If you're a fan of Milly Johnson you're going to love this! I read this whilst on holiday and it was the perfect read for relaxing.
There were lots ofIf you're a fan of Milly Johnson you're going to love this! I read this whilst on holiday and it was the perfect read for relaxing.
There were lots of quirky characters who all seemed to have problems they needed solving and secrets they were keeping. I warmed to them all and their mixed up lives, especially Viv who wasn't keen on the animals at the sanctuary at all......so why did she come and work for them? What secrets was she keeping?
This was fun and lively, with a great storyline that I absolutely loved and would definitely recommend...more
Something happened to Catherine 20 years ago that she wasn't brave enough to tell her husband about. But when a book turns up that appears to tell theSomething happened to Catherine 20 years ago that she wasn't brave enough to tell her husband about. But when a book turns up that appears to tell the world her secret her life is turned upside down as she tries to discover who wrote the story and why. Why now? What purpose would it serve?
Some of the chapters are narrated by a widower, an ex-teacher who, at first seems reliable. The other chapters follow Catherine as she struggles to make sense of it all, she's a very successful documentary film-maker who is very persuasive at teasing the truth out of people, it's what she's good at. But when it comes to her own truths she doesn't want them revealed to anyone.
This is a story about relationships and about seeing what we want to see, believing what we want to believe.
This was a well-paced, clever and unique story line, the slow unravelling of the truth and unexpected plot twists all combined to make a great read! ...more
Dark Water is a coming of age novel set in the Orkneys, mixed with the mystery of what happened to Helena's best friend Anastasia over ten years ago dDark Water is a coming of age novel set in the Orkneys, mixed with the mystery of what happened to Helena's best friend Anastasia over ten years ago during a late night sea swim.
Helena comes back to her childhood home after spending the last ten years in London as a successful PR. Right from the beginning we know she doesn't want to be there not now not ever but her father is ill and she needs to be with him.
She has a strained relationship with her stepmother, Kate. The islanders are all curious to see Helena, including her ex boyfriend, Dylan. This is a place where everyone knew everyone's business and secrets don't stay secrets for long. Everyone still remembers that terrible night and the effect it had on the tight-knit community.
Memories come flooding back to Helena and the story goes back and forth in time to her first meeting with Anastasia and how they struck up a friendship - the two naughty girls in school. She recalls their teenage years, the boys, the parties, their first dates. Slowly the story builds to the fateful evening ....
It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, the writing is atmospheric and tense, the beauty and loneliness of the area is vividly portrayed and the characters are so easy to imagine in this small town.
I thought the story was excellent and I look forward to seeing what Sara Bailey comes up with next....more
We first meet the four friends when they're just finishing their first years exams at Bristol University in the summer of 1995. The main protagonist iWe first meet the four friends when they're just finishing their first years exams at Bristol University in the summer of 1995. The main protagonist is Eva, struggling to make ends meet and has a weekend supermarket job. Sylvie doing a History of Art course, of whom they all agreed that it was impossible to imagine her being anything other than a great success as an artist, her brother Lucien, sardonic, unpredictable and prone to sleeping around. Then Benedict, from a wealthy family background who dreams of working at CERN in Switzerland as a Physicist.
We follow them through the summers as they go their separate ways, keeping in touch, meeting up occasionally, reflecting on life's ups and downs.
Each chapter moves the story on another year as Eva's high flying job takes her around the world, Lucien continues partying, Benedict's working hard, and Sylvie's confidence slowly ebbs away as she tries to find work as an artist. Their friendship is tested several times over the summers but always they come back to each other because they care.
An enjoyable and engaging read, I cared about the characters, even selfish Lucien. It's poignant and moving, funny and witty, sad and frustrating .... but never boring .... just like real life!...more
Welcome to Wildwood Cove, an idyllic seaside town, home to rambling Victorian houses, fabulous views, friendly locals and charming shops........but alWelcome to Wildwood Cove, an idyllic seaside town, home to rambling Victorian houses, fabulous views, friendly locals and charming shops........but also home to someone with murderous intentions!
The first in a new series of Pancake House Mysteries introduces us to Marley who's arrived from Seattle to help out at her cousin Jimmy's Flip Side Pancake House for a few weeks while he's recovering in hospital. She has fond memories of long ago summers spent at Wildwood Cove with her cousin and his family.
But when Jimmy is murdered and Marley discovers some stolen paintings in his workshop, her stay turns out to be longer than she anticipated as she is determined to clear his name and find out who killed him.
This is an enjoyable read with some quirky characters, plenty of suspicious suspects with motives, delicious pancake recipes, a little romance and a charming heroine in Marley McKinney.
