WWW Wednesday (18-10-2017)

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.



Three W’s:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What I recently finished :

Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This novel requires a little bit of suspended belief (ok an awful lot, it’s fantasy really) so it shouldn’t be my kind of book at all but the secrets and lies and psychological manipulation had me completely hooked and I ended up liking it anyway. I’m quite surprised myself! And now I really can say so as well #WTFthatending!

Behind Her Eyes


What I’m reading now:

Blood Moon by John David Bethel

Blood Moon is based on a true story and there’s even a movie based on the story with Mark Wahlberg in the lead. Note: the real victim is sueing him and others involved for how he is portrayed in this movie. You can read an article about it here.



What I’ll (probably) read soon:

I haven’t read The Teacher (novel 1 in the DS Imogen Grey series) but The Secret ended up on my ereader and I think it’s time to tackle one of my own reads again, especially now that I’ve seen there’s a third novel pulished soon, called The Angel. I do really like all the covers in this series too!

The Secret by Katerina Diamond

The SecretCan you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…


So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !


I don’t like cooking unless…

I don't like cooking

I’m not a great cook, I admit it, and I wouldn’t be very happy when I’d get a cookbook as a present, unless my dear friends, it is one of the cookbooks I listed here. A whole new world has opened up because I had NO IDEA there were so many book-related cookbooks out there. Really, if you’re a writer, it looks like you just have to publish a cookbook as well!

Here are some cookery books that might spike your enthusiasm for cooking from now on:

1. If you love celebrated works of literature… 


These recipes are featured in or inspired by the novels listed below:

Jo’s Best Omelette . . . Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
No Dieter’s Delight Chicken Neapolitan . . . Thinner by Stephen King
Bev’s No-Fuss Crab Cakes . . . Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell
Macaroni and Cheese . . . The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Veteran Split Pea Soup . . . The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Summer’s Day Cucumber-Tomato Sandwiches . . . Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
Dump Punch . . . Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Not Violet, But Blueberry Pie. . . Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Innocent Sweet Bread . . . The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Daddy’s Rich Chocolate Cake . . . Fatherhood by Bill Cosby

2. If you love A Game of Thrones…


A passion project from superfans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer – and endorsed by George R. R. Martin himself – A Feast of Ice and Fire lovingly replicates a stunning range of cuisines from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. From the sumptuous delicacies enjoyed in the halls of power at King’s Landing, to the warm and smoky comfort foods of the frozen North, to the rich, exotic fare of the mysterious lands east of Westeros, there’s a flavor for every palate, and a treat for every chef.

3. If you love mysteries…


Mystery-themed recipes and other baffling questions about cooking are answered by the Nancy Drew Cookbook for young readers. This series-specific cookbook mixed in a dash of mystery with a pinch of thematic recipes. Nearly 50% of these special recipes incorporate part of the titles from the first 50 volumes of the classic Nancy Drew mystery series. Examples include “Double Jinx Salad,” “Ski Jump Hot Chocolate” and “Haunted Showboat Pralines.”

4. If you love Harry Potter…


With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart–Harry’s favorite dessert, Molly’s Meat Pies–Mrs. Weasley’s classic dish, Kreacher’s French Onion Soup, Pumpkin Pasties–a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart.

5. If you love.. euhm.. something different…


Who but Roald Dahl could think up such mouthwatering and deliciously disgusting foods as Lickable Wallpaper, Stink Bugs Eggs, and Eatable Pillows?Now theres a practical guide to making these and other delicacies featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Dahl’s other books, with easy, step-by-step recipes that range from the delectable to the truly revolting. Quentin Blake’s illustrations combine with full-color photographs of the luscious results to perfectly capture Roald Dahls wicked sense of fun.

6. If you love The Hunger Games…


The Unofficial Recipes of the Hunger Games savor the post-apocalyptic world of Panem one dish at a time with The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games. Offering 187 recipes, this cookbook serves fans an authentic taste of the Hunger Games trilogy, whether foraged for in the impoverished District 12 or devoured at the lavish banquets of the Capitol. Satisfy your appetite with the recipes savored by the tributes: Peeta’s Burnt Raisin Nut Bread, Orange Chicken in Cream Sauce.

7. If you love Narnia…


From the White Witch’s spellbinding Turkish Delight to the centaurs’ mouthwatering oatcakes and the Dryads’ favorite gooseberry fools, each recipe in The OFFICIAL Narnia Cookbook is a culinary tribute to the overwhelming influence The Chronicles of Narnia has had on generations of readers.

