Hello and welcome to Your New Favourite Book

The intention behind this blog is to create a home for the best and most interesting book reviews. Hopefully it'll be a place where you can discover a wonderful new book or author. I'm a prolific reader so most of the reviews will be mine, but please feel free to send in your own review if you have a gem of a book which I've missed.

I mostly read crime fiction but in the interest of good reviewing I will branch out and try to bring you other types of fiction - I promise - even if just to prove to myself there is a life outside crime.

Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoy the site - and find your next favourite book!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Features writer Ellie Howarth lives in the modern world where she receives two-word text messages from her married lover John. Then, as she battles to save her career, she discovers a love letter from the 1960s in the archives of her newspaper. She pledges to use the letter to create a feature – to save her from getting the sack – but is profoundly changed by what she finds.
From this point on Jojo Moyes weaves a wonderful tale of forbidden love, which makes Romeo and Juliet look positively pallid. Back in the 1960s, married woman Jennifer wakes from a coma after a car accident with no memory of her previous life. But as she reacquaints herself with her home and her friends, she discovers a love letter signed by ‘B’ urging his lover to leave her husband and realises it was intended for her. After finding more letters she realises she was having an affair and sets out to discover who ‘B’ is.
Moyes kept me guessing at every step with twists and turns worthy of a thriller, but the book is effortlessly heart-warming. Despite the fact that adultery is one of the main themes I still found myself with tears in my eyes at the closing scenes. In a world of tweeting, texting and Facebook statuses, it was a treat to see love expressed in a written letter.
This is perfect autumn reading – if you want a cosy afternoon, curled up in an armchair, this is the perfect companion.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Whispering Gallery by Mark Sanderson

The Whispering Gallery is full of questions. Who is the man who falls from the gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral killing a priest? Did he fall or was he pushed? Or worse still, did he commit suicide? Fortunately for John Steadman, reporter with the Daily News, he’s in St Paul’s when the incident happens, waiting to propose to his girlfriend. Steadman jumps at such a great story and investigates by knocking on doors, interviewing people and making the most of his policeman friend Matt.
But as well as this investigation, Steadman has also come to the attention of a sadistic mystery murderer who is systematically murdering women and sending body parts to Steadman with coded messages connected to saints’ days. Although the murderer ultimately plans to kill Steadman, he continues to investigate and report his successes in his newspaper to draw the murderer out.
Sanderson beautifully captures 1930s London, trapped in an oppressive heatwave and pulls the reader into a world of gruesome murders and a sexual underworld where the police seem to rub shoulders with criminals. The final scenes are not for the faint-hearted but, as a fan of crime novels and thrillers, I lapped it up, unwilling to put the book down until I was finished.
A very satisfying read and I can’t wait to see what Mark Sanderson does next. More John Steadman please!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

If Joanne Harris made me crave Chocolat for the entirety of her novel, Isabel Wolff made me very aware of what I was wearing while I was reading A Vintage Affair.
At Phoebe Swift’s shop, Village Vintage, each item of clothing comes with a designer label from the 1920s to 1970s and a history which could change people’s lives. In reality it is the shop’s owner who could do with a change. A heavy weight of guilt hangs around her neck after her best friend Emma died and Phoebe hopes her new venture will distract her from the pain.
Instead it brings into her life Mrs Bell, who carries her own guilty story and tries to help Phoebe confront her demons, Dan – with his joie de vivre and Annie – her faithful shop assistant, and despite the pain she feels, Phoebe begins to make a success of her shop.
When the reader learns circumstances behind Emma’s death, and Phoebe’s reason for feeling guilty, it makes for uncomfortable reading, but for that reason I return to read this book over and over again. It may look like fluffy chick-lit but it deals with some painful issues and Wolff has created a great ensemble cast of characters who the reader comes to really care about. I think this could become a firm favourite for anyone.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

House of the Hanged by Mark Mills

Everyone has a secret they’re desperate to hide. Just when former Secret Intelligence Service operative Tom Nash thinks he’s left his past behind him in the Soviet Union, it rears its ugly head. He retired early from his job, following a botched rescue mission, but someone doesn’t want Tom to forget what he did and is looking to take revenge. Tom plans to enjoy an idyllic summer with his friends at Le Rayol on the French Riviera where he now lives, but someone has other ideas. Late at night, a man sneaks into his bedroom and tries to kill him. Tom’s former training kicks in and he chases the man from the scene, killing him and dumping his body at sea.
Suddenly Tom is seeing enemies everywhere and does not know where the next strike will come from or whom he can trust, even among his friends.
I really enjoyed reading this book – speeding through the pages – desperate to know what was going to happen to Tom. Mills builds the tension effortlessly and his descriptions of the south of France made me feel as if I was there. I loved the way Tom reacts almost on instinct to protect himself but was also keen to protect his loved one. He’s the kind of character you warm to, even though he can kill with his bare hands.
If you like a thriller involving mysterious Russians, car chases and a bit of high-class living among the rich people of the Riviera, then this is definitely the book for you. It starts in the middle of an action sequence, but there are places to catch your breath. All in all, a really good read – Mark Mills is definitely going on my list of authors to watch!