I liked the Pancake House setting, and I look forward to the next in this new series....more
The Bluebonnet Betrayal is the fifth in the Potting Shed Mysteries and I've loved every one of them. I love Texan Pru and her determination, she doesnThe Bluebonnet Betrayal is the fifth in the Potting Shed Mysteries and I've loved every one of them. I love Texan Pru and her determination, she doesn't give up in her pursuit of justice.
This time she's asked to be a sort of liaison with the designer and contractor at the Chelsea Flower Show until the Austin Rock Garden Society turn up, they can't get there in time for the first day of build up. But when they arrive and one of them is murdered straight away Pru can't help digging for clues, with the help of her hubby Christopher who goes undercover this time.
When Pru's not building stone walls, fitting tarpaulin sheets and struggling to get the garden ready in time for the opening, she's trying to discover who killed one of their members but she also finds there was some tension within the society and tension within the garden crew over the Texan Bluebonnets too.
The Chelsea Flower Show was a super setting for the story, I really got a feel of what goes on during the build up to this famous show. I thought the plot was excellent, I didn't guess whodunnit, there were many suspects and, as usual Pru gets herself into trouble with several of the main characters, including the police!
I particularly enjoyed Christopher's involvement and these were the fun elements of the book for me. I won't give too much away but I think regular readers will like this part.
Although this is the fifth in the series, it can be read as a standalone. ...more
I was well and truly hooked from the shocking first line and I could hardly put the book down until the very end.
The story is told in alternate chapteI was well and truly hooked from the shocking first line and I could hardly put the book down until the very end.
The story is told in alternate chapters by the main characters of judge's wife Lydia, her son Laurence and the dead girl's sister Karen during the 1980's. Lydia is a character that I won't easily forget, she's manipulative, selfish, dishonest, cruel and a snob. She has no redeeming features except for the obsessive love she has for her one and only son who she utterly smothers and dominates. She controlled him in ways that he didn't know.
Laurence was an interesting young man, as time goes on we see him develop from an obese, immature, shy and awkward adolescent into a handsome, confident and likeable person but he becomes obsessed with knowing what happened to the dead girl and her family.
Right from the beginning we know who killed the young girl but not why. It was chilling reading. As the story develops we gain an understanding of why and the ripples it created around all the other characters lives.
A compelling, well-written story of obsession .... in an interview Liz Nugent said she hoped that readers would feel shocked and exhilarated at the end and would want them to recommend it to all their friends ..... I couldn't agree more!...more
This is a slow burner of a book ..... it starts off by smouldering a little, flickering on and off, as the flames of passion ignite, sparks flare, graThis is a slow burner of a book ..... it starts off by smouldering a little, flickering on and off, as the flames of passion ignite, sparks flare, gradually building to an inferno .... and by the end I was left gasping for air!
Narrated by Shona, a journalist from Glasgow, she moves to an isolated cottage in Aberdeen with her partner, Mikey, and baby daughter. While Mikey is away for weeks on end on the oil rigs Shona is left all alone and a little scared .... until one day she bumps into Valentina, another lonely first time mum. They immediately strike up a friendship, and Shona starts to settle down in her new surroundings.
The story went back and forth to build up a picture of how Shona and Mikey first met, how they fell in love and decided to move away for a new start.
But, slowly, somethings don't seem to add up to Shona, while she feels reassured by answers she is given there is still niggling doubts in her head....about Valentina's life, is she who she says she is.....
It then became unsettling and unnerving with a sense of foreboding, I loved how I never really knew what was real and what wasn't, I could guess but I was unprepared for the twists and turns.
The writing was so descriptive, the character of Shona was very real, and the storyline so disturbing that I can't stop thinking about it.
A brilliant debut - I can't wait to see what S.E. Lynes comes up with next!...more
This book had me sniggering and laughing out loud at some of the antics of Cathy and her friends in Crouch End and her Crouch End Confidential Agency.This book had me sniggering and laughing out loud at some of the antics of Cathy and her friends in Crouch End and her Crouch End Confidential Agency. I hadn't read the first two books in the series but I could easily follow the journey of Cathy and her house cleaner, Pimple (sorry, but that is such a strange name!) I guess if I'd read the earlier books I would know why she's called that.
There was plenty going on, from the mystery of the missing bikes to relationship troubles, young drug dealers and lots more inbetween. Cathy is such a down to earth and funny lady with a heart of gold -- describing herself as "an overweight, unfit, middle aged mother of two in not so skinny jeans". I'm sure some of us could identify with that!
I really enjoyed seeing how she went about solving all the mysteries, even pretending to be a maths tutor when she is hopeless at solving sums. This is an entertaining and easy read, with great characters, funny situations and laugh out loud one-liners. Recommended!...more
If you enjoy a cozy mystery with a celebrity murder, a little romance, lots of suspects, a challenging plot, likeable characters, set in a pretty EnglIf you enjoy a cozy mystery with a celebrity murder, a little romance, lots of suspects, a challenging plot, likeable characters, set in a pretty English village -- then you're going to love Murder on the Menu.
