A Family Recipe by Veronica Henry

A Family Recipe Synopsis: Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent – a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga – seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom.

But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother’s recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura’s jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles . . . Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose.

Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return .

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I have really enjoyed Veronica Henry’s books in the past but this felt like a step up from anything she has written in the past. It was an amazingly good read full of warmth, feeling, love, laughter and tears across two timelines. Lark Hill in Bath with the character Laura is front and centre with this story. Laura is suffering empty nest syndrome when her youngest daughter Willow leaves for University. With her elder daughter already at Uni she finds herself struggling to find her place. Laura’s grandmother Kanga (AKA Jilly) lives on the grounds in the smaller house having given up her house for Laura and her husband Dom to raise their family. In addition to seeing Laura and Dom’s life in current time, we also see Jilly living through the Blitz in the 1940’s.

Both storylines were totally engaging and full of emotion to the point that I really didn’t want to put the book down. Its a real story of overcoming adversity and in the case of Jilly and Laura their love of food and family recipes is one of the key things that they are both drawn to. I don’t need to share any more of the storyline because it will just ruin the book so please take my advice, pick this one up I really don’t think you will regret it!

No Going Back by Casey Kelleher (Lucy Murphy 3)

No Going Back Synopsis: A child has been taken. A family is out for revenge.

Riley Cooke is just one day old when he is stolen from the hospital. His young mother, Shelby, is beside herself. DC Lucy Murphy and her team face a race against time to find the vulnerable baby and bring him home – before the child’s grandfather, fearsome gangster Pete Baker, takes matters into his own hands.

Pete is sure he knows who’s behind baby Riley’s abduction, and he thinks they ought to pray Lucy finds them before he does. Because someone is going to pay dearly for causing this much pain to his family.

They say never stand between a gangster and his target. But that’s exactly what Lucy must do – because if Pete is wrong, innocent blood could flow.

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: Casey Kelleher NEVER fails to impress me with her books and this one is no different. I have really taken to Lucy Murphy as a lead character and her backstory is so interesting and makes reading about her that little bit more intriguing. This time around Lucy and the team have to deal with a missing child. However, it’s not quite that simple as there has been a recent case involving the murder of a pregnant woman nearby. Ashley Cooke and his girlfriend Shelby are the people on the harrowing end of their child being taken. What doesn’t help matters is that Shelby’s father Pete is a known gangster and Ashley has also got himself into hot water in other ways, so are either of those factors cause for somebody to steal their baby?

This storyline had me gripped from the beginning to the end and although I did finally work out the kidnapper it was pretty late in the game! You could probably read this as a standalone but reading the first two books first of all are brilliant and are worth reading, but they also give you some real background on Lucy and the other supporting characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and CK remains one of my favourite authors!

Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan (Mure 4)

41MfLOxFySL Synopsis: When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs.

Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she’s been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate.

But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . .

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: Oh how I have missed Mount Polbearne! I was SO excited that this latest book was set in one of my favourite fictional places. We get to see characters from other books such as Polly (but don’t worry if you haven’t read previous books as this won’t affect reading this as a standalone). Marisa Rossi sadly loses her Grandfather and spirals into a place where she cannot function and her solution to this issue is to move to Mount Polbearne which should give her the peace and space she needs to grieve. She didn’t count on a noisy piano teacher Alexei from Russia as her new neighbour.

Polly and her husband Huckle are having financial problems with their bakery and we get to catch up on their lives. When disaster strikes Marisa manages to become involved in the solution to fixing Polly’s problems. As such Polly unwittingly manages to help Marisa deal with her grief and build her confidence once again. These Plobearne books are pure escapism and are books that I think I could read over and over again and still enjoy just as much. Another brilliant book that delivers pure escapism at its finest.

The Last Bodyguard by Sean Black

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Synopsis: In the latest action-packed thriller from the award-winning novelist who writes with ‘the pace of Lee Child, and the heart of Harlan Coben,’ ex-military bodyguard Ryan Lock plunges into the nightmare world of sex trafficking.

When fourteen-year-old Kristin Miller goes missing from her quiet home in the San Fernando Valley, her desperate family turn to ex-military bodyguard, Ryan Lock. Along with his partner, Marine Corps veteran Ty Johnson, Lock sets out on a journey that takes him deep into a dark, disturbing and violent world, where young women are selected, groomed and then exploited by ruthless predators.

