This year has started with a bang… and I have been reading up a storm… some excellent reads and for the first time ever, I am allowing a couple of DNF’s… life is too short to be wading through books I am really not enjoying!!!



The Burnout

by Sophie Kinsella

LOVED IT!!! Perfect holiday/weekend read… If you are planning to have a crisis then do it like Sasha. She’s an undeniable workaholic, perfectionist people pleaser and had a complete and utter meltdown at work… ran into brick wall, fell apart… and booked yourself into a hotel in Devon for a couple of weeks. The same hotel that was responsible for all your childhood holidays and many, many happy memories. Of course Sasha, who is “perfect” in every way, assumes that a retreat will involve kale smoothies, ice swims and beach yoga, in other words, more work, more perfectionism and a load more people pleasing. It turns out that Sasha was quite wrong… a retreat may involve all of that, but she actually needed to heal from all that life had thrown her… and healing might require a lot more comfort and a lot less rigour.

That being said, she meets a very angry “Finn,” also on the way to the seaside to recover from overwork and the stress of keeping up. The two of them have a typically grumpy, antagonistic introduction… he is on the hunt for Whisky and she is on the hunt for chocolate bars. The outcome is predictable, and a delightfully happy outcome. If you can’t take yourself off to Devon to recover from a harrowing 2023 with double cream scones… at least read the book, you will be filled with comforting vibes and you may well find yourself good to get up and go again!!!



by Rebecca F. Kuang

This book was recommended on so many platforms, it arrived highly acclaimed, what I thought would be a mystery suspense novel turned out to be somewhat of a critique of the publishing industry. Two young authors, friends because they were always in the same place at the same time, connected at college and now fresh out of college and both “wannabe authors.” Athena Liu has shot to stardom, her books and career are rocking with success, while June Hayward is not. She does not experience any of the success that her friend does and the friendship has this awkward imbalance. In the first chapter things immediately go horribly wrong, at a celebration and despite all of June’s efforts, Athena dies in a horrible accident. The reader is drawn to June, it is a terrible experience…

But… June picks up Athena’s latest manuscript from her desk and publishes it as her own… and our sympathy switches, how could she… the story flows to and fro, through the highs and lows of June’s dramatic life in the publishing industry. She is loved and loathed, and a lot of this plays out on Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter (X), her likes and reviews, her stars… and so our emotions flow to and fro alongside the love/hate. The thing is despite these extreme reactions to life on the public page, June is not very likeable, she is a champion at making frenemies. Despite all the online angst, things start to occur that are a lot more like real life than the hidden behind the screen of social media… well our senses are on high alert.

This is a quick read, not the murder-mystery that I was expecting… but I couldn’t put it down. If you are looking for a weekend read, and you like a little tension, then this is an excellent one.


The Bookbinder of Jericho

by Pip Williams

Pop this onto your must read list. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not in the same way that I loved her first book, The Dictionary of Lost Words, which is on my favourite books ever pile (Simply because I loved the main character, Essie, she crept into my heart). The Bookbinder of Jericho is set in the same era, as England is heading into World War I. The bookbinders are a group of girls that are “privileged” to be part of the very male dominated business of creating books. The bookbinders are there to perfectly fold and collate the books as they come off the press. No-one expects the young ladies to have dreams or ambitions, and nobody imagines that they will actually look at the pages they are folding, let alone read them. But Peggy does, she reads and learns and dreams, Peggy is a girl with ambitions. Peggy is also a twin and her sister Maude works alongside her. Maude is considered “simple” by those around, she is a delightful character, naive and innocent and appears to be absolutely content with her station in life, happy to fold and fold and fold again. Before their mother passed away she asked Peggy to look out for Maude.

Despite Peggy’s ambitions she is held back by guilt, and Maude, with no ambition, seems to be able to handle the war and, the absence of all that was “normal.” All the men in town leave to serve, refugees come to stay, and they are all called to care for the injured and maimed young men that are returned from the front. There is a lot in this book about life during the war to end all wars. There is an underlying theme that women, who were considered so inferior and incapable, manage to keep the home fires burning and the books keep on rolling out. There are some interesting overlaps, with The Dictionary of Lost Words, but the stories are quite independent of each other. This is a great book, and an enjoyable read. I just didn’t like Maude or Peggy as characters, as much as I liked Essie, in the The Dictionary of Lost Words… so while this is a great read it is not on my list of favourite favourites!!!


The Light Over Liskeard

by Louis de Bernières

So Louis de Bernières is the author of Corelli’s Mandolin, and so, I was looking forward to this one… and from what I understood a book about a man, called Q, who leaves it all in London and heads out into the English countryside, to renovate a barn and prepare for a life off the grid and the end of times. Sounds like exactly my kind of read. Let me just say, that I was not expecting this to be a dystopian novel, and it turns out that our main protagonist, who is a quantum cryptographer for the government, had a lot to learn about living off the grid. while he learns about new technologies and gathers new survival skill his life becomes more and more entwined with the fairly eccentric characters living in the surrounding area. The characters became more and more eccentric, I felt as if I was being steered into dystopian DonQuixote and this book got a DNF from me.


The Little French Village of Book Lovers

by Nina George

I was so looking forward to this read. I love books written previously by this author but I found the main character, the narrator: Love, itself, and the sub-characters Fate and Logic, more than a little esoteric and while all the ingredients are laid out for a fantastic and wonderful story, it never turned into one for me… That being said this is definitely an “Absolutely Love” or Absolutely Don’t Love” kind of a book… The story is endearing, the French countryside rich, the human characters are wonderful, and the writing lyrical. It is one of those books that one can read again and again, but also if you can’t get past the slow start, you may never want to get into. So a Love to Love it kind of a book, but I found myself getting stuck time and time again, going back to see who was who in the story. I lost my way and didn’t love it, and think maybe I should have read it on a weekend away…


Holmes, Magaret and Poe

by James Patterson and Brian Sitts

So this one I did read on a weekend away and my goodness, James Patterson and all his associates do manage to turn out a number of great weekend reads… if you are looking for a quick crime and detective book, then this is the one. Names of our Private detectives are in the title, they are a slightly eccentric trio of super bofins, with a series of fabulous skills between them. They move into their first premises as a team and the cases start piling on… murder, to art theft, kidnapping you name it, at first I could hardly keep up with the crimes that kept popping into the timeline… but read on read on, short, sharp chapters, not sitting in one space for any length of time and somehow all the loose ends are pulled together. A fantastic weekend away read, a quick escape. Exactly what you would expect from James Patterson and any of his co-writers.


Most of these books were given to us for review purposes, some of them I bought myself, all from by Penguin Random House South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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