8. If you love nostalgic reads…


Pooh is often satisfied with marmalade on a honeycomb but here are recipes for more substantial breakfast foods such as poohanpiglet Pancakes, Apricot Honey Bread, Muffins, and Popovers for Piglet.

9. If you love a good cocktail with a literary twist…


Tequila Mockingbird is the ultimate cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes — paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels — the book also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout.

Drinks include:

The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose
The Last of the Mojitos
Love in the Time of Kahlua
Romeo and Julep
A Rum of One’s Own
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita
Vermouth the Bell Tolls

10. If you love to try some more…


So tell me, would you enjoy any of these? In case you’re wondering, yes I just shared a picture of my own failed baking. I tried to do these kattentongen/langues de chat but didn’t have the patience to wait a long time after baking so I dipped them into chocolate and invented my own air-drying system until I could do the other side but they broke. No harm done, nobody’s seen them (but you) and I baked three cakes and banana pralines instead ;-).

Let’s celebrate our furry bookish friends

World Animal Day

I realised one of my favorite tropes in books are animals. I just love the interaction with them and reading about them.

Because TODAY is World Animal Day I thought it would be a good idea to share some books that are about or include a dog or cat in the plotline.

Let’s talk about DOGS

There’s really no shortage of books with dogs in them.. they are usually loyal and trustworthy, they are good company and offer consolation when nobody else is there for you. The first one listed below is getting a lot of attention lately but there are a few others as well that are worth a mention:

Dan Knew by F.J. Curlew

Dog books 01

A Ukrainian street dog is rescued from certain death by an expat family. As he travels to new countries with them a darkness grows and he finds himself narrating more than just his story. More than a dog story. Ultimately it’s a story of escape and survival but maybe not his.
The world through Wee Dan’s eyes in a voice that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Crowley

Dog books 02

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Dog books 03

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

Dog books 04

The One plus One by Jojo Moyes

Dog books 06

You can read my Goodreads review here

50 Acts of Kindness by Ellyn Oaksmith

Dog books 05

You can read my review here

I’ve only read the last two but the other books interest me as well.  The list is much longer than this though, I read some other books that I can recall that have dogs mentioned in them as well:

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Tattered Gloves by J.L. Berg

Brake Failure by Alison Brodie

Portmanteau by Paul T. Beardow

Let’s talk about CATS

Cats are much harder to find in books BUT apparently if you’re a detective in a cosy mystery there must be a cat involved. I guess most writers think they can’t really do much with a cat character in a book which is sad really because they can express an attitude like no other.

Mrs. Lilian Jackson Brown has written 29 mystery novels with cats in them: The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, The Cat Who Tailed A Thief, The Cat Who Had 14 Tales

There are even cats who ARE the detective themselves: Sam, the cat detective, Matty, detective catAtticus Claw Settles A Score, Luke, the detective cat


Then you have books about real existing cats: Grumpy Cat and A Street Cat named Bob and let’s not forget Dewey, the library cat!

Then here’s some interesting books that don’t fall in any of the above categories : The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky and Under the Paw by Tom Cox

Finally let’s not forget one important story… a cat called Chester.. ring any bells?


So that’s it! Have you read any other books with dogs and cats in them? Let me know! Oh and I hope you’ll give your own pets an extra cuddle and some special attention today too.

Author spotlight: The Hidden Village by Imogen Matthews (QandA)

Author spotlight 2

The Hidden Village

What’s it about?

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies a secret that frustrates the Germans. Convinced that Jews are hiding close by they can find no proof.

The secret is Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of persecuted people.

Young tearaway Jan roams the woods looking for adventure and fallen pilots. His dream comes true when he stumbles across an American airman, Donald C. McDonald. But keeping him hidden sets off a disastrous chain of events.

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether.

Henk Hauer, head woodman, is in charge of building the underground huts and ensuring the Berkenhout inhabitants stay safe.
But many grow suspicious of his liaisons with the Germans. Is he passing on secret information that could endanger lives?

All it takes is one small fatal slip to change the course of all their lives for ever.


Buy links

amazon uk amazon com

About Imogen Matthews

ImogenImogen Matthews lives in Oxford, England and is the author of two romantic fiction e-novels. The Hidden Village is her first foray into historical fiction. Born in Rijswijk, Holland, to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young. She has always enjoyed holidays in Holland and since 1990, has gone regularly with her husband and two children to Nunspeet on the edge of the Veluwe woods. It was here that she discovered the story of the hidden village, and together with her mother’s vivid stories of life in WW2 Holland, she was inspired to write her next novel…

Connect with the author

Twitter | Facebook


What inspired you to write this novel?