With law enforcement’s hands tied, Lock dispenses his own brand of street justice as he tracks down Kristin, taking revenge on anyone who stands in his way. Can he get to her before it’s too late?

My Rating: 5/5

I am a HUGE Sean Black fan, and even though this book is a slight departure from the normal format of these books its still a fantastic read. When I say it is different, I mean it is a slightly different (and at times sensitive) topic relating to sex trafficking, but also feels slightly more sedate in terms of Ryan and Ty as characters. This isn’t a simple open and shut case of catching and when necessary killing the bad guys. It’s more of them delving into a new world that they haven’t had to deal with in the past.

Ryan has a seemingly simple task of tracking down a missing 14 year old girl. However, it leads to the murky world of sex trafficking and both he and Ty are dragged into something they just cannot turn their back on. It is still packed with action and the writing and storyline are just as brilliant as all of his other books. However, we see a slightly less than perfect version of them this time around, whether thats age or just taking their eye off the ball I don’t know. What I do know is that as a team they are not a pair you should mess with. Another cracking read that I absolutely loved and I cannot recommend this series highly enough!

Publication List – Veronica Henry

Honeycote (2002) aka A Country Christmas
Making Hay (2003) aka A Country Life
Wild Oats (2004)
An Eligible Bachelor (2005)
Love on the Rocks (2006)
Just a Family Affair (2008) aka A Country Wedding
Marriage And Other Games (2009)
The Birthday Party (2010)
The Beach Hut (2010) Beach Hut 1
The Long Weekend (2012)
A Night on the Orient Express (2013)
The Beach Hut Next Door (2014) Beach Hut 2
High Tide (2015)
How to Find Love in a Bookshop (2016)
The Forever House (2017)
Christmas at the Beach Hut (2018) Beach Hut 3
A Family Recipe (2018)
A Home From Home (2019)
A Wedding at the Beach Hut (2020) Beach Hut 4
A Day at the Beach Hut (2021) Beach Hut 5
The Impulse Purchase (Due 2022)
 
 
 
  
  
   
   
   

Dead Secret by Noelle Holten (Maggie Jamieson 4)

51t3-f23kjL Synopsis: Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…

DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.

Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.

That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.

Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I have to say this was my favourite book by Noelle so far….by a mile! Maggie Jamieson is maybe not a conventional character in some ways but is very enjoyable to read about. The storyline involves the murder of a man  clearly murdred but with strange markings on his face.If that wasn’t enough Maggies very own colleague and superior DI Hastings then goes missing and that takes the story up by quite a few notches. Then a woman turns up at a refuge run by Maggies friend Lucy. A lot of the characters you read about have all featured in previous books so as each book passes as the reader you certainly feel more invested in allof the characters.

There is a lot of intrigue and action in this latest book and it took me only a couple of days to plough through it in its entirety. This series seems to be going from strength to strength and even though you can read this as a standalone it always flows better when you have the history of all the characters. I absolutely loved this book and would defintely recommend it and I am really looking forward to the next installment.

Good Girl by Mel Sherratt (Grace Allendale 4)

51-tMaqPvCL Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Erin Ellis is attacked, she dies in the arms of her best friend Molly, just metres from her home. Molly is the surviving girl but says she easily could have been the victim – it was a random mugging gone wrong.

With inconclusive evidence, DS Grace Allendale must dig deep within the tight-knit Stoke community for leads. And she soon finds that someone had a motive to kill Erin.

As the investigation unfolds, Grace is reminded of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career.

Is the past coming back to haunt her? And can she push through her fear to catch Erin’s killer before it’s too late?

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I was anticipating and dreading this book in equal measures. This is the fourth and last book in this series featuring Grace Allendale. This final book sees Erin Ellis dying in her best friend Molly’s arms. It’s certainly a dramatic opening and one that had me engrossed from the very beginning.  It happened just yards away from Erin’s home and it appears at first glance to be a mugging gone wrong. As with any Mel Sherratt book you know it’s never going to be that simple.

