500 Miles From You by Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan Synopsis: Lissa loves her job as a nurse, but recently she’s been doing a better job of looking after other people than looking after herself. After a traumatic incident at work leaves her feeling overwhelmed, she agrees to swap lives with someone in a quiet village in Scotland.

Cormac is restless. Just out of the army, he’s desperately in need of distraction, and there’s precious little of it in Kirrinfief. Maybe three months in London is just what he needs.

As Lissa and Cormac warm to their new lives, emailing back and forth about anything and everything, finally things seem to be falling into place. But each of them feel there’s still a piece missing. What – or who – could it be?

My Rating:3/5

My Review: I am weirdly shocked by how indifferent I felt about this book. I am a HUGE fan of Jenny Colgan books and normally devour them but for some reason this one just didn’t hit the mark. There are a few books I think featuring this part of Scotland and from memory I enjoyed them but again they weren’t maybe favourites of hers that I recall. Lissa is the main character and she is a nurse who is involved in a traumatic incident at work. This is the catalyst for her being asked by her work to do a placement swap meaning she would swap homes and jobs with somebody up in Scotland.

Cormac is the person Lissa ends up swapping with and as Lissa moves to the small village up in Scotland, Cormac makes his way to London. Don’t get me wrong the story was okay and I didn’t dislike this book but it just didn’t feel like JC other books. It didn’t flow as well and frankly I didn’t really care what happened to the characters. I am struggling to find many positives within this as it just felt the opposite of everything I normally feel when I read one of her books. I can only hope this was just one of those books I didn’t gel with and the next one returns to her usual kind of book that I love

Liar, Liar by Mel Sherratt (Grace Allendale #3)

51kOfccPY4L._SY346_ Synopsis: The truth can be a dangerous thing…

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.

Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I am absolutely LOVING this series and this book was no exception. Grace Allendale is back and this book felt much more focused on the story as opposed to anything personal about Grace. The first two books give you a real insight into her as a character which is great but this one was a pure page turner in terms of what why and who. It starts with a young boy Tyler Douglas ‘falling’ from a block of flats but conveniently nobody saw or heard anything.

At first we just see the storyline develop in terms of them questioning suspects and you will see a couple of characters brought into the fray. In addition a secondary thread switches between times and looks at Ruby back from when she was younger up to now. I can honestly say that I was really taken with the story and didn’t really want to put the book down.

This was such an enjoyable read and a brilliant addition to this series and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Luckily book 4 is already out so will be on my to read list in the not too distant future.

One Night on Ice by Mandy Baggot

51Wx1pEKuuL._SY346_ Synopsis: When routine-driven box office assistant, Samantha Smith, meets the stars of Skating on Broadway her life is turned upside down.

Immediately attracted to lead skater, Jimmy Lloyd, Samantha does her best to deny her feelings. But when all you can do is burst out laughing and hyperventilate every time you’re under pressure, keeping things under wraps is a hard task.

When the future of her beloved Civic Hall is threatened, Samantha must rise to the challenge to ensure its survival. Constantly scrutinised and criticised by her zany sister Cleo and her brogue-wearing boyfriend Jeremy, can Samantha save her job, save the Civic Hall and stop her panic attacks just long enough to give away her heart?

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: I really enjoy Mandy Baggot books and realised it had been way too long so I picked up this one as it was from back in 2019. I have read a fair few crime and thrillers so I needed something a little more light hearted. Samantha Smith is a pretty neurotic, socially challenged and complex character but for some reason one I liked a lot almost from the get go. She works as a box-office assistant for the Civic Hall and takes her job very seriously (like she does with most of her life).

The Civic Centre is hosting a show with the celebrity lead skater Jimmy Lloyd. Of course Samantha’s interests only seem to stretch as far as her beloved job so when their is the threat of the Centre closing she goes to pieces. The other character in this story other than Sam and Jimmy is Sam’s sister Cleo. Cleo is everything that Sam isn’t and is actually a decent balancing character for the book.

This isn’t one of my absolute favoruites by this author but was certainly a really good book that I thoroughloy enjoyed. It’s light-hearted and funny and such an easy read. I have yet to be dissapointed by any of Mandy Baggot’s and this is no exception.

Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt (Grace Allendale #2)

51n90jFlNdL._SY346_ Synopsis: TICK… In the city of Stoke, a teenage girl is murdered in the middle of the day, her lifeless body abandoned in a field behind her school.

TOCK…  Two days later, a young mother is abducted. She’s discovered strangled and dumped in a local park.

TIME’S UP…  DS Grace Allendale and her team are brought in to investigate, but with a bold killer, no leads and nothing to connect the victims, the case seems hopeless. It’s only when a third woman is targeted that a sinister pattern emerges. A dangerous mind is behind these attacks, and Grace realises that the clock is ticking…

Can they catch the killer before another young woman dies?

My Rating: 5/5 Continue reading “Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt (Grace Allendale #2)”

Hush Hush by Mel Sherratt (Grace Allendale #1)

51a6iBTZoIL Synopsis: A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.

All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.

To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I am a huge fan of Mel Sherratt and especially the Allie Shenton books so was excited I finally got around to reading about this new character! I must say I read this book in record time. Historically as a book blogger, I could read a book in a day or two, however since my working life has got super busy I no longer have as much time. However, this book…I admit I made time (let’s hope my boss doesn’t read this:-)). The lead character Grace comes across as super aloof and a little on edge from the get go, however learning that she lost her husband recently and has now moved back to where she grew up you can get an idea of why. However, I had no clue that her family secrets were a lot more tricky than that!

