Dire circumstances have forced Kara McGurkie to forget she’s a woman. Dire circumstances force her to swear to love and honour, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back her son. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?
To save his people, neither will he…
Since his wife’s murder, Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.
She has nothing left to fear except love itself…
Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.
Dark, deep and devastating aptly describes this historical romance, set in the beautiful but often brutal highlands of Scotland.
Kara and Callm are both damaged by life and forced on a path of avenge and revenge, even though it is often at odds with the people they once were before tragedy struck. Their meeting is unconventional and neither want to surrender to their passions, it’s too dangerous.
Kara needs to keep to her plan to save her son, Callm has already lost too much, his people are everything, and he can never put his personal pleasure above their safety. Love becomes a weapon rather than a balm and the resultant passion reflects this with vivid imagery.
If you want to relive history with all the rough edges and raw emotion, this story with its complex, challenged characters will consume you.
I received an ARC of the second edition from the author in return for an honest review.
Escaping to the wild and wonderful Scottish Highlands seems like the ideal venue for a New Year’s celebration, but what if everyone has a secret? Their university days are long gone, but the pecking order and rivalries are intensified. The cracks in the party atmosphere begin on the train journey north.
This story begins with the tragedy and uses a series of chronological multi-point of view chapters to illuminate the current situation. The characters are complex and realistic, and in most cases not likeable. Everyone has something to hide but how far will they go to keep it under wraps? The setting and inclement weather makes this an atmospheric read that compels you to turn the pages to see what happens next.
This is more of a murder mystery than a psychological thriller because the story is told through the eyes of several characters, both in the group of friends and the two people who work at the venue where they are staying, rather than an individual unreliable protagonist.
The plot is convoluted and sinister, there are multiple suspects and the identity of the victim remains hidden until the final chapters.
The remote party setting and the toxicity of the relationships has parallels with Sue Fortin’s The Birthday Girl, which I also enjoyed. Perfect holiday reading.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.
The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!
With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….
But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.
With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…
Funny, festive and fabulous, everything you want in a Christmas holiday read.
Sarah is such an authentic, believable character, her sense of responsibility makes her confront Will, co-owner of a holiday resort that is threatening the reputation of her aunt’s travel agency. The emails soon turn from caustic to cosy, and when she decides to visit the resort, the fun really starts.
Will has secrets and hides them well under a Mr Scrooge persona. The romance is slow to build but so worth waiting for and really threatens to melt the snow. There are plenty of poignant moments, as Sarah lets go of past hurts and finds out things are not always right or wrong but somewhere in between.
All the supporting characters are vivacious and add to the story’s imagery. The setting is well-described and breathtaking and the plot is full of twists, turmoil and tenderness.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve. This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.
THE DETECTIVE DI Hillary Greene An attractive, single woman nearing the landmark age of fifty, Hillary Greene was a police officer of many years’ experience (earning the rank of DI) and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knew how the system worked and was always fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Forced to retire early through no fault of her own, she has now returned to the force as a civilian consultant on cold cases.
The final book in the Hillary Greene series answers all the questions both in her professional and personal life. The cases in this concluding book are a continuation from the storyline in the previous book ‘Murder in Mind’.
The crime solving is believable and engaging, not everything is solved, but this adds to the authenticity. All the main characters are featured in ‘Hillary’s Final Case’ and there is a satisfactory resolution of Hillary’s personal life.
I have only read two books in this series, but as they read well as standalone stories this isn’t a problem, Cold cases featuring missing girls are the theme of this book, and all the stories are absorbing and poignant. There are many twists, but it’s rewarding to follow the clues and solve the mysteries and crimes with Hillary Greene and her team.
If you enjoy crime novels and cosy mystery this is a series worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from Joffe Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Camilla Alvarez refuses to abandon her beloved horses when formidable tycoon Matias Navarro acquires her family’s renowned rancho. Instead, she disguises herself as his stable-boy! But when Camilla’s charade is discovered Matias offers her an even more shocking role—as his wife! Innocent Camilla is transformed into a bride deserving of his diamonds, but their convenient marriage is transformed by the scalding heat of their wedding night…
What if you lost everything you loved, you’d fight to get it back, wouldn’t you?
That’s exactly what Cam does, even if it means pretending to be a boy to get to be with her beloved horses. An unfortunate event brings her into close proximity with the owner Matias and then she’s really in trouble. Matias is used to being pursued but he is completely floored when he finds out Cam’s secret. He offers a marriage of convenience but their bodies and emotions have other ideas.
This is an emotional romance using well-loved tropes of mistaken identity and marriage of convenience. The characters are believable and likeable. The story has plenty of heat, fun and a rollercoaster of conflicts and emotions, which threaten the chance of a happy ever after.
I enjoyed this romance but felt it should have been more detailed, lots of issues are alluded to but not fully explored, despite their importance to the characters’ emotional development.
