Pick ‘n’ Mix Reviews: Dragons, Detectives and Dating

Hello everybody! Today, I have another review post for you and this time is the first pick ‘n’ mix one I’ve done in ages. These are books that haven’t quite fit into more themed posts, but I wanted to chat about anyway. Onto the post!

The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

This is written by the creator of BBC’s Death in Paradise, which I loved in its early seasons, so I thought it was worth getting it out of the library and giving it a shot! It follows three women, elderly crossword creator Judith, dog walker Susie and vicar’s wife Becks, as they become embroiled in trying to solve a mysterious series of local killings. The characters, especially Judith, are very likable, and I loved that the characters work so well as a team despite their huge differences as people. They know the cases are connected because of the staging of the crime scenes, but neither they nor the police is able to work out why. I did guess whodunit before the reveal, but this was an engaging mystery nonetheless and I did love the extra little twist of final couple of pages. Plus, it’s one of my favourite mystery tropes and I never, ever get tired of it!

The Wedding Pact by Isla Gordon

This author writes under a few different pen names, and I love her writing with them all, but I think the Isla Gordon books might just be my favourite. They have the prettiest covers, and the stories inside are so romantic and funny and lovely. This one follows August and Flynn, who decide to pretend to be together to ensure they get their dream property in Bath, whose elderly landlady will only rent to a young, married couple. Fake dating is my very favourite romance trope, and this one ticks all the usual boxes, but with extra hijinks on account of them trying to fake a wedding and an entire history together, as well as the day to day stuff of fooling their neighbours. Both characters are so lovable and they fit perfectly as a couple, and the supporting cast are also delightful; my special favourites were their landlady and also Callie, who is such a supportive friend. I’m so excited to read the next Isla book, a Snowfall by the Sea, hopefully in December as part of my mammoth reading plans! The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa This was a highly recommended book for me, and I’ve owned it for ages, so I finally picked it up during the Romcomathon readathon and I had a great time with it. It follows a wedding planned named Lina, who was ironically jilted at her own wedding, and what happens when she is thrown into a situation where she has to work with her ex’s brother Max in order to save her business. Obviously, this being a romance book, they fall in love, and I adored their story. Their flirty banter is so gorgeous, and so are the moments where they catch feels. Also, Lina’s family are so epic; they’re hilarious and have her back the whole time, and I just loved them. FIf you like books like the Hating Game, I strongly suspect you’ll vibe with the enemies to lovers but secretly they should have always been together relationship in this! Also, the next in the companion series is fake dating, and we all know how I feel about fake dating…

Dragon Rising by Katie and Kevin Tsang

I read this, the fourth book in the Dragon Realm series, with Izzy and Sophie, and it was great to see the characters taking on a new adventure. After defeating the Dragon of Death in the last book, everyone has returned home, but when Billy sees a mysterious sea dragon while surfing, he gets the gang back together to save the world once again. The four main characters are all wonderful, both individually and when they come together as a team with their incredible powers, their dragons are obviously super cool, and the new additions of Lola and Jordan were fantastic too; I loved seeing them find their heart bond dragons, though no spoilers as to who they are, of course!). I’m very intrigued to see what happens next, in the series’s final book Dragon Destiny, particularly after the epic climax of this one.

The Visa by Lizzie O’ Hagan

I bought this to read with my friend Christine, and it’s actually another one where people get married and fake a relationship, this time to get Jack a visa. He marries his friend Maya, and then the book is them trying to conceal the marriage. I really liked that their marriage changes both of their lives for real, despite it not being genuine to begin with, and it allows them to face up to issues they’ve had for years with a teammate right by their side. The relationship they share is so deep and meaningful, and i also want to mention Jack’s relationship with Charlie because it was another huge plus point of this for me. That said, there are so many fun moments in this book too that definitely lived up to the delightful promise of the concept, and I love the sound of all the author’s other books as well! You’ll never believe me here, but I think Twelve Days to Save Christmas is maybe gonna be my next one from her…

