Ladies Who Launch by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

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Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: So the follow up from the Short Story Here Come The Boys is this one and it’s a perfect continuation and wrap up of both Angie and Selina’s story. Angie and Selina are now firm friends following their years of not speaking after their school days. Their last trip resulted in Seina making the brave decision to leave her husband and it made Angie see what she had waiting for her at home!

This book seemed a little shorter than the last and I literaly read it in about 10 minutes. I think this would have been better being added on to the last short story. Unfortunately about 40% of this was the short story and the rest is extracts from another MJ book. Couldn’t helpp being a little bit dissapointed but am hoping we return with a full length book at some point to see how Angie and Selina are getting on.

Here Come The Boys by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

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Synopsis: Angie Silverton and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into is her one-time best friend Selina who stole the love of her life and married him twenty years ago. 

And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port. 

It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded. 

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: Considering I don’t read short stories this is the second of Milly Johnson’s I’ve read in the same amount of weeks:-) Angie and her very loveable husband Gil are taking their very first trip aboard a cruise ship. From the moment they start their journey on the coach they realise this will be very different to what they are used to. No sooner have they arrived do they start to meet some onboard friends all of whom had their own part to play in this story.

Both Angie and Gil are such likeable charaters however when Gill is suffering from sea sickness when they dock in Malaga, Angie decides to do some shopping on her own. What she didn’t bank of was not making the ship in time and being stranded. Not only that she ends up being stranded with her ex-best friend who went off and married the man she was supposed to end up with.

This story was a delight to read and as soon as I had finished I checked out whether there was a continuation of sorts andd sure enough the short story named ‘Ladies Who Launch’ appeared and hey Presto, my next Milly Johnson arrived on my Kindle. It’s been far too long since I read this lady’s books it certainly put me back in that zone! A great short read… 

The Barn on Half Moon Hill by Milly Johnson (Short Story)

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Synopsis: Cariad Williams has been writing to Franco Mezzaluna since they were kids. But he has never written back. And now he has become a famous film star. What’s more, he is due to visit Winterworld, the Christmas theme park where Cariad works. The only problem is that she has boasted to her friends that he is her boyfriend and now everyone will find out about her lie…
An exclusive short story from Milly Johnson to raise funds for the Care for Claire charity.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I’m not that much of a fan of short stories as no sooner have I got into the story it’s finishing. However with this book being part of a charity to raise funds for the Car for Claire Charity I figured it was a good enough reason to read it.

As usual Milly Johnson manages to createe characters I like instantly and Cariad is no different. A lady that spent years writing to Franco Mezzaluna her childhood friend. The only problem is he has never written back and has now become a famous film star.

With the imminent arrival of Franco to the town where Cariad lives her tension mounts and she has no idea what to expect. A lovely short story with a lovely ending albeit a story I could have continued reading about as I would have loved to have known what happened next for all the characters involved. Although short stories aren’t really my thing this was for a great cause and Milly’s writing does just the thing and this 80 page treat was perfect to cheer me up one lunch break!

A Baby At The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

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A Baby at the Beach Cafe is an engaging short story follow-up to Lucy Diamond’s bestselling novel The Beach Cafe.

Evie loves running her beach cafe in Cornwall but with a baby on the way, she’s been told to put her feet up. Let someone else take over? Not likely.

Helen’s come to Cornwall to escape the stress of city living. She hopes a seaside life will be the answer to all her dreams. When she sees a job advertised at the cafe it sounds perfect.

But the two women clash and sparks fly. . . and then events take a dramatic turn. Can the pair of them put aside their differences in a crisis?

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review:  I adore Lucy Diamond’s books and was shocked when I realised I had missed this little nugget. I thoroughly enjoyed the Beach Cafe books and was excited to read a little more about Evie and her husband Ed. At only 145 pages it’s certainly a short story and I read it in one sitting but it was so nice to be back with the characters. Evie is now heavily pregnant and her husband Ed decides they have to employ a new Cafe Manager for when Evie goes on Maternity leave.

With the Beach Cafe being Evie’s baby she is reluctant to allow anyone else to run her perfect little business. When Helen escapes city life by moving down to Cornwall she hadn’t planned on working but the opportunity presented itself and both her and Evie are not keen on each other for various reasons. Although Helen could be abrasive as a reader you knew why and actually it was such a lovely story I almost thought it was a shame when it ended as I would have loved to have known more about Helen.

If you haven’t read any of Lucy Diamonds books you are missing out. The books of hers I have read to date have been nothing but delightful and the Beach Cafe books are amazing. Definitely a recommended author.

