Latest Review Trio

As I haven’t done a book review for ages I thought it about time I got on with one. I read loads of romance but love a good thriller and gobble up anything to do with psychology in business, so this round of recommendations has one of each!

Sweet romance
Jane Lovering’s Little Teashop of Horrors is set in a historical country house in Yorkshire, now open to the public. Main character Amy runs the cafe and feels stuck in a rut, unable to leave the village she’s grown up in due to having to look after her elderly grandmother.

The unlikely hero, Josh, tends to the birds of prey, and has his own challenges caused by a turbulent past. Amy has the added challenge of coping with her exuberant best friend, Jules.

What I most enjoyed about this book was the setting and the characters. Finally a romance which doesn’t involve an exotic location or a billionaire alpha male – see, there is hope for normal people. Amy and Josh are easy to relate to as Josh suffers from terrible shyness and Amy is no model-like waif.

Good on Jane Lovering for having the guts to turn traditional romance on its head and create loveable, ‘normal’ characters.

I hesitated before choosing this book as couldn’t really understand the title. Even after reading it I’m not sure where the ‘horror’ comes in as it’s a lovely sweet romance, so don’t let that put you off – it’s a super read.

The Joy of Work
Not that I’ve got anything at all against US business writers (I’ve read plenty and many are excellent), but it’s refreshing to read a book in this genre by a UK author.

There are some fascinating insights in this book by Bruce Daisley, all of which is based on research, about what makes teams and individuals tick. The chapters on the use of earphones in the office, walking meetings and open plan spaces are particularly interesting.

As normal for a business book a lot of the content doesn’t apply to SMEs – and we don’t all work for Google and Twitter – but this book provides a very modern and alternative view to best practices in the office, many of which can be applied across industries.

Definitely worth a read if you’re a MD, middle manager or just interested in what motivates people and results in maximum engagement and productivity.

Sleep
Having had a marathon few months reading romances by different authors I decided I need a break from the genre. I’ve recently been to a talk by crime writer Peter James (I’ll blog about that later) and it inspired me to read something to get my heart pounding. I recalled reading a book review in Prima magazine which featured the new release by CL Taylor, Sleep.

I was hooked from the start. Far from being full of paragraphs brimming with description (which I’ve encountered in thrillers before), this is fast paced from the get-go. There’s loads of dialogue, which moves the story along nicely, and the characters are three dimensional and realistic.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say the story line centres around a 32-year old woman called Anna who’s involved in a serious accident. Haunted by the incident, she escapes to the Scottish Isle of Rum to work in a small hotel, but even in the remote landscape of Rum, she’s convinced someone is after her.

I’m listening to Sleep on Audible, and the narrator, Clare Corbett, is excellent at mastering the different characters’ voices. If you’re looking for a book to listen to, this one comes highly recommended!

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