Spring Mini ReviewsSometimes it’s hard to write reviews. So, rather than leave them languishing as drafts, I’ve decided to share them as mini reviews instead.

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Olive, Mabel & Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs by Andrew Cotter



From Goodreads: Olive, Mabel and Me is the new book from broadcaster Andrew Cotter and his now internet famous canine companions, Olive and Mabel. Olive and Mabel went viral on social media with their sporting contests during the COVID-19 lockdown, with Andrew Cotter’s unique commentary propelling the videos to over 40 million views. Now Cotter shares stories of his adventures with his loveable (and occasionally exasperating) canine companions in this beautifully written, touching and laugh-out-loud funny new book.”

I enjoyed listening to Andrew Cotter reading this audiobook about his relationship with his Labradors, Olive and Mabel and all the other dogs he’s had in his life. It was a lovely listen, full of warmth and a wonderful sense of humour, that made me sigh in delight, but also guffaw as he described Olive and Mabel’s antics. The love for his dogs really shined through , but not in a soppy or sentimental way as he’s not that sort of person, and I wouldn’t enjoy listening to something like that. I loved hearing about the dog’s personalties and how different they are to each other, although they do both love their food, and don’t like the cat next door! I also loved hearing about their walks in the mountains which sounded fantastic, and made me head to YouTube to watch a video I hadn’t seen yet. I recommend this audiobook if you’ve enjoyed Olive and Mabel’s exploits and want to know more about their human and their journey to becoming viral on social media.

Thanks so much To Hope Roy at Tantor Media for my digital copy.


Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question. With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…
Powerful, explosive and important, Truth Be Told is a contemporary courtroom drama that vividly captures today’s society. You will not stop thinking about it for a long time to come.

Available from – Bookshop.org (affiliate)Hive Waterstones Amazon

I absolutely loved Take It Back the author’s debut, and I eagerly anticipated this second book. It’s another very good story, but about male rape this time which is not something that’s spoken about much, if at all. It’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had as victims need to be heard and helped. This book did a fantastic job at starting that conversation along with the issue of toxic masculinity. I didn’t find it as much of a page turner as Take It Back as it felt like it was a very similar plot with the court case and problems surrounding it. I really enjoyed finding out more about Zara though, particularly about had happened between her and her father, which was hinted at in the first book. I enjoyed seeing her character grow and look forward to seeing what happens in future books. 


Lost Property by Helen Paris

cover217489-mediumFrom Goodreads: Dot Watson works at the Transport for London Lost Property Office. Every day, she diligently catalogues the objects found on buses, tubes and trains. She’s the custodian of hundreds of black umbrellas, a surprising number of shoes and one mid-century sofa. But it is not only the objects in her care that are lost, Dot is too. Ten years ago, her life veered unexpectedly off course and she has never quite recovered. So when Mr Appleby comes in looking for a lost bag, something in the way he holds himself catches Dot off-guard. His late wife’s purse was in the holdall, it was empty but he liked to keep it near. By the time the bag is handed in, the old man’s details are no longer on file but Dot can’t let it go. Determined to reunite Mr Appleby with his wife’s purse, she examines the bag, gathers her clues and sets off to find him. Dot knows a thing or two about grief. But it’s possible, though she doesn’t yet know it, that in helping Mr Appleby, she might be helping herself too.

Pre-order from – Audible

I’m really not sure how I feel about this book, as it had a lot of serious themes in it, suicide, sexual assault, an elderly parent with dementia, homelessness, sibling rivalry, and depression. I enjoyed the stories of the lost property items and customers that Dot tried to help, but I found some of the story quite hard going at times. It’s supposed to be an uplifting book, and although I found a few parts laugh out loud funny, it was mostly a sad book for me. I loved the narration by Joanna Scanlan, she really brought Dot and all the cast of characters to life perfectly, and I’d definitely listen to other audiobooks narrated by her.

Thanks so much NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Audio for my digital copy via the NetGalley app.