Holiday Shorts!

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I am back from my ‘reading retreat’ (which was basically just me staying in a local hotel for a couple of nights sans kids, pets and snoring hubby).  Obviously I didn’t get through the whole of my rather optimistic pile of books, but I did manage a few, so I thought I would summarise them for you briefly here.

No disclaimers are needed as every single book in this review was either purchased by myself, or received as a birthday/Christmas present.


The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine – Alexander McCall Smith

Blurb:  In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling series, Mma Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet—a vacation!

TWWWIS 25329003Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel’s sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation.

Despite this unexpected diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency is faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case. A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major public honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man’s sister has contacted the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminder that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.


I have been reading The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series since the first book was published back in 1998 and with every book since about the tenth I have worried that this will be the one where the series loses its heart; its warmth; its gentle sense of humour; its expansive joy in life, people and the small ridiculousnesses that ensue from both.

I can reassure fellow readers that it didn’t and it hasn’t.

Precious and co. remain as endearing as ever and their investigative adventures are just as entertaining as they always have been, and the immersion in Botswanan culture and society is like a breath of fresh (hot) air!


Amazon Purchase Link:  Buy it here!





This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay

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Blurb:  Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.





Shocking and stunning.

Think James Herriott, but with shorter, pithier anecdotes, or Rob Buckman but blunter and less silly.

Packed full of black humour and raw truth, Adam Kay has produced a memoir that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and should be required reading for every single person in the United Kingdom.

The UK Health Secretary should be made to read it twice.


Amazon Purchase Link:  Buy it here!



The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig

TTP 51VdtQUjpBLBlurb:  From number one bestselling author Matt Haig comes a hilarious and heartwarming story, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Chris Mould

Wherever she is, whatever the day,
She only has one kind of thing to say.
Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo,
The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.

A very funny and lovable tale of how one special pixie learned to love herself. The Truth Pixie is an enchanting, rhyming story that will delight younger readers – with words by the bestselling mastermind Matt Haig and pictures by the inky genius Chris Mould.


I am going to have to read this one again with Minishine and get her to review too, as whilst I enjoyed the story and found the rhymes and illustrations endearing, I didn’t quite feel that this lived up to the hype that I had seen about it.

Obviously I am not really the target demographic, and perhaps some of the joy in this particular story is in reading it with a child and getting their reactions during, and their thoughts afterwards.

So I’ll let you know on this one…


Amazon Purchase Link:  Buy it here!





The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley

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Blurb: Meet Flavia: Mystery Solver. Master Poisoner. 11 Years Old.

England 1950. At Buckshaw, the crumbling country seat of the de Luce family, very-nearly-eleven-year-old Flavia is plotting revenge on her older sisters.

Then a dead bird is left on the doorstep, which has an extraordinary effect on Flavia’s eccentric father, and a body is found in the garden. As the police descend on Buckshaw, Flavia decides to do some investigating of her own.



This has flown straight into my favourite series list.  It has everything I could possibly want in a murder mystery:  with sardonic British humour, interesting and educational trivia, and superbly eccentric characters.

The main character, 11 year-old Flavia, is clever, strong, mischievous, curious, resourceful and just generally all-round splendid.  Like a female Just William with a flair for chemistry!

The plot was complex enough to keep me guessing, but clear enough that I managed to keep up with Flavia and Gladys.

In short, I will definitely be adding the next one to the top of my wish list!


Amazon Purchase Link:  Buy it here!



So that’s the books.

As for the ‘reading retreat’, well, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone and everyone, and fully intend to make it an annual event.  Books, snacks, books, bubble baths, books and bed.  What’s not to love?!

My normal review schedule will resume with immediate effect (er, when I get a chance to write the next one up… the children, pets etc are slightly pleased to have me back!).

Books and love,

Bookshine x


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2 thoughts on “Holiday Shorts!

  1. Right, I want to read the new Precious book and the Flavia one. I have read the medical one. So depressingly scary. Our NHS is wonderful.
    And I am so envious of a retreat like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was amazing. Truly. Just books and little else! I would recommend it to anyone. 🙂


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