Twice We Make Magic by Sarah Driver

This book is such a special one, because I am thanked in the acknowledgements alongside my friend Izzy, and that just never stops being the coolest thing ever (I’m literally tearing up writing that sentence, THANK YOU Sarah!!). It’s the second in a series following a coven of witches which includes sisters Spel and Egg, who love each other fiercely but are struggling to redefine their relationship after the revelation that they’re witches and that Spel is Shadowborn. Their relationship is so interesting, as are the wider dynamics of the coven, who all grew up believing they were the daughters of criminals. I thought Flux was an incredibly interesting character, and their relationship with Spel was so complex and unique. At the end of our buddy read, both Izzy and I commented that we’re very interested to see what Sarah does next, as this book felt like it could be a conclusion, but also that doors are left open for more.

A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle

This came onto my radar when it was Waterstones book of the month, so obviously I had to buy it when I saw it in a secondhand bookshop. It follows a ship’s officer named Timothy Birch and a detective named James Temple, who rather reluctantly come together to solve a murder on the ship they’re both on. The relationship between the two is interesting and often a bit unsettling, and the great thing about the suspects is that they’re well developed and all very much have secrets to hide, making it difficult to work out the murderer. The ship makes for a brilliant setting, and I was definitely hooked all the way through; you could just never tell what would happen next. The ending really took me by surprise, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next for this author as this is so ambitious and well executed for a debut.

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

First off, I love the Michael Bublé inspired title of this, and also the concept, which is that a woman named Laura Le Quesne goes on a trip to investigate her parents’ magical love story, and then at the airport she picks up the wrong suitcase and the contents lead her to believe it belongs to her soulmate. However, nothing is as it seems, and the trip ends up changing her life in more ways than one. I really liked the discussion of if soulmates are real and what true love actually means, which is something I can never make up my mind about, and I think Sophie Cousens is such a talented writer. I liked the romance, even though it was different to my expectations, and I loved the setting of Jersey; I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set there before. I’ll definitely be picking up Before I Do at some point, especially as that has yet another genius concept! Also, I LOVED the cameo of the couple from This Time Next Year at the very beginning!

The Canal Boat Café by Cressida McLaughlin

This is (I think) my 3rd Cressida McLaughlin, and the first I’ve read outwith her hugely successful Cornwall series. It follows a woman named Summer whose mother has recently died, and she returns to her mother’s canal boat café to take over, after it being held together with tape and glue by her mother’s neighbour and best friend, since she died. We also have a really cute budding romance with another neighbour who is called Mason. I love books like this where women take on a project and find professional happiness at the same time as they’re falling in love, and I super wish I could go visit this café and sample the sweet treats now! Harry, Claire and Valerie were such supportive friends, I loathed Ross with every fibre of my soul and I definitely shipped Summer with Mason, plus a special mention is needed for Latte and Archie!This was very sweet, and I’m looking forward to eventually catching up with Cressida’s huge back catalogue, which I’m sure are equally lovely. My next one will probably be a Christmas Tail, in the aforementioned mammoth December reading marathon!

The Little Café in Copenhagen by Julie Caplin

This series came highly recommended to me by a few people, and it really didn’t disappoint with this first installment. It follows publicist Kate, whose (now ex!) boyfriend betrayed her in order to steal a promotion that should’ve been hers by rights. She is then tasked with organising a press trip to Copenhagen for a new client, and though she butts heads with spiky journalist Benedict ‘Mad Fox’ Johnson, he agrees to come along and sparks start flying… I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Copenhagen, so that was interesting, as was learning more about the concept of hygge. The chemistry between our two main characters is so palpable from the outset, and our array of other press on the trip are also great; I especially liked Fiona and Sophie, so I’m delighted they both have books dedicated to their love stories. I’m definitely planning to pick up the next one, especially as I obviously really liked Sophie and the extract at the end has me dying to see her have her happy ending!

Thank you so much for reading! Have you picked up any of these books? Do you think you’ll add any to your TBR now? I’d love to chat in the comments! Amy xx


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

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