It was about six years ago, when I was cycling with my family in the Veluwe woods near Vierhouten that I discovered a real hidden village. I know these woods very well from frequent cycling holidays with my family and we always stay near Nunspeet in the beautiful and peaceful Hoogwolde “bungalowpark”. It’s set in its own woodland and you only have to step outside the door and onto your bike and in minutes you’re on the cycle path that takes you right into the woods.

Why Holland? Well, my mother was Dutch, I was born in Rijswijk and the family moved to England when I was a toddler. Summer holidays were often spent in Holland. As I grew up the Dutch culture and language were always an important part of who I am. After I married and we had our two boys it was natural that we kept going to Holland for holidays and it’s a habit that has stuck for 27 years (and counting!).

So, back to my discovery of this place that I’d heard nothing about until on a bike ride we came across a memorial stone commemorating the people who’d provided food and shelter to Jews during the Second World War. In all the years we’d been visiting Nunspeet, no one had ever mentioned it, nor had I’d read about the details. I was intrigued.

Near the memorial stone was a board with information and illustrations of the huts that made up this hidden village, named ‘Het Verscholen Dorp’. On closer investigation and set away from the cycle path were a few underground huts, a facsimile of those that had been built on that exact spot. The huts were dark and cramped and showed how whole families had lived in them. They were forbidden to light fires or make any noise during the day when the danger was at its most acute. I found it hard to imagine what kind of a life it must have been. How could so many people have lived here for so long and not be detected by the Germans who patrolled these woods in search of Jews, defectors, members of the Resistance, fallen pilots etc? It was fascinating and chilling in equal measure.

I came away wanting to know more, but also was starting to formulate the idea of a fictional account of what life might have been for people forced to leave their family and friends and to live apart from society for nearly two years. I needed to do my own research.

Your novel starts out from historical facts. How did you go about researching and deciding how you were going to tell this story?

Back home, I began my internet search for information, but found very little apart from sketchy accounts of people who had helped the operation and some details of the construction of the huts. On the one hand, it was frustrating there wasn’t more; on the other, it provided me with an almost blank canvas to construct my own fictional story. After more googling I found a book called “Het Verscholen Dorp” that had been written in 1974 and was out of print. I came across a secondhand copy on the Dutch website bol.com and promptly bought it. It was quite worn when it arrived, but was full of the kind of information that I’d been wanting. The author, an A.Visser, had spoken to people who lived in the area as well as some who had lived through the war, who provided old photographs and diagrams of the construction of the huts. It was hard going reading through the text, but my reading Dutch is quite good and google translate helped me when I got stuck on certain words and phrases.

What I didn’t want to do was to write another historical account of the hidden village. I was keen to write a novel with two different perspectives: from those living inside the village and those on the outside. My two main characters are young, which was another reason for writing a novel. None of the people A.Visser wrote about were children and I kept asking myself how young people would have felt and behaved in those circumstances. My mother had told me many stories of her wartime experiences when she was a teenager, so this also influenced my choice of younger characters.

Who are your favorite writers?

I love reading and have quite a few favourites. I love the novels by the American author, Anita Shreve, and her “Resistance”, set in wartime Belgium was another influence on my novel. She has a wonderful way with words, often using very few to convey situations and express emotions. I aspire to her spare style of writing.

Another favourite is Rose Tremain and I admire her ability to write in different genres and styles. To my mind, her most successful novel is “The Road Home” written from the perspective of an East European man who comes to England to find work. She wrote it in 2007 and 10 years on it resonates strongly with the fate of displaced individuals the world over.

What are you reading now?

I’ve just finished “Sweet Caress” by William Boyd, another wonderful writer. I love his sweeping narratives which follow characters throughout their lives -“Any Human Heart” is another of his books that grips the reader from beginning to end.

What’s the worst/best thing about writing a book?

There are two worst things -firstly, getting stuck and having to find the willpower to keep ploughing on. Secondly, the numerous edits that are necessary to improve the story and characters. When you think you’ve finished, you will always find something else, like the repetition of a word or a misspelling. The best thing about writing is when the writing flows and I can’t get the story down fast enough. However difficult, I always feel so much better after a decent writing session when I can see I’m making progress.

Do you have any future projects lined up?

I’ve written about 10,000 words of a follow-on book to The Hidden Village. I’ve enjoyed getting back into the writing again and developing a new story and characters. I won’t say any more than that as I haven’t quite decided the direction it will take!

I’ve given my first author talk at my local library which was really well received. Following on, I have another two talks coming up and several book groups will be reading The Hidden Village.

