A Christmas Crime by Tara Lyons (Short Story)

51k5aMy6zxL._SY346_ SYNOPSIS: With snow falling in a quaint Surrey Village, it’s the perfect setting for Holly and Christopher’s dream Christmas wedding. But instead of enjoying mince pies and mistletoe, their happiness is threatened by old secrets and someone harbouring a grudge. When the truth is finally revealed, can the couple enjoy the festivities with their family, or is their marriage doomed from the start?

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

My Review: This is a perfect short story to read even for me as I am not a huge fan of short stories. I am LOVING Tara’s series featuring DI Hamilton and also enjoyed her last standalone. This is like a little glimmer of a treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can only hope we get another fix of Hamilton soon or another standalone…can’t wait!

Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas

51JhOcODbOL._SY346_ Synopsis: Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met. Continue reading

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson

48118701._SY475_ Synopsis: ‘Sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of us, Kat. Everyone has secrets, even the people we love, the people we live with…’

Kat remembers the days when her only daughter Amy wouldn’t leave her side. Amy was the baby who cried when you walked out of the room, the toddler who was too shy to speak to strangers, the small child who clung to Kat’s legs in the school playground.

But now Amy is grown up, and Amy is gone – to university in a town several hours away. Kat’s house – which once felt too full, too noisy, too busy – is deathly quiet, and Kat awaits the daily phone call to tell her that her beloved daughter is thriving and happy. Continue reading

Child’s Play by Angie Marsons (Kim Stone #11)

51+76Zht6yL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ Synopsis: Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.

The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.

Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event. Continue reading

Hattie’s Home For Broken Hearts by Tilly Tennant

51SRPovwiML._SY346_ Synopsis: Escape to the daisy-strewn windswept Dorset cliffs, to the donkey sanctuary at Sweet Briar Farm, where Hattie Rose is about to find, that in this world, the most unlikely opposites can sometimes attract …

Hattie was once thrilled to call the beautiful city of Paris her home. But when her heart is broken by her boyfriend and she loses her dream job, she bids farewell to the city of love and hurries home to Gillypuddle, a sleepy village on the Dorset coast. But as she returns home she finds her parents struggling to cope with a terrible family tragedy. Continue reading

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara

download Synopsis: Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most.

It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

My rating: 4/5

My review: I love Ali McNamara books but have to say I actually started this book twice and put it down. It has a little bit of a slow start and I think that was my issue initially. However, putting it down and coming back to it was the best thing to do. Once I came back to it I started again and it was an easy read. I think I needed to be in the right frame of mind (anyone else get that?).

Amelia is a single mum who is struggling to make ends meet. She receives a  call from a solicitor who tells her that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Castle by the sea. When she finally realises this is an opportunity she needs to take she finally makes the move and her and her son Charlie take the chance and move to Chesterford Castle.

The additional characters that appear in this story absolutely make it and they include Dorothy and Arthur who live there as Castle staff along with Joey and Tiffany. As Amelia and Charlie settle, Amelia begins to realise that living in the castle although great, also comes with the responsibility of ensuring the castle stays in tip top shape and that people still come to visit.

As a reader you are definitely taken along for the journey and although there is also a ‘ghost’ element to this story (not normally something I like) it was done fantastically and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tom arrives at the castle and becomes the restorer as well as builders who start t covert outbuildings and as time goes on more and more things start to happen which cause Amelia to wonder whether she has made the right choice.

This story although slow to start (for me anyway) ended up being a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Although it seems to be a slight step away from what McNamara normally does it still has her signature style of writing and characters you love. In the end I wondered why I had waited so long to read this and would definitely recommend.

Down to the Woods by M J Arlidge (Helen Grace #8)

51xACdIlkaL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_ Synopsis: If you go down to the woods today . . .

The last thing Tom Campbell remembers is camping in the New Forest with his girlfriend, Melissa. Now he is helpless, alone and consumed by fear, hunted through the woods by a sinister, masked figure…

When Tom’s body is found, displayed with grisly relish, Helen Grace takes the case. But before she can catch her breath, a second victim is taken – a serial killer is on the loose.

You better not go alone . . .

Something dark and deadly stalks the forest. Helen and her team must race against time to catch the perpetrator, before more blood is shed. But the hunt will take Helen back into the eerie twilit woods – and this time she might not make it out alive.

My Rating: 4/5 Continue reading

My Girl by Jack Jordan

download Synopsis: Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me. From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

My Review: This is my first book by Jack Jordan and I was pleasantly surprised. Paige Dawson is our lead character and in short she is a mess. She is a functioning alcoholic who pops pills to make her life seem a little easier. Since her daughters death 10 years previously as well as her husbands more recent suicide she is sliding down a slippery and very destructive route. At first she is written off as somebody who is seeing things when she convinces herself she didn’t leave the TV on, or the recorder playing. Of course everybody else assumes its Paige in her own world. Pretty soon Paige knows that something is amiss especially when she discovers that her husband was hiding a gun in their house.

The writing was good and the pace was certainly set early on in the book. However, there were a couple of things that I think could have been left out (such as the issue with her Doctor, that made me super uncomfortable) and at parts the story felt padded when it didn’t need to be. Those small niggles aside I think this was an interesting read which certainly kept my attention. I will definitely be reading other books of his I have waiting on my ever growing to be read list

My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Synopsis: When life hands you lemons … is it ever too late for a second chance?

Zelda’s impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best?

But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can’t hide the shadow hanging over Citta d’Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there’s a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around…

Could a summer in Sicily help Zelda learn to trust her instinct and follow her heart?

My Rating: 4/5

Continue reading

The Sting by Kimberley Chambers

51F9I9jsy4L Synopsis: Tommy Boyle and Scratch always had each other’s backs. But old loyalties die hard on London’s streets, and when Tommy throws his lot in with the notorious Darling family, Scratch gets thrown to the wolves.

TWO SIDES OF THE LAW.

Shedding her old life for the Old Bill, Scratch goes undercover on Operation Sting. Bringing down the Darlings’ empire will be her duty – and getting revenge for an old friend’s sins will be her pleasure.

ONE SHOCKING TWIST.

My Rating: 4/5 Continue reading