What I Read While I Was In Hospital

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So three weeks in the hospital gave me some time to catch up on plenty of reading and I thought I would share my thoughts on them in one post!

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Blog Tour Book Review – Spiral Into Darkness

Spiral Into Darkness by Joseph Lewis

The Blurb

He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

What I Thought

I never normally don’t finish books but 2019 has already bought me a second such one, after previously being unable to continue listening to an audio book I talked about in my January Book Reviews.

I started off slowly with this one as it was quite laden with ‘technicalities’ of the policing system and how people are organised. The first two chapters were great, describing the two murders and this really grabbed my attention, leaving you with many questions like why, who and what could link them. But following this the action slowed right down and became a little drab.

The story then moved into rather more uncomfortable territory and I just didn’t feel like continuing reading. I read some other reviews to see what others had thought, and found some with the same feelings as me. As I said, I don’t like not finishing a book, even if I am not loving it, but knowing people had similar thoughts about it to me made me feel a little better. I will say though, there were many good reviews with people loving it so it is definitely just a matter of personal taste I think.

I loved the sound of this book but unfortunately it just felt a little overladen with unnecessary detail for me which slowed the reading pace down and did not keep me engaged. This then made the uncomfortable content more difficult to deal with, as the pace of the book was too slow to keep it intriguing, and it just felt uncomfortable.

A Note From the Author

In Spiral Into Darkness, I explore the concept of nature vs nurture, or more specifically, is a murderer born or made? In the book, the murderer struggled with his own family growing up because his parents adopted another youngster. The adoption, through the murderer’s eyes, didn’t go well. He saw the adoption as “ruining” the family unit. 
In the book, I also explore two other themes: one involves sexual experimentation between two of the adopted brothers in the Evans family. It is uncomfortable because in the course of the book (the story takes place in approximately one week’s time period), the parents don’t quite know how to respond to the experimentation and I set their response aside, for the most part, until the subsequent book (still being written). So the question then becomes, is being gay nature or nurture? The second theme, adoption, is the root for the story. The murderer uses the two newest adopted boys in the Evans family as another example of a family unit being disrupted, which is why he targets them.

Where To Buy

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Author – Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.

Lewis uses his psychology and counselling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

Social Media Links

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


So far 2019 has bought me a very mixed bag when it comes to reading! What are you currently reading and enjoying? Let me know in the comments below,

Thankyou to Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book in return for my honest review. Check out other people’s thoughts at the blogs below

Blog Tour Book Review – Death Comes In Through The Kitchen

Good morning and happy Friday!

Death Comes In Through The Kitchen


The Blurb

Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes

Havana, Cuba, 2003: Matt, a San Diego journalist, arrives in Havana to marry his girlfriend, Yarmila, a 24-year-old Cuban woman whom he first met through her food blog. But Yarmi isn’t there to meet him at the airport, and when he hitches a ride to her apartment, he finds her lying dead in the bathtub.

With Yarmi’s murder, lovelorn Matt is immediately embroiled in a Cuban adventure he didn’t bargain for. The police and secret service have him down as their main suspect, and in an effort to clear his name, he must embark on his own investigation into what really happened. The more Matt learns about his erstwhile fiancée, though, the more he realizes he had no idea who she was at all—but did anyone?

What I Thought

I was really drawn to this book – the blurb, the front cover – it all sounded so different to other things I’ve read. I wasn’t disappointed.

I really enjoyed the introduction to Cuba and especially the food references – Yarmila’s blog is one I would definitely follow if it were real! The setting really helps the book stand out as interesting and different which I loved.

I was unsure about Matt – he wasn’t the most relatable or the kind of hero you want in a story. It was good to read about Cuba through his naive eyes though and I couldn’t entirely dislike him as a whole.

Any fans of murder mystery type novels will enkoy this one – I loved the different setting and the way as the book progressed you saw more and more of the gritty side of Cuba. And any food fans will be equally happy with it!

Where To Buy

Soho Press

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Author – Teresa Dovalpage


Teresa Dovalpage is a Cuban transplant now firmly rooted in New Mexico. She was born in Havana and now lives in Hobbs, where she is a Spanish and ESL professor at New Mexico Junior College.

She has published nine novels and three collections of short stories. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004), Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010), and Death Comes in Through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018), a culinary mystery with authentic Cuban recipes.

Her novellas Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event), Sisters in Tea/ Hermanas en Té and Death by Smartphone/ Muerte por Smartphone were published in serialized format by Taos News.

In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012), Orfeo en el Caribe (Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013), and El retorno de la expatriada (The Expat’s Return, Egales, Spain, 2014).

Social Media Links

Blog (English)

Blog (Spanish)




NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thankyou to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on this blog tour.  Check out other book bloggers reviews at the blogs below