Posted in Book Review

Final Target – E.V.Seymour Josh Thane Thriller #2 5* Review

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Ex-assassin Josh Thane has given up his life of murder and bloodshed and gone to ground in London. But when glamorous MI5 agent, McCallan, needs his help with a dangerous operation in Berlin, Josh can’t resist being pulled back into the game.
Soon he realises that a deadly organization is out not just to get him but those closest to him. As crime bosses and intelligence officers are picked off one by one, McCallen disappears and Josh is faced with a choice that could make this mission his last: either he walks into the trap set for him, or McCallen dies.

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My Thoughts…

The second story in the Josh Thane Thriller series is darker, character-driven and enthralling.

The ex-hitman is trying to make a life that doesn’t involve killing for a living and seems to be succeeding on the surface at least until his Achilles heel- McCallen, asks for his help and starts him on the most challenging journey of his life.

More of an introspective story than the first book in the series ‘A Deadly Trade’, which has apocalyptic themes. The violence is graphic, as is the sexual content but only to set the scene and move the story forward, none of it is gratuitous.

Someone is out for revenge, but the question is who? The plot is much tighter than the first novel in the series and the number of possible antagonists greater. It was harder to work out the real villain of the story amongst so many. There is the same easy to read, fast-paced style but with more twists and turns and it’s personal which gives a greater insight into our anti-hero Josh.

I love Jack Higgins books, especially the early Sean Dillion books and this is reminiscent of these in style and the complexity of the main characters. I hope there is a third book as I’m hooked on Josh know and want to know what happens next.

I received a copy of this book from Harper UK Harper Fiction – Killer Reads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

A Deadly Trade – E.V.Seymour – 4* Review

 

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One moment of weakness can cost you everything…
Rogue assassin Josh Thane is an artist in murder. His next target is a British microbiologist suspected of creating devastating chemical weapons.
Breaking into her house, he discovers someone has beaten him to it – she’s already dead. In a moment of weakness, he saves the life of her son. A single mistake that destroys everything he’s worked for and puts him and the boy in immediate danger…
When Josh embarks on an international quest to find the real killer, he uncovers a criminal conspiracy with truly terrifying consequences. Yet it’s in his own past that the darkest truth lies hidden

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My Thoughts…

A fast-paced story with an enigmatic male anti-hero and lots of action. Vividly depicted characters. The setting is described in great detail making it easy to imagine, giving the story its authenticity. A well-written first chapter draws you in. An easy read and hard to put down. I read this in a few hours. The plot is good, but I did work out the twist about half-way through. Knowing the villain didn’t spoil the story for me as I enjoyed having my theories confirmed.

A good contemporary thriller, which combines, spy action, psychological thrills, technology, and a forbidden relationship. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series ‘Final Target’.
I received a copy of this book from Killer Reads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Wife- In Sickness and In Health #3 M.L. Roberts- 5* Review

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Michael and Ellie are that couple.

The ones who have it all.

Success, charm, trust…but no relationship is perfect, and the events of the past cast a shadow over their charmed life together.

When lecturer Michael starts to mentor a new student, Ellie fears that history is repeating itself. As paranoia takes its ugly hold, it’s clear some things just can’t be forgotten…or forgiven.

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My Thoughts…

The psychological tension is ramped up in this penultimate episode of the serial. Book 2 – ‘In Sickness and In Health’, ends with a life-changing event for Ellie, although not entirely surprising from the reader’s point of view. Is Michael the true villain of this? Or is it all in Ellie’s troubled mind? Maybe Liam isn’t the selfless, knight in shining armour Ellie believes him to be?

Ellie thinks she is in control but is she? There are so many questions in this third book, which has a dark, sinister ethos. Ellie is in danger but is she her own enemy or is there someone else controlling her life for their own ends.

There is a shocking ending to book 3, but I’m not convinced everything is as it appears to be. Can’t wait for the finale of this gripping, emotional serial.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Wife – For Better, ForWorse – #2 M.L. Roberts – 5* Review

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Success, charm, trust…but no relationship is perfect, and the events of the past cast a shadow over their charmed life together.

When lecturer Michael starts to mentor a new student, Ellie fears that history is repeating itself. As paranoia takes its ugly hold, it’s clear some things just can’t be forgotten…or forgiven.

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My Thoughts…

So book 1-  ‘To Have and to Hold’, intrigued me with its skilful buildup of psychological tension and in book 2 – ‘For Better, For Worse’, the story continues. Ellie’s tragic past is revealed, which explains much about her current state of mind and motivation. The story is told entirely from Ellie’s point of view, but the actions of others, who touch her life are important to this story. There is a profound, if not unexpected ending, making reading book 3 – ‘In Sickness and In Health’, essential.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe- #1-3 Georgia Hill – 4*Review

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Baking, broken hearts and beach weddings…it’s all happening in the gorgeous little seaside town of Berecombe this year!

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café is struggling as a multi-national chain of cafés moves in on its territory. Despite baking up a storm in a bid to save it, Millie’s distracted by falling head over heels for the gorgeous, mysterious Jed.

As the seasons change in Berecombe, the loveable, quirky locals rally round Millie, and in return find their own happy ever afters. Millie’s delighted for her friends, but when she discovers Jed’s been keeping secrets, she faces a new dilemma – is it finally time to hang up her apron and start an exciting life somewhere new? Or is everything she’s ever wanted right under her nose, just waiting for her to reach out and take it?

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My Thoughts…

This is a compilation of all the Millie Vanilla stories and is a lovely holiday read, for all those who love stories full of romance, conflict and delicious cakes. The story covers, Spring, Summer and Christmas and is a lovely, heartwarming read.