I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .
In a single moment, a double twist decides Alexander’s future.
During an epic tale of fate and fortune, spanning two continents and thirty years, we follow his triumphs and defeats as he struggles as an immigrant to conquer his new world. As this unique story unfolds, Alexander comes to realize where his destiny lies and accepts that he must face the past he left behind in Russia.
If you enjoy political sagas with a twist, you’re in for a treat with this book. The storytelling and characters are believable and polished. The serendipitous storyline adds an interesting twist to a well researched, historically based political thriller.
Alexander a young man in the USSR in the late 1960’s is clever but his father isn’t a party member and wishes for a less totalitarian state. His father’s ‘accident’, and the circumstances that follow mean Alexander and his mother need to leave to survive. Escaping in a crate on a merchant ship is risky, but when there is a choice of two, fate takes over and the story splits into a ‘what if ‘scenario as Alexander’s life is explored with two possible outcomes.
Both stories are engaging, with strong characters and many plot twists, once you accept how the story will progress it is an enjoyable read, the ending has its surprises, but I did guess the main one. The moral of this being, I think whatever path you take the outcome is already decided.
An enjoyable read for those who enjoy political thrillers and family sagas with a twist of fate.
I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time.
Jillian Safinova, Nova to her friends, can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And she can even tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.
But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.
When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.
As Kate comes into focus, her past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they each learn to see the world in a different … and open their eyes to the lives they could have been living all along?
An original plot with authentic characters provides the essential ingredients for an excellent, poignant and thought-provoking story.
The book’s two main characters, the enigmatic Nova and long-suffering Kate lead separate lives. Two unconnected events lead to a serendipitous, life-altering meeting between the two women.
There is a chance of a bright future or a tragic end for the women, depending on how they interpret what is possible. The multi-layered plot explores the ‘rules of seeing’ as Nova learns to accept her new sight. Kate’s injury, also makes her look at things differently but is she brave enough to make a change?
A tender love story, the horror of domestic abuse and a menacing evil that threatens their new life are all experienced by Nova and Kate, which makes their story absorbing and courageous and definitely worth seeing through to the end.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Even though I only read the Kindle version of this book, the beauty of the illustrations is evident. This is the story of a mischievous little girl who is kidnapped by bandits, who make her their queen. She has lots of opportunity for rebellion but finds out that belonging is more important. There are dark themes to this story but ultimately the bandit queen learns what is really important and that family is found in many forms.
The story is in rhyme and will hold children’s interest. The moral of the story is clear but delivered in a story like way making it understandable to children of this age group. For maximum enjoyment, I suggest you read the hardback picture book to really enjoy the colourful illustrations.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House Children’s UK – Puffin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
London, 1936. Inside the spectacular Grand Ballroom of the exclusive Buckingham Hotel the rich and powerful, politicians, film stars, even royalty, rub shoulders with Raymond de Guise and his troupe of talented dancers from all around the world, who must enchant them, captivate them, and sweep away their cares.
Accustomed to waltzing with the highest of society, Raymond knows a secret from his past could threaten all he holds dear.
Nancy Nettleton, new chambermaid at the Buckingham, finds hotel life a struggle after leaving her small hometown. She dreams of joining the dancers on the ballroom floor as she watches, unseen, from behind plush curtains and hidden doorways. She soon discovers everyone at the Buckingham – guests and staff alike – has something to hide…
The storm clouds of war are gathering, and beneath the glitz and glamour of the ballroom lurks an irresistible world of scandal and secrets.
A delicious, detailed, dance orientated novel, which unfolds against a background of class division, an unprecedented threat to the monarchy and a cosmopolitan hotel whose outward glamour hides a web of secrets.
The characters are believable and vividly depicted, they draw the reader into the story and engender empathy and dislike according to their behaviour. The setting epitomises polite London society in the 1930s. The ballroom’s importance, as a place to see and be seen, is a core theme of this story and is the focal point for the action and dialogue between the main characters.
Like ‘Upstairs Downstairs ‘ and ‘Downtown Abbey’, society’s class division is marked. The ‘lower class’ characters’lives are difficult and provide a thought-provoking reminder of poverty and hardship.
The political unrest in Europe and England make living life the limit a given, for those able to do so. When secrets unfold and people’s livelihood and reputations are in danger, the true heroes and villains emerge.
I received a copy of this book from Zaffre via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a well-written thriller, with authentic courtroom drama and a nightmare scenario for the family of characters.
It’s a story of two sisters and how their lives are irrevocably changed by a tragic event. Accident or intentional act is what the jury has to decide, but the effect on the two sisters their spouses’, parents and children is devastating.
For me, this was more family drama than thriller, although there is a mystery to solve. I guessed the outcome before the end, but there are plenty of twists and lies to explore. The ending makes the story so poignant, but ties up all the clues in a satisfactory way.
I received a copy of this from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.