When Lizzie leaves the bright lights of London to return to her roots in the quiet and quaint Cumbrian hills in the North of England she doesn't expect to be the main suspect in the murder of her celebrity chef boss Armand. A boss who she dislikes intensely as he is a pretentious, loud, obnoxious bully. But she was the last person to see him alive as she was working late on the night she was killed and, as she lives alone, she has no alibi.
Unless she finds the killer, Lizzie is worried that the police will charge her. An ally, in the shape of her neighbour's brother, offers to help her. But handsome Jack has been suspended from his special agent job recently -- why? Can she trust him?
Lizzie had a good job in London, lots of friends, so why did she leave all that behind? And who was Adam and why is she avoiding his calls?
So many questions waiting to be answered in this cozy mystery and I absolutely loved it!
Lizzie is a likeable heroine and Jack is the guy with all the contacts who can look after himself, they made a fun and fabulous team that I'm looking forward to reading more about as the series progresses....more
We all know that over 1,500 people perished on that freezing cold night when the Titanic sunk, but do you know that a ship was nearby and could have rWe all know that over 1,500 people perished on that freezing cold night when the Titanic sunk, but do you know that a ship was nearby and could have rescued a large number of those people if they had gone to her aid.
This is the fictional story seen through the eyes of a reporter, the Captain of that ship, and some of his men, of what happened on that fateful night.
The Californian was an ordinary ship, carrying ordinary cargoes, but why did her Captain not go to the stricken Titanic's aid when he was told by his 2nd Officer that he saw her distress rockets?
Many, many stories have been written about the Titanic over the last hundred years, I've even read some of them, but this is giving a very different take on the events.
The reporter, John Steadman, aims to find the definitive answer. He was a man who wrote stories of the intimate and the domestic, the downtrodden and the destitute, the liars and hypocrites. He could smell there was a story on the ship, there were so many unanswered questions.
This was a book with very detailed writing, it sometimes dragged on and I felt like I was reading the same words over and over again.
But overall I found it a fascinating read, slowly building up the suspense, weaving in the actual facts with fiction, I think The Midnight Watch is a very promising debut by author David Dyer....more
Lauren and her friend Cate have lived in the Lake District forever. Lauren's a Primary School teacher, Cate owns a flower shop and their friend, EmilyLauren and her friend Cate have lived in the Lake District forever. Lauren's a Primary School teacher, Cate owns a flower shop and their friend, Emily is a mountain leader ("basically Bear Grylls but with nicer hair!").
When they learn that the Moonlight Hotel is starting salsa classes they all decide to sign up to learn to dance, make new friends and have some fun.
Lauren's fond memories of the Moonlight Hotel go far back to her childhood when her father was the General Manager there and she loved how grand and romantic it was. It's the backdrop to her most precious memories.
But when the new owners want to overhaul the hotel and bring it into the 21st century Lauren is devastated and even the handsome new owner can't persuade her that it's a good idea. When her friend Emily becomes smitten with him Lauren is happy for her but she thinks he can't be trusted. Then, to make her life even worse, her unrequited love, Edwin, is moving to Singapore in a few months. How will she cope?
This is a light-hearted read in parts, I was chuckling at some of their efforts to salsa, I loved the descriptions of some of the dance moves "the cuddle left turn", "ladies' right turn, back-to-back and reverse wrap"!
There are some misunderstandings, some laughs, romance, friendships, holidays, twists, but the storyline also deals with a serious issue of today which I felt was handled sensitively and was very well-written.
Charming and full of drama, get ready to put on your dancing shoes and strut your stuff! I think Jane Costello fans will love it! ...more
Set in the beautiful surroundings of Cambridge this was a really engrossing page turning mystery.
Ruby wants to get away from her village gossips and wSet in the beautiful surroundings of Cambridge this was a really engrossing page turning mystery.
Ruby wants to get away from her village gossips and when she is offered the chance of a house-sitting job owned by her best friend's cousin Nate she is delighted as it solves both her problems: she now has somewhere to live far away from her boyfriend and his indiscretions.
Spoken by Ruby, she starts to discover things about the house owner, he has weird paintings in his bedroom, broken glass in the bin, a neighbour he has upset. Other strange happenings occur. She has a curious nature, she tries to find out more about the mysterious Damien Newbold, she finds clues in his house about his life, he was a man who liked to get revenge.
The owner of the house-sitting business, Nate, also seems to be hiding information about himself, but he too is also curious about Damien. As the tension builds and they start to build a picture of this man, they are drawn together in a will they-won't they situation, which was a nice part of the whole story, two likeable characters trying to piece together a mystery.
This was a fabulous read with plenty of twists that I didn't see coming, I loved the partnership of Ruby and Nate and how nosey they were! Perfect for fans of gentle sleuthing....more
Texan Pru Parke is quickly becoming one of my favourite amateur sleuths.