Christmas Gifts At The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

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Synopsis: With her Cornish Beach Café closed for the winter, Evie Flynn should be looking forward to lazy days and a happy Christmas, with nothing more pressing to think about than when to have her next mince pie.

But her sister Ruth is coming to stay, in a cloud of heartbreak and bitterness following her marriage breakdown, along with her three unhappy children, and Evie knows she’ll have her work cut out, trying to spread some festive cheer. Then her boyfriend Ed breaks the news that he’s going to spend Christmas in London, for family reasons, and her heart sinks even further.

Add in to the mix a lost dog plus the hotly contested village Christmas bake-off and before long, Evie is feeling the strain. But there are still a few surprises in store for her, that look set to make this Beach Café Christmas the most memorable one yet…

*Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first followed by Christmas at The Beach Café, please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I very recently read Christmas at The Beach Café which was a novella follow on to her novel The Beach Café. I loved the second novella (unusual for me as I’m not keen on shorts) and was so pleased when I realised Lucy had another Novella. This one is set the following Christmas and is just as good as the last novella. All this succeeded in doing was making me realise that Lucy Diamond needs to write quicker and luckily for me I still have 2 full length novels (her latest 2) all ready to read on my Kindle…yay!

This latest Christmas novella we see Evie’s sister Ruth and her children come to Evie for Christmas following a messy divorce. In addition Ed is dealing with the loss of his Dad. This offering is short but very sweet, and giving us THE best set up for the next book (at least I hope there is a next one!). We see brief glimpses of a couple of villagers, and we also see Ed’s Mum make an appearance. There isn’t one character I dislike in these books and just can’t wait to see them all again.

Yes it’s only 90 pages, and yes it’s a novella, but….it’s brilliant! Another cracking read and I can’t wait to gets started on another Lucy Diamond book!

Christmas At The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

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Synopsis: A Christmas short story from bestselling author Lucy Diamond, revisiting her Beach Café characters.

After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies . . . what’s not to love?

But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true . . . or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?

*Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: Just recently I have been ploughing through all my novella’s and short stories, as they are never my first choice. Although I say that and it’s usually the case, this novella was absolutely wonderful. It didn’t take me long to get reacquainted with Evie in her beautiful café in Cornwall. This will be her first Christmas there and now she has her boyfriend Ed around the excitement gets to her.

Evie is a funny character and one that you fall in love with quite easily. In this latest short story her ideal Christmas is planned out in her head. Evie and Ed, all alone in front of that log fire, except her Christmas is going to turn out far from what she imagined. We meet Ed’s brother Jake, Evie’s friend Amber as well as half the people living in Evie’s village.

The story is witty, warm and full of magic. Although it’s only 100 pages long it makes me realise how much I love Lucy Diamond books. I am so pleased she has since released another Beach Café ‘Christmas’ Novella so I know what I will be reading shortly. Absolutely loved this!

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter (Short Story)

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Synopsis: A missing girl in the news reminds Julia Carroll of herself: nineteen, beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyes.

Julia begins to dig deeper and plans an article for her college paper. She becomes gradually more obsessed with the case, never imagining how close she herself is to danger.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: First off the best advice I can give is to read Pretty Girls, which gives the basis for this short story featuring Julia Caroll, a 19 year old girl. It certainly was a short story and the 8- pages flew by, however I absolutely loved Pretty Girls and this was a fantastic short story to tie in with that book.

Julia is absent in the book Pretty Girls but this gives you a real insight into the character of Julia and how that ties in with the previous full length book. It certainly turned the pages for me but can only give it 4 stars as I am really not a fan of short stories, and felt this could have been built into the original book somehow. Still a typical ‘Slaughter’ style book and I would highly recommend the reading of Pretty Girls

A Twist of The Knife by Peter James (Short Story)

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Synopsis: With each twist of the knife, a chilling new journey begins . . . From a woman intent on bizarre revenge, to a restaurant critic with a morbid fear of the number thirteen; and from a man arranging a life-changing assignation, to a couple heading for a disaster-filled vacation . . .

In multi-million-copy bestselling author Peter James’ collection of short stories we first come to meet Brighton’s finest detective, Roy Grace, and read the tale that went on to inspire James’ hugely successful novel, Dead Simple. James exposes the Achilles heel of each of his characters, and makes us question how well we can trust ourselves, and one another. Each tale carries a twist that will haunt readers for days after they turn the final page . . .

Combining every twisted tale from the ebook bestsellers Short Shockers One and Short Shockers Two, with a never-seen-before collection of new material, A Twist of the Knife shows Peter James as the undisputed grand master of storytellers with this sometimes funny, often haunting, but always shocking collection.

