Posted in Book Review

The Death Chamber – Lesley Thomson – 4* Review

Queen’s Jubilee, 1977: Cassie Baker sees her boyfriend kissing another girl at the village disco. Upset, she heads home alone and is never seen again.

Millennium Eve, 1999: DCI Paul Mercer finds Cassie’s remains in a field. Now he must prove the man who led him there is guilty.

When Mercer’s daughter asks Stella Darnell for help solving the murder, Stella sees echoes of herself. Another detective’s daughter.

With her sidekick sleuth, Jack, Stella moves to Winchcombe, where DCI Mercer and his prime suspect have been playing cat and mouse for the past eighteen years.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Even though this is the sixth in the detective daughter series, you can read as a standalone.

The story begins with the circumstances surrounding the first murder in 1977. After the disappearance of another girl in 1999, the body of the first victim is found. Stella and Jack are offered the case by another detective’s daughter whose father wants them to prove that the murderer is still at large. Other members of the team are not sure if they should take the case, but someone closer to home is keeping secrets that will need to be solved too.

The characters’ stories are sketched out in the first part of the story, so even if you are new to the series, like me you get a feel for who they are. Quirky is the word that sums up both Jack and Stella, both are good people but are damaged by life and find it difficult to relate to others outside their immediate team. There is a good team dynamic both in the ‘Clean Slate’, cleaning company and the detective agency. Everyone has a role and it more of a family than a business.

The crime-solving takes place in the last two-thirds of the story. It is a detailed and lengthy book but is well-paced. The factual details seamlessly merge with clues, misinformation and the characters’ internal and external conflicts. I liked the dynamic between Stella and Jack, they are vividly described and come across as believable.

The plot is intricate with numerous twists, even when you think you’ve solved it something alters to move the goal posts, and you discover you’re only partly correct. Atmospheric and suspenseful twists make ordinary events and settings menacing and chilling.

The ending leaves no loose ends and manages to retain its surprises.

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

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Posted in Book Review

Bring Me Back B. A. Paris 5*Review

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The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

Amazon

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Fast-paced, totally addictive suspense fiction that draws you in from the first lie until the final terrifying twist. Written from Finn and his missing girlfriend’s point of view, you learn their past and current thoughts, without slowing down the story.

Finn is troubled he has a shady past that occasionally resurfaces with devasting results, his obsessive love of Layla his missing girlfriend makes him an obvious suspect in her disappearance but his well-placed lies and excellent legal advice leave him free to rebuild his life.  Twelve years later, Finn has moved on, but random events collide to make him believe the past hasn’t done with him yet.

Focusing on Finn, his current girlfriend, a longtime friend and ex-girlfriend, the cast of this sinister thriller is small. As the menace escalates, Finn cannot trust anyone, and this sense of isolation builds his anger to boiling point.

The gripping final chapters reveal an unexpected twist, with horrific consequences for the story’s major players. I guessed this before the end, but even then, the ultimate revelation is not quite as I envisaged. For me, part of the enjoyment is trying to foresee the outcome before the story’s end. 

The tagline #forgetsleep is true. I read this book through the night yesterday.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Scandal – Sasha Morgan Extract and 4* Review

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As the new custodian of the ancestral home, Treweham Hall, Tobias Cavendish-Blake soon discovers exactly what he’s inherited. Instant financial action is needed if the Hall is to survive the mounting debts it’s racking up. Adding insult to injury the family is forced to sell the Gate House on the estate to lottery winners Gary and Tracy Belcher – not the kind of neighbours Tobias was hoping for.

Megan Taylor inherits her grandmother’s country cottage in the village of Treweham and decides to make a fresh start there, taking a job at the local country pub.

When Megan meets Tobias, the attraction is clear, but she is determined to resist his charms, put off by his reputation and that of his best friends – the rakish Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire racehorse trainer and dastardly jockey Dylan Delany. But Tobias is a hard man to resist…

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Extract

‘‘I’m due a race soon,’ Dylan chipped in. ‘A substantial wager would bring in the bacon.’

Tobias grinned. ‘What if you lose?’

