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

Torment by Mark Tilbury

41imG5xeyiL Synopsis: Beth couldn’t be happier. She is eight weeks pregnant and married to the man of her dreams. But after returning home from a celebratory meal, she finds a wreath from her sister’s grave hanging above the bed and a kitchen knife embedded in her pillow. There are no signs of a forced entry. Nothing is stolen. And no one other than the cleaner has a key to the house. 

Then a campaign of terror begins. Beth becomes increasingly paranoid as it becomes clear that someone close to the family is behind these disturbing events.  But who would want Beth dead? Does the past hold the clue? And can Beth find the answer before it’s too late?

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: Beth is the main character and is currently pregnant again following past miscarriages. Along with her husband David they are looking forward to the pregnancy and life seems good for them. That is until they arrive home one day to find a wreath from her sisters grave hanging above their bed. This is the start of a very different life to what they planned.

The ensuing story is a very detailed and disturbing tale and highlights just how much havoc things like that have on a person and how their life is truly affected. In this case Beth becomes almost a different person. As the story progresses the tension seems to up a notch with every single day that passes and another event happens. Before too long I think I had suspected every character in this book of being the culprit but that’s the beauty of this book, is that you (and Beth) are never quite sure. 

I have never read Mark Tilbury before but this was certainly a page turner for me and I will most definitely be looking out for books of his in the future.

A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan (Mure #2 Short Story)

51FnMi6vXdL Synopsis: Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.

Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he’s also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.

Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna’s life will change forever.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: At 160 pages this is a short read, but having just finished the first book in this series I was thrilled to be able to take a closer look at Lorna and Saif. Book one introduces you to the tiny island of Mure and we met Flora who was the star of the show. However, her friend Lorna also featured and like everybody else was an interesting character. All we really knew about her from book 1 was that she ran the local school on the island and she had developed a crush on the Island Doctor Saif.

Although I am not a fan of short stories, this was enough of a bite to give a bit more detail into both Lorna and Saif in the lead up tp the follow up book. It was a quick, easy and thoroughly enjoyable read and enabled me to get ready for the next book.

The Innocent Ones by Neil White

51+5dZjEMkL Synopsis: Three lives cut short. Two decades of silence. One evil secret.

By day, the park rings with the sound of children’s excited laughter. But in the early hours of the morning, the isolated playground is cloaked in shadows – the perfect hiding place to conceal a brutal murder.

When London journalist, Mark Roberts, is found battered to death, the police quickly arrest petty thief, Nick Connor. Criminal defence lawyer, Dan Grant, along with investigator Jayne Brett, are called to represent him – but with bloody footprints and a stolen wallet linking him to the scene, this is one case they’re unlikely to win. Continue reading

The Darkness Around Her by Neil White (Dan Grant Trilogy #2)

51ETAhnt8AL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ See no evil . . . 

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer, Peter Box. The evidence is strong, but did he actually do it? He didn’t know Lizzie, so why would he kill her?

Hear no evil . . .

As Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin their case, they discover a number of murders and disappearances along the canals, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused of her murder, but then Dan finds out that Peter tried to confess to that crime as well and was ignored.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who won’t tell anyone what really happened, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved in every murder and disappearance, they realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . . Continue reading

The Woman Next Door by Sue Watson

51O3YxPqDjLSynopsis: Lucy has a kind and adoring husband, a job she loves as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue with floaty curtains and the softest bed linen. After her troubled childhood, she knows life will never be perfect, but it’s pretty close.

She’s also got Amber, right next door. They never run out of things to talk about. Even if Amber’s life – with her high-profile job and handsome, wealthy boyfriend – is more glamorous than Lucy’s.

But then Amber starts to hint that her life isn’t all it seems, and when she comes to Lucy, terrified, saying that she’s getting threatening messages, Lucy promises to protect her. Continue reading