The Steele’s are a notorious family however, when you learn as a reader they are Grace’s family it just made it SO engaging. When murders seem to be surroundign the Steele’s and their businesses Grace has to walk a fine line. In addition she is working with a new team all of whom have their own opinion. I was so pleased the author made it clear where Grace stood from the outset, it made me admire her all the more. However the beauty of a story like this is how it will pan out in future books too. I read this book in a day and moved straight onto book 2. Looks like I’m headed for a Mel Sherratt binge to get myself up to date. Massively reccomended….and frankly the perfect choice for my first read of 2021.

Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen by Tilly Tennant

Cathys Christmas Kitchen Synopsis: As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…

Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.

There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart… Continue reading “Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen by Tilly Tennant”

Buried Angels by Patricia Gibney (Lottie Parker #8)

51jWwqHF-AL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ Synopsis:

When Faye Baker discovers a fragile child’s skull behind the walls of her new home, Detective Lottie Parker is called to investigate. The house has been owned for years by the family of Faye’s boyfriend Jeff, so when Jeff starts acting suspiciously, Lottie wonders what he might be hiding…

Lottie doesn’t have long to dig deeper before a child’s bones are found by eleven-year-old Gavin on nearby railway tracks. The bones don’t match the small skull behind the walls, but Lottie can’t ignore the coincidence. Someone out there must be missing their loved ones and it’s up to her to put right a terrible wrong.

Unable to shake a feeling of foreboding, Lottie goes to speak to Faye, and discovers that she hasn’t turned up for work. When Faye’s body is found stuffed in the back of her car, Lottie needs to find out who wanted her to keep quiet.

As Lottie hunts for Faye’s killer, the case takes a darker turn when Gavin goes missing. Faye and Gavin are connected only by the grisly body parts they discovered. But who are these little victims and why has their killer come back? Can Lottie find the answers before another precious life is taken?

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: I was very pleased to get stuck into this latest book. I have been a little gripped with this series and it’s characters, although I am finding I would love to see some changes. The opening of this book (and ending of the last one) may well be what I was waiting for. The storyline this time around involves a LOT of people. It starts with a lady named Faye when decorating her new home discovering a skull. What follows is the discovery of a childs bones on a nearby railway track. The story and writing were as previously very engaging, but with each book I read I feel like maybe there are some things missing.

This storyline although good involves a lot of characters, and sometimes it seems like the plot could have done with being more simplified. In addition I am coming back to the same things I have mentioned in previous reviews. As an avid reader part of the draw for me with a series is the characters and the investment and time we as readers make for them. I feel like Lottie continues to make the same mistakes and additional characters never get a look in. I would really love to see some characters such as Kirby get their own air time as well as Lottie maybe finally learning a few lessons. I do feel like her personal life and the decisions she is making with Boyd will maybe create a basis for more stability (Jesus I would hope so) and hopefully will enable the readers to get a feel for other people.

This is certainly a series that has grown on me and the writing is fabulous. It would be great to see changes in future books and I will still eagerly read the next installment.

Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney (Lottie Parker #7)

51s04OK7aGL Synopsis: One dark winter’s morning, bride-to-be Cara Dunne is found hanging in her home, dressed in her wedding dress, with a lock of hair removed. Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. Looking at Cara’s bruised and battered body, she wonders who could have hated her enough to kill her at the happiest time of her life.

The case takes a darker turn that afternoon with another shocking discovery – the broken body of a second young woman, pushed from the roof of the hospital where she worked. Fiona Heffernan was also due to be married, and her body is clad in a wedding dress, a lock of her hair cut off.

The killings seem so personal that Lottie is convinced the girls have been killed by someone they knew. When she goes to break the news to Fiona’s family, she’s on the alert for anything suspicious. But then she makes a discovery that causes her blood to run cold – Fiona’s eight-year-old daughter Lily didn’t return home from her dance recital that afternoon. Terrified that Lily will be the next victim of a twisted and dangerous individual, Lottie takes the case into her own hands, risking her life when she comes face-to-face with the killer…

My Rating: 4/5 Continue reading “Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney (Lottie Parker #7)”

Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney (Lottie Parker #6)

51xFRTcBc3L._SY346_ Synopsis: When Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan leave a local nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and don’t arrive home, their families are beside themselves with worry. Conor Dowling has just been released from prison, a man full of hatred for Amy, the girl who put him behind bars in the first place.

The case is given to Detective Lottie Parker, when the girls’ blood-soaked bodies are found, days later, in a derelict squat. Chillingly, both girls are clutching silver coins in their hands – what message is this killer leaving behind? All the signs point to Conor but his alibi is water tight.

As Lottie examines Penny and Amy’s final days alive in a desperate search for clues, two more girls are found stabbed to death in a luxury apartment complex. Caught up in what is fast becoming her toughest case yet, Lottie is unaware that somebody is watching her every move.

Then Lottie’s two daughters, Katie and Chloe suddenly disappear from the town centre. Terrified that the killer has her girls, the stakes have never been higher for Lottie.

But as Lottie puts everything on the line to find her daughters and solve the case, she’s about to find herself in terrible danger – someone has a personal axe to grind with her and they know the best way to get to her is to hurt the ones she loves the most.

My Rating: 3/5 Continue reading “Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney (Lottie Parker #6)”