Out of curiosity, do you speak any Dutch? Do you have a favorite Dutch word?

I can understand Dutch quite well but never spoke it growing up. As a child, I would listen to my mother chatting to her Dutch friends but when they asked me a question in Dutch, I’d answer in English! I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn. Recently, I’ve been trying a lot harder and taken some private conversation lessons and listen as often as I can to the NOS Jeugdjournaal, which has really helped my colloquial use of the language. We’re off to Holland again soon for some cycling so I’m looking forward to practising some more.

I have a couple of favourite Dutch words which all members of my family still use, including newcomers: Lekker – to describe all manner of delicious things. Gezellig –there really is no translation in English but, to me, it sums up everything that is warm and comforting about being Dutch. (The closest word is Hygge from the Danish and I feel quite annoyed that they got there first!)

Thank you so much Imogen for your interesting answers! 

Goodreads Monday (September 2017)

goodreads monday

I saw this meme on Books, Vertigo and Tea and I thought this one seemed fun to join and feature on my blog from time to time as well! The original post of Goodreads Monday was posted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Thank you Lauren for this great idea. This really is a great way to help me take another look at all the books added to the wishlist so long ago and at the same time I can share some interesting titles.

There’s only one rule: Simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page turners and add your own links!


Added on 18 January 2016 : The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes

This novel has a 4.06 star rating on Goodreads and a promising blurb if you like reading crime novels (I promise I’ll share another genre next month!). I especially like that the main character is a psychologist in this series. This is the third novel out of the five.


The girl’s body lay on the steps of the Foundling Museum. She was dressed all in white, and tagged with the number 12.

Britain’s most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, murdered nine children before he was caught and locked away for life in Northwood high-security hospital. Now someone is carrying on his work. Four girls have disappeared in North London. Three are already dead…

Psychologist Alice Quentin is working at Northwood, hoping for space and time away from her hectic London life. But she’ll do anything to save a child’s life – even if it means sitting down with a charismatic, ruthless killer and putting herself in greater danger than ever before.

So what do you think? Yay or nay? Which cover do you like most? Have you read any books by this author yet?

WWW Wednesday (06-09-2017)

WWW Wednesday is a book list hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and I’m happy to participate today.



Three W’s:
What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What I recently finished :

This is the third novel already in the Robyn Carter Detective series and once you start this series you just can’t stop. It happened to me anyway :-). I totally loved the first novel, I liked the second one and… I loved this one ;-).

The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer

The Missing Girls def


What I’m reading now:

I loved The One and I really wanted to read more and see what a masterful writer he really is. When I saw his first novel (The One was actually his second novel) was available as a Read Now on Netgalley I didn’t hesitate. It’s not an investigation at all but it is intriguing and a good read so far.

When You Disappeared by John Marrs

When You Disappeared def


What I’ll (probably) read soon:

I’ve got my go-to sources for book recs and when they tell me they finished a 5-star novel, one which was really special, I get all excited. This happened to be the case here and I really wanted to read this one and see for myself. Thanks to some amazing blog friends I have a copy now and I’ll read it soon :-).

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant defEleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?


So that’s it, what are you reading this week? Share your link in the comments below so that I can come and take a look !

Goodreads Monday (August 2017)

goodreads monday

I saw this meme on Books, Vertigo and Tea and I thought this one seemed fun to join and feature on my blog from time to time as well! The original post of Goodreads Monday was posted by Lauren’s Page Turners. Thank you Lauren for this great idea. This really is a great way to help me take another look at all the books added to the wishlist so long ago and at the same time I can share some interesting titles.

There’s only one rule: Simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page turners and add your own links!


Added on 02 June 2016 : Precarious Infatuations by Anthony Hulse

This novel has a 4.47 star rating on Goodreads (24 out of 30 are five star ratings) but there’s no real review. I don’t like having nothing to compare to, especially because I’m not a big fan of the cover. I’m not into horror and this sure feels like it. The fact that so many people seem to really love this one wins me over this time.


Three people from dissimilar backgrounds are destined to meet under unusual circumstances.

A serial killer, a seller of computers and a young Muslim girl’s lives are connected by a series of tragic events.

DC Rosie Probert investigates the gangland shooting of a Brixton man, but could his brother really be responsible for a number of vigilante reprisals?

A story of coincidence, murder, terrorism, and vengeance, Precarious Infatuations will thrill, frighten, and enthral you.

What do you think? Sound good or doesn’t make you tick? After re-reading the blurb, I’m not entirely convinced but I’ll keep it for now!