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I’m certainly, like many others, a fan of Peter James and his infamous Roy Grace Series. I’m not however a fan of short stories. Thankfully this was a great collection and I was actually impressed by how much I enjoyed them. I just re-read that and don’t mean it to sound condescending, it’s just in terms of how much I dislike short stories…that’s what I meant!

This series of stories totals thirty and there are 2 featuring Roy Grace. IN addition to the fictional short stories there are some which are factual accounts just told by Peter James. I wouldn’t want to go into the details of all the stories, there seems little point. What I would say is that this is a nice way to read many stories by the man himself and get a feel for his style of writing.

Although I still am not a fan of short stories and collections, this was pretty good. It was an added bonus that a couple featured Roy Grace, but even those without show the skill and talent that have kept Peter James up there as a Bestselling British Author.

Poppy Does Paris by Nicola Doherty (Short Story)

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My Rating: 3/5

Availability: Kindle, Nook and Kobo

Synopsis: The first instalment in this hilarious, romantic and un-putdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart… novels.

Paris. City of love, city of romance. The last place you want to go to on a work trip when you’re in the middle of an epic dry spell. But that’s where Poppy is headed, along with her colleague Charlie, who’s shallow and annoying but very, very good-looking. During a white-wine-fuelled session with her friend Alice, Poppy concocts the perfect plan: work by day, and have some no-strings fun with Charlie by night. Of course, it might prove a little more complicated than that, but it’s nothing Poppy can’t handle – or is it?

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four friends, ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl’s adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible…

My Review: The first thing I need to mention is that this is a short story. AT only 66 pages long, it’s a VERY short story. When you look at the title and details on Amazon it isn’t very clear that it’s a short story (which is a little bit annoying). That aside we meet Poppy, the Editor who is on her way to Paris with her colleague Charlie to try and wow an author into signing with them. Poppy is likeable, as is Charlie and Nicola Doherty does a great job of describing Paris. 

However, at 66 pages you don’t get a lot of story, and if I’m being 100% honest this is the reason I am not a lover of short stories. Just as you are beginning to get to know the characters they leave you. I suppose if you like short stories this will be very enjoyable and I can certainly see how she is compared to the likes of Lindsey Kelk. I think I liked this enough to maybe read the rest of the Girls on Tour but my preference would definitely be a full length , especially  as I really enjoyed Nicola Doherty’s debut so much.

This particular series has a number of books, all featuring friends from the same group, and all short stories, and they are as follows:-

Poppy Does Paris – Girls on Tour 1 (June 2014) 

Lily Does LA – Girls on Tour 2 (Sept 2014)

Maggie does Meribel Girls on Tour 3 (Dec 2014)

Rachel Does Rome – Girls on Tour 4 (Feb 2015)

Lock and Load by Sean Black (Ryan Lock Short Story)

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Fresh from a stint undercover in Pelican Bay Supermax prison in Northern California, close protection operative Ryan Lock and his business partner, Ty Johnson, are in Los Angeles, tasked with protecting a young Hollywood actress from an abusive movie star boyfriend who refuses to accept that their relationship is over. But as Lock knows only too well, and Ty is about to learn, keeping someone safe from harm can be harder than it looks, and damage can come in unexpected forms.

My Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: People who have read my previous reviews will know that I have a bit of a character crush with Ryan Lock the man featured in the series of books written by Sean Black. I discovered his books from the first release and have not been let down once since then. His series of books featuring Ryan Lock and his partner Ty are absolutely brilliant. Sean Black has managed to integrate himself with the other major Crime players out there such as Coben, Lee Child etc. When I realised that he had released a short story in the Lock series I immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.

Yesterday lunchtime I settled with my lunch and began to read. It took me less than a chapter to be thrown back with Lock and Ty. This short story features them protecting a young Hollywood actress from her rather violent and abusive Movie star boyfriend. As usual Lock and Ty fall into their usual banter and it was like seeing old friends again. This book does however (I am almost positive) go back in time a little bit to just before Gridlock. People who have been reading the series will probably have noticed this too. Don’t get me wrong it didn’t make the story any less enjoyable, it just threw me slightly!

The only problem I had with this, and it’s a major problem for me, is that it was finished by the time my lunch break came to an end! For this reason alone I was not a happy bunny. I do believe Sean that you are a bit of a tease! How dare you flaunt my favourite lead male character and then whip him away again!?!? All I can do is console myself with the fact that a new book in the series should be due next year. For all those Lock fans this is a little teaser, and people that haven’t read the series, a cheaper way to try before you buy if you like. I don’t think you will be disappointed! <sighs heavily> I guess I will wait with baited breath until the next release before I get too excited again.