Following up on #FridayFiveChallenge

I haven’t managed to choose a new Friday Five Challenge this week but I am reporting back on two challenge books I found in August and have finally read.


I bought A Stitch in Time by Amanda James because the travelling back in time appealed to me.  I would like to travel back in time but unlike Sarah, the heroine of this book, I would not want to be so actively involved.  In fact invisibility would be useful!

Sarah is a History teacher who was betrayed by her husband and best friend two years previously and now has no social life.  She is visited by a Time Needler who explains to her that she is needed to travel back in time to put in a stitch so that events don’t unravel.  She travels abruptly to Sheffield during the Blitz, becomes a housemaid in the early 20th century and experiences real hardship as a settler in the old American west.

I was disappointed in this book, the first of a series, because although the historical research is excellent, Sarah’s modern viewpoint made it seem untrue.  In the present day, Sarah’s on/off romance with John also lacks conviction perhaps because the characters seem so unrealistic.


Vanished by M G da Mota is a much more intriguing book, written from the viewpoint of Oliver, a rich, spoiled Formula One test driver recovering from a bad accident in his family’s stately home.  He becomes infatuated with his brother and sister’s beautiful governess but her former life is a mystery which he is determined to solve.  As he struggles to walk again, he tries to persuade Michele to fall in love with him, while at the same time using a private investigator to discover her past.  While this is happening, Michele investigates the murder of a previous resident of the house, with the blessing of Oliver’s family.

The mystery made me continue reading well into the night, although I had worked out Michele’s past life before it was revealed.  Oliver is not an empathetic character.  He has always had too much money and his handsome face has guaranteed a string of girlfriends.  He shows prejudice against homosexuals and an old fashioned attitude to the proper roles for men and women.  Michele, however, seems perfect in looks, generosity and intellect.  Why would Oliver appeal to her?  Was it all because of one random act of kindness?

I really enjoyed reading this book but struggled with my dislike of Oliver.  He just doesn’t deserve happiness.


Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at

cat coff

To join in read the rules at the bottom.

I decided to search Kindle fiction using the word Algarve as I won’t be back there till the end of September and I am getting withdrawal symptoms.  There were two books called The Algarve Affair which didn’t appeal because the title is just too obvious but I was intrigued with this cover picture and the simple title Vanished


Book Description

Oliver de Reece is a 34 year old, rich, spoiled, formula 1 test driver. One year ago, he suffered a bad car crash, which left him unable to walk for several months. While recovering at his parents’ stately home, he becomes intrigued and falls in love with the new governess, Michelle Mason, who was hired to look after Oliver’s much younger half-brother and half-sister, the younger children of his father’s second marriage. Michelle is beautiful, intelligent but puzzling, strange, secretive and overqualified for the job. What is she hiding? Why is she there? Is she really who she claims to be? Slowly, Oliver uncovers the mysterious layers of Michelle’s life! What he finds deeply shocks him but, before he can act, Michelle vanishes without a trace.

This sounds rather predictable, the sort of serial you might read in a women’s magazine but I’m still interested so I looked briefly inside.  The book starts with an incident on a beach in the Algarve when Oliver was 15.  He saved a girl’s life but he never saw her again.  Now I really do want to know more.  Unfortunately there is only one review though it is 5 star. The author M G da Mota has written two other books which also have only 1 or 2 reviews but maybe she’s not making enough use of social media?  She is a well travelled lady who writes reviews of opera and classical music for two magazines on the web.

So will I BUY or PASS?  I’ll BUY

What have others chosen this week?

Alison turned to an historical novel about a French princess

Cathy looked at Amazon’s selections for her and found a book about Christmas!

Barb has found a delightful children’s book

I thought Rosie had also chosen a children’s book from the cover but it’s actually adult humour

Terry has found some beauty secrets for those of us who are over 50

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

A Deadly Learning by Faith Mortimer


A Diana Rivers Mystery

This is the sixth book in the series of mysteries solved by “author” Diana Rivers, but as the real author, Faith Mortimer says, each one can be read in isolation.

Diana Rivers and her husband Steve have decided to take a break from their home in Cyprus by going to stay with their old friend, Wendy, who is assistant head at Lagos International School and College in Portugal.  She has asked them to come to help celebrate the twenty first birthday of her god-daughter, Louise.

But their relaxing holiday is soon interrupted by a gruesome discovery, buried behind a wall in the cellar of the science block which is being renovated.  The remains of the body have been there for three years and while Steve has to travel to Lisbon and London, Diana applies her detecting abilities to solving this murder.  She questions students and staff, putting herself in severe danger.  Many of them are involved in illegal and unpleasant activities which they wish to remain secret, whether or not there is a connection to the body.

Louise is a worry to both Diana and Wendy as she has become involved with a fellow student, who is a particularly unpleasant young man, affecting both her studies and her behaviour.  The staff are a disparate group of men and women, young and mature, who also have their own problems and no-one can be excluded from the investigation, especially after another death occurs.

There are a large cast of characters in this story but they are clearly described with well-defined characteristics and the reader feels that Diana is a safe pair of hands even if she is rather fool-hardy.  The mystery is maintained almost to the last page, in a very complex plot.

I read this while staying in the Algarve, which I know well, and although I could imagine the rather different environment of a college, I didn’t feel a strong sense of place beyond the scenes on the beach.

I will certainly read another “Diana Rivers” mystery even though she is so annoyingly perfect, as Faith Mortimer writes fluent enjoyable prose keeping me guessing up to the last minute.

Rosie's Book Review team 1