The story progresses with the usual door knocking and delving into Erin’s life and things slowly are uncovered that make it clear it isn’t necessarily cut and dried. Grace’s involvement with the Steele family once again creeps into the investigation. There are a lot of twists and turns and it’s certainly a book that will keep you engaged and totally absorbed. I absolutely loved this final book and the series. Highly recommended

A New Happy Place by Ruth Hanna

51EgaF231NL Synopsis: How do you get your mojo back when you’ve got a broken heart?

Violet is a seamstress who has big dreams of designing her own wedding gowns and opening her own bridal shop. But things fall apart when she finds Philip, her boyfriend, in a compromising position with one of her colleagues.

Violets decides it is time to go back home to her eccentric mother and particular father, Fred. And after wallowing, Violet decides to re-evaluate her life, put the past behind her, and search for happiness.

She meets with old friends and builds an unlikely friendship with a group of zany women from her mother’s Zumba class.

With the help of her friends, old and new, Violet begins to rebuild her life. Then she meets the handsome Ben Matthews and there is instant chemistry. But with life throwing up yet more problems, their relationship is put to the test.

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I picked this book up having no idea that I had never read this author before, I can assure you after finishing it Ruth Hanna is going straight up the list of authors to read in the future. Violet is our main character but her life literally falls apart when she finds her boyfriend in a compromising position. She decides to up sticks and go back to her parents Violet and Fred.

This book I read in just two sittings over two days and absolutely loved every page. I was truly disappointed when I had finished it. Violet and her parents are such great characters to read about and I loved  the setting, where they lived along with all the other featuring characters. The crazy golden girls of the village at their Zumba class and then the wonderful Ben Matthews! This book was a sheer pleasure to read and I would highly recommend it, a true feel good read!

Trapped by Anna Smith (Kerry Casey 4)

516C3cpWCuL Synopsis: Kerry Casey is still reeling from the bombshell that her lover, undercover cop Vinny Burns, has gone missing in Spain. She’s pregnant with his baby and will do anything to find him.

One night, driving along a country road, Kerry and her Uncle Danny are ambushed by gunmen. In the confusion that follows, shots are fired and two men are murdered. Kerry and Danny can only look on as the bodies are dragged from their assailant’s car and placed in their own.

The police arrive in minutes. With cocaine, dead bodies and guns in the car, it looks like an open-and-shut case.

Kerry’s been framed. She is forced to wait out her fate inside a women’s prison, still not knowing what has happened to Vinnie. On the outside the Casey gang are hunting down the men who did this to her and they will stop at nothing to find them.

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I have been desperate to read this book which is thelast of the 4 featuring Kerry Casey. If you haven’t read the other three books this review may contain spoilers. At the end of book 3 we as readers knew that Kerry was questioning where her lover and undercover copper Vinny was. With that huge worry she also has to try and keep herself safe and well as she is pregnant. When her and her uncle Danny are travelling one night they are well and truly stitched up and watch as two men are murdered.   Before they know it, the police arrive and they are both arrested and before long the only thing that looks certain is a prison sentance.

I was literally on the edge of my seat with this final installment and it delivered by the bucketload. By the time I got to the last quarter of the book I was beside myself needing to fnd out what happens. The last quarter of the book was amazing and I am SO glad that the book wrapped up the way it did. I absolutely loved the Rosie Gilmour series and was devastated when it ended. Then I fell in love with Kerry Casey and her crew. However, this time I didn’t feel AS devastated because I just know that Anna Smiths next book will no doubt be just as amazing. Anna Smith is an amazing author and one that I HIGHLY reccomend. If you haven’t read her books before, start off at the beginning with her Rosie Gilmour Series, you wont regret it.

Check out Anna Smith’s books in order of publication here

 

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

51FFIP5HAYL Synopsis: Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

My Rating: 3/5

My Review: I have been reading Carole Matthews for over 20 years and rarely dislike a book she writes. I certainly didn’t dislike this book but it just wasn’t as good as some of her other books. The main character Molly just seemed a little flat and to be honest a little annoying. Shelby is the other main character and I didn’t feel like he was any more endearing. A well known actor with a son who he frankly couldn’t be bothered to look after. Therefore he drops him at Hope Farm where Molly runs the place with the help of her colleagues Bev and Alan.

The story was okay and it was certainly an easy read. However it was super predicatble and along with the fact I didn’t care for the characters meant I just wasn’t that bothered what happened.  I finished it but being totally truthful it was just unmemorable and I couldn’t help but feel a little dissapointed.