, as soon as the Greek scenery hits the screen and the first bars of music play. There is something about the story, interwoven with classic ABBA tracks, that is just so comforting and nostalgic. This February, Mamma Mia! the musical has arrived at the Mayflower Theatre to treat everyone to a bit of sunshine and fun during this stormy weather we have been having. I couldn't wait to see the show*!

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Five Books To Read in 2020

Typically, I'm a massive mood reader, and because of that don't tend to make strict to-read lists. Despite that, I like to make a little list at the beginning of each year of a few books that I would like to get to during the next 12 months. So, I have collated a list of five books this year of books that I would like to read throughout 2020.

Friday, 31 January 2020

B.R.B. Swan Lake | Mayflower Theatre | Press Tickets

I had a really good year in terms of theatre trips last year, and I think that 2020 could also be a promising year! My first show this year was Swan Lake, by the Birmingham Royal Ballet*. I have always been a big fan of the ballet, and Swan Lake is one of those classic performances that I would hope that I would get to see one day. I think that this performance stayed really close to the original story and was a really accurate depiction. I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Christmas Book Haul

When I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, it was to no surprise that books were near the top of my list. I was lucky enough to be gifted a few of the books off my list, as well as a surprise, and I thought I'd share them with you today.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Best Books of 2019

I have had a pretty good reading year this year - massively stepping up the amount of books I've read from 10 books to a whopping 57! I've made a real effort to read more this year, trying to put my phone down and pick up a book a bit more. And it's paid off! I've thoroughly enjoyed almost everything I've read this year, and I want to celebrate the very best of the best.

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