book reviews February 2024

Book Reviews February 2024

The post Book Reviews February 2024 is part of the #What’sonyourBookshelfchallenge


Hello Everybody and welcome to my Book Reviews February 2024 post. 

I hope you have had a good reading month.  Mine has been really enjoyable if somewhat sparse!  I seem to be getting slower at reading.  

I shared this month on my social media pages that I discovered a lovely, little bookshop together with a cafe near my home.

I really feel for the small independent bookshops.  I personally love wondering around a physical shop to see which books jump out to me, demanding to be read next. 

However, the price of books in physical bookshops are significantly higher  than online or from larger outlets such as supermarkets and discount stores. 

Whilst I want bookshops to remain a part of our High Street experience it is quite hard to justify spending significantly more on a book, knowing you could probably get it for half the price elsewhere.   

Perhaps physical bookshops will need to focus on providing a quality product – hardback books with fancy covers or coffee table books with exquisite photos, together with coffee shops, book talks, book clubs and an event venue.  This little shop does seem to be incorporating these ideas. 

 If I’m shopping for a special gift for Christmas, this would certainly be appealling.  

What do you think?  Do you regularly shop in a physical independant bookshop or is it just too expensive?  

Thanks to the following bloggers for allowing me to take part in the #Whatsonyourbookshelf challenge.

Deb from Deb’s World

Jo from AndAnyways

Donna from Retirement Reflections

Sue from Women Living Well after 50

Please following the link here to check out the other book reviews in this challenge.  I’m sure you are going to discover lots of interesting books to add to your book wish list.

So here’s my Book Reviews for February 2024


Everyone on this Train is a Suspect – Benjamin Stevenson (fiction)

Everyone on this train is a suspect Benjamin Stevenson

I was keen to read this book after hearing the author talk about his writing process at a recent author talk (I have written about it HERE)

It’s a typical locked room mystery, written in the style of Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder/Hawthorn series,  where the narrator is an author commenting on his life.  As Stevenson is both a comedian and literary agent he brings comedy and clever writing skills and structure to his book.   

This is actually the second book in a series for the main character, the first book being Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone, which I haven’t read yet.  This book still made sense and can be read as a standalone. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and will now have to read the first book in the series.   

The Blurb:

A debut writer (the narrator of the story) is invited to a crime writing festival set on The Ghan, a famous train which travels between Darwin and Adelaide.  

There are five other authors onboard who are all acclaimed mystery/thriller writers.  When one of the group is murdered these five authors quickly turn into five detectives who should all have the skills to be able to solve the mystery.  But of course, they all have the skills to commit a murder too!. 

The Last Devil to Die – Richard Osman (fiction)

The last devil to die Richard Osman
This is the fourth book in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club.  I really enjoyed the others so was very keen to dive into this one.
This is another witty, cozy murder style book, with very likeable and relatable characters.  The series follows four unlikely friends living in a retirement village and provides a different outlook and perspective on life.
This book delves deeper into the consequences of getting old and the spectre of death that haunts retirement villages.  Osman manages a difficult subject with empathy and compassion, whilst still maintaining his trademark wit and pithy observations on life.  
Again, I really enjoyed this book and found myself whipping through the pages.
The Blurb:
When one of the Thursday Murder Club’s friends from the antiques business is found murdered they gather into action to try to solve why.  It soon becomes apparent that he was protecting a dangerous package that has gone missing.
A range of dubious groups are also on the hunt for the package, dragging the four friends into dangerous confrontations with drug dealers, fraudsters and art forgers.  
As the body count rises,  can the four friends survive to find the package and solve the mystery?  And who will be the last devil to die? 

Sisters under the Rising Sun – Heather Morris (fiction)

sister under the rising sun Heather Morris

I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this book after hearing the author speak at a recent book promotion (I commented on it HERE).  During the talk she was extremely passionate about her subject matter, which is all based on real life events.  Morris is the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which I haven’t read yet but have downloaded onto my kindle.  

This book is based on the women and children who were taken hostage during the Second World War by the Japanese when they invaded Singapore and Indonesia.  

The main characters within the book are the Australian nurses who survived the bombing of the Vyner Brooke, a merchant ship that was attempting to evacuate civilians from Singapore.  

I’m about half way through the book but wanted to include it in this month’s reading review, as my books read is a bit slim!

So far I am really enjoying the book although I would highlight that it doesn’t read like an historical fiction book.  It is much more like separate memoirs of the individuals involved, but linked together to provide a timeline. 

The horror and atrocities that the survivors and hostages endured is unbelievable.  Books like these are a reminder of the evils of war but also the bravery and courage of ordinary people fighting to survive.  

The blurb:

February 1942: Australian army nurses Nesta James and Vivian Bullwinkel have just arrived in Singapore, after escaping the Japanese invading army in Malaya.  Their hopes of being stationed in Singapore to help the Allied troops are soon shattered when Japan bombs and invades Singapore.  

Norah Chambers is an English musician, who with her husband and daughter also escape Malaya to Singapore.  Within days, Norah has to send her eight year old daughter on her own on a ship to Australia.  Soon after she and her husband board the Vyner Brooke hoping to be reunited with their daughter in Australia. 

The Vyner Brooke is soon bombed, the few survivors being washed up on a remote island.  The Japanese take all the survivors to a POW camp where they face starvation and brutality.  

In an attempt to defy their desperate situation, Norah encourages everyone to form a ‘vocal orchestra’ and use music to help bring hope amidst their despair.  

Well, that’s it for this month.  Drop me a comment below, and do let me know what you’ve been reading this month. I love hearing about good books!

If you missed my last book review you can catch up HERE

Book reviews February 2024

7 thoughts on “Book Reviews February 2024”

  1. Pingback: Book Reviews March 2024 - New Leaf Health and Wellbeing

  2. I adore independent bookshops, but there’s so few of them around these days – and that’s beyond sad. Price is definitely an issue, but I do love one with a point of difference – art, a cafe, something else to bring you in and keep you in. I really should make more of an effort to get out and visit more of them. As to your reviews – I’ve read your first 2 books (and loved them) but Sisters Under The Rising Sun sounds fascinating.

    1. I also love secondhand bookshops but these also seem to be getting more expensive and rare.
      I forgot to mention that the movie Paradise Road is based on one of the nurses experiences who is also referenced in Sisters of the Rising Sun. The movie was more confrontational I feel but how any of the POW’s survived in the jungle camps plagued by disease and heat is astonishing

  3. Hi, Janine – Thank you for joining us at #WOYBS. You pose a great question about small, independent bookstores. (Actually, your question is one of the big themes in the 1998 film, ‘You’ve Got Mail.’) While, I love small, independent bookshops, I must confess that I get the majority of my books from our local library. But we do have a great local independent bookstore that sells both new and used books. When I purchase physical books, I usually do so from there. 😀

    1. Hi Donna, thanks for the comment and the blogging link up. I’d omitted libraries as another source (one that I’m back using much more) which is obviously free. I guess if you want a specialist book or something more unusual an independent bookshop is more likely to be able to source it.

  4. Hi Janine, I’ve just finished the first book by Benjamin Stevenson and enjoyed it, I’m waiting for the one you read to come through on my library app. All the Richard Osman ones have been fun to read haven’t they? I get what you mean about bookshops and the difference in prices, it’s hard as they are so much nicer places to buy books. Thanks for joining us for WOYBS.

    1. Hi Debbie – thanks for your comment and the link up. Yes loved the Richard Osman books. Have just seen he has a new series coming out later in the year – a bodyguard and her Dad solving murders. Sounds good too!

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