Spring Beginnings…

Cafe stories are prevalent at the moment, but this one is a little different. It has an old-fashioned quality, which fits in perfectly with the setting in an old-style English seaside town. The characters are varied and accurately reflect the clientele in most seaside cafes. There is a lovely community feel to this story which contrasts vividly with the underhand behaviour Millie is forced to confront when her business is threatened, by a corporate rival cafe.

Romance has been in short supply for Millie who has worked through her grief by fulfilling her parents’ dream. Jed is not her usual type of customer, but the attraction is instant and powerful and makes for some sizzling scenes, that push the boundaries of this sweet romance.

The plot is simple but effective, and this is a pleasant read.

Summer Loves…

Millie is on her own again after her Spring romance with rich boy Jed, but her cafe is surviving and so is she, especially when her school best friend returns to Berecombe unexpectedly.

Dora, a successful actress, returns home and finds Millie’s love life in tatters. Determined to see her friend happy she doesn’t
expect her own heart to be threatened when someone from her past returns to challenge and allure her.

Dora and Mike’s love story is poignant and steamy in equal measures and mirrors the theatre production they both find themselves involved with. Millie and Jed’s path to true love is equally frustrating and seems unlikely to have a happy ending until Millie can trust Jed again.

The older generation is determined not to be outdone in the romance stakes and provide much of the humour in this story, which seesaws between laughter and tears.

Christmas Weddings…

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  Part of her wants to see Jed, but she sent him away, so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple, but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe – Spring Beginnings, Summer Loves, Christmas Weddings.

Posted in Book Review

Children’s Fiction: Hortense and the Shadow – Natalia and Lauren O’Hara – 4* Review

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Hortense is a kind and brave girl, but she is sad–even angry–that her shadow follows her everywhere she goes. She hates her shadow and thinks her shadow must hate her too. But one cold, dark night, when bandits surprise her in the woods, Hortense discovers that her shadow is the very thing she needs most.

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My Thoughts…

A beautifully illustrated picture storybook about a young girl who dislikes her shadow and what happens when it runs away from her.
The setting for this story is a fairytale, and there are dark elements, but good triumphs and Hortense learns valuable lessons of self-discovery, A good story for the age group.
I received a copy of this story from Penguin Random House UK Children’s Puffin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Charlotte Butterfield – 4* Review

My Thoughts… 

I liked the idea of this book, but it took awhile for me to be involved with the story. The main reason was that I didn’t always believe in parts of the storyline.Despite this, three quarters into the story, it came alive, and I started to believe in the characters and wanted them to find their happy endings. So on balance, this was an enjoyable read with believable characters but a less credible plot.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Jane Linfoot Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop 4* Review

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There’s nothing more magical than a winter wonderland wedding but when photographer Holly North returns to the cosy village of St Aidan she’s determined to avoid romance and the festive season full stop. She’s doing one small favour for a friend’s wedding and then her plans involve diving under her duvet and avoiding any sign of Christmas cheer – and gorgeous but insufferable Rory Sanderson – for the rest of December!

That is until Christmas arrives at Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s enchanting and most adorable little wedding shop. The champagne is on ice while mistletoe hangs from every nook and Holly’s friends at the shop are determined she’ll live up to her festive name.

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My Thoughts…

Another Christmas time at the ‘Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ and this one features the appropriately named Holly, who grew up in the Cornish coastal town and returns for a holiday, hoping to bypass Christmas entirely after the trauma of the previous year’s festive period.
Holly is a likeable character. When she returns to her hometown, she finds that little has changed, as she reacquaints with old school friends and her former teenage crush, Rory. Holly, a food photographer, agrees to take wedding photos for a friend, which leads to a whole unexpected adventure. Finding it hard to say no to people she cares about, Holly is fully involved with the ‘Little Wedding Shop’ and much to her dismay Rory and his niece and nephew who he is babysitting.
The plot is simple but what makes it interesting is the detailed descriptions, which give the story its vivacity and the lovely blend of old and new characters who resonate and make you believe in them and the setting.There is everything required for a lighthearted, feel-good Christmas read, Romance, children, snow and goodwill. This book will leave you with a warm festive feeling when you’ve finished reading it.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Girl I Used to Know – Faith Hogan- 4* Review

 

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Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

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My Thoughts…

Two women are uneasy neighbours. On the surface, they have very little in common except for the hostility between them. New Year’s Eve starts a chain of events that draws their paths together in ways they would never imagine.
This is classic Irish storytelling, which spans three time periods. Each foray into the past builds a picture of why Amanda and Tess are the people they are.
Neither character is immediately likeable but they are believable and as the story unfolds, so do their true personalities. The revelations make their past choices and present situations easier to understand and Amanda and Tessa easier to empathise.

Amanda’s life is cosmetically perfect but underneath the surface, there are too many cracks, and she realises she is existing not living.

Tess’ accidents make her take stock of her life and vow to make something of the time she has left. It is this realisation, coupled with a teenage girl who wants to help and a cat who wants a warm welcome that makes her start to trust again and value herself.

The story is well paced, and the ending ties up everything and gives hope for a happier future.

A poignant, sometimes comical, enjoyable story.

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: The Present- D.S.Devlin – 4* Review

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12 deadly gifts, one killer on a Christmas countdown…On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… this is one deadly Christmas that you can’t forget.

The police are baffled by the ‘Santa’ killer, who sends his intended victims gruesome presents based on the twelve days of Christmas. When a young journalist receives a mutilated bird in the post, it’s a race against time to find the killer…

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My Thoughts…

A clever, psychological thriller, which casts a dark light on ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’.

Anna is an investigative journalist and Santa is a serial killer. The story is well-written, with a likeable heroine and a sinister antagonist. The plot is twisty and keeps you enthralled, making it a page-turner.

Perfect for those who prefer a darker, festive read.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.