The third book in the series sees Pru starting a new position, not gardeningTexan Pru Parke is quickly becoming one of my favourite amateur sleuths.
The third book in the series sees Pru starting a new position, not gardening this time, but a three month research project attempting to discover the authenticity of a journal by a renowned botanist. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh are, unfortunately, a long way from her new fiance DCI Christopher Pearse who is in London.
But she is kept busy planning her wedding, reading copious amounts of documents and trying not to argue too much with the Gardens own historian who calls Pru a 'fraud'. Not very welcoming!
However, murders and Pru seem to go hand in hand and when a body is pulled from the local river, Pru can't help getting involved in trying to find the killer, even when she becomes one of the suspects.
Another intriguing case for Pru which I enjoyed very much.
This could be read as a standalone to get a feel of the series....more
In the Autumn of 1943 sixteen year old Pippo's father is arrested by the Militia, while he hides in a cupboard listening to the sounds of the recedingIn the Autumn of 1943 sixteen year old Pippo's father is arrested by the Militia, while he hides in a cupboard listening to the sounds of the receding footsteps and the car taking his father away, not knowing if he will ever see him again.
Pippo's War gives us an insight into the lives of ordinary people living in Italy during the last years of the Second World War, of how it was for the villagers living under the Germans, how they struggled from day to day, and particularly for young Pippo, how they grew up, fell in love and faced the enemy.
This is a very emotional story, simply told. Pippo's mother, Rose, rescues a young Jewish girl, Hannah, after her parents are killed and passes her off as her daughter with forged documents. Pippo and Hannah grow close, but not everyone is happy for them.....she puts all their lives in danger by being there.
As the months pass, Pippo wants revenge for his father, he joins the Partisans, his mother helps more allies, and the Germans are watching.
I enjoyed this story, it was just as the right pace, the storyline was engrossing, I knew little of that time and place in history so I found it interesting, though I would have liked to know more of the back stories of some of the characters. For instance, Cora was Pippo's godmother, but I knew very little about her, who was she, why was she his godmother, how did she and Rose know each other, what was her life like before the war? Knowing some of these facts would have made more sense to me by the end of the book. I also would have liked to know more of what the characters were thinking and feeling.
But I don't want to dwell on the negatives as there are lots of positives about the book, I liked Pippo, he was a good person, the story held my attention throughout, their love affair was moving without being sickly sweet, and overall a book that I would certainly recommend....more
Texan Pru Parke's second outing is every bit as entertaining as her first: The Garden Plot which was the first book in this new Potting Shed cozy mystTexan Pru Parke's second outing is every bit as entertaining as her first: The Garden Plot which was the first book in this new Potting Shed cozy mystery series.
Pru has her hands full at her new job at Primrose House trying to clear the derelict garden and have it all designed and planted by the summer: only six months away. But when vandals destroy some plants in the greenhouse, start a fire in the potting shed, and then her gardener, Ned, is found murdered, her plans for a beautiful garden start to look shaky.
She believes the wrong man has been arrested and is determined to try and clear his name while also trying to discover who the murderer is.
With Pru trying to find her English roots, her relationship with the lovely DCI Christopher Pearse getting serious, vague online threats against her, this was an enjoyable cozy mystery. I enjoyed getting to know Pru more and loved her nosiness!
If you like British cozy mysteries centred around gardening this is the perfect read for you. ...more
The Blood Dimmed Tide weaves fact and fiction in this story of poet W.B. Yeats and his friend Charles Adams, "the ghost catcher" and ex Medical StudThe Blood Dimmed Tide weaves fact and fiction in this story of poet W.B. Yeats and his friend Charles Adams, "the ghost catcher" and ex Medical Student, who narrates most of the story.
Yeats is a member of a secret occult society called The Golden Dawn (formed in 1888) of mystics devoted to the practice of medieval and eastern rituals of magic.
While attending seances in London Yeats is singled out by a young Irish girl, Rosemary O'Grady, who has recently been murdered and asks Yeats to help her. Strangely, he had also recently received a letter from her telling of her torment.
He despatches Charles Adams to Ireland to try and find out who killed Rosemary, though he fears he is on a folly of a mission and doesn't really know what to do or what's expected of him.
This is where the story takes off as Adams becomes involved with Ireland's secret society of women, the abandoned and ruinous estates, the turbulent Atlantic Ocean and rebellious women on horseback.
But I did feel that it somehow lost it's way also, I didn't know what the author was trying to tell us, was the book a mystery, is it a paranormal story, is it about Ireland's struggles for freedom, or is it about Yeats? It touched on gun running, German weapons and smugglers. The story was all over the place, there was too much going on and it felt like the author didn't know himself what it was focussed on, trying to fit everything in but not going into great detail about any of them.