‘I never do, not when it matters,’ replied Dylan with confidence and a wink. Dylan’s ocean-blue eyes twinkled with mischief. He was fiercely competitive, and his athletic physique made him the hugely successful jockey he was. His ancestry dated back to Romany travellers, and he attributed his gift of the gab to this, as well as his success with the ladies. Dylan Delany was a real catch, everyone knew that, but the trouble was he refused to be caught. He weaved his way through various relationships, ducking and diving, avoiding any commitment. The more unobtainable he became, the more he was desired.

Dylan had a reputation, and it took some upholding. He couldn’t help it if he loved women. He genuinely did like their company. He appreciated their femininity, the way they dressed so elegantly, their fragrance, their beautiful shiny, long hair, or sassy short hair, for that matter – he liked both. He was a sucker for any damsel – he was only human, after all. But deep down Dylan was a decent man and hated to see one of his close friends in any kind of trouble. Seamus was equally protective of his best friend.

‘True,’ agreed Seamus, ‘but it’s too much of a risk in the current climate.’

Dylan looked at him. ‘Says the Fox for whom I’ve made a fortune.’

‘True again,’ said Seamus with a laugh. Fox was a fitting name for him, with his ginger hair and sly, cunning wit.

‘Sometimes I feel like selling the whole bloody place, lock, stock and barrel to some rich American… throw in the title, too,’ moaned Tobias.

‘Surely it’s not that bad,’ sighed Seamus. He’d grown to love Tobias’ home, spending many a childhood summer there, and he smiled wistfully remembering the scrapes they’d got into. He’d also grown to love the family, who always made him feel so welcome. In later years Treweham Hall had acted as a temporary retreat when he had fallen out with his father. Sean Fox was a formidable force. He had a driving ambition where his horses were concerned and ran his stables with a cast-iron fist. Although he loved both his sons, he wouldn’t tolerate any form of subordination and treated them as he would any other member of staff, strictly but fairly. A young Seamus didn’t agree with his father’s authoritarian methods, and his defiance had got him booted out of the Fox household. The Cavendish-Blakes came to the rescue, giving him the full use of the Gate House on their estate. This had proved to be the perfect solution, especially to Seamus’ mother, whose desperate pleas to bring Seamus home had been totally ignored by her hardened husband.’

My Thoughts… 

Treweham is a quintessential English village, full of camaraderie, family life, gossip and the occasional scandal. There are a plethora of characters who are realistic; each has their role in the village life and a story to tell.
An easy to follow the plot, written from multi-points of view, in short chapters, interlocks nicely as the book progresses. Fast- paced the story has multiple themes; saving the ancestral home, winning the lottery, secret love and tabloid scandals being the main ones. Gentle romance, sensual affairs and a mystery hidden in the depths of the cottage Megan inherits from her beloved Grandmother are all explored and make this an interesting read.
This story is pure escapism and has the makings of an excellent series of books.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Morgan, SashaSasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one.

 

Posted in Book Review

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones – Wilkie Martin 4* Review

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‘I was grateful for having been born human’

There’s going to be trouble. Andy Caplet’s wife goes away, someone is out to get him, and he loses nearly everything in a storm. Amazing both himself and his unhuman friend Inspector Hobbes, he heroically rescues flood victims and uncovers something shocking.

Is Andy being set up for blackmail by the apparently charming young woman who attempts to seduce him, or is something even more sinister afoot? Hobbes certainly believes so, and he’s getting worried.

This is the fourth in Wilkie Martin’s unhuman series of standalone cozy comedy crime fantasies.

Suitable for teenage and upwards. Set in the English Cotswolds and featuring the unhuman British detective Inspector Hobbes as told by the chaotic reporter Andy Caplet. It is not necessary to have read the previous books in the series

Amazon UK

Amazon

Click on the book cover below for an excerpt from the book.

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My Thoughts…

A lovely mix of cozy mystery and fantasy set in a quirky Cotswold town. This was my first Inspector Hobbes novel and it’s been on my reading list for almost a year now. After reading it, I’m anxious to read the other mysteries.

Designed to be read as a standalone, you get all the backstory you need to enjoy both the characters and the mystery. Inspector Hobbes is an enigmatic, witty character but I’m still not sure what he is? It certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story, just made visualising him difficult.

Andy, our narrator attracts misfortune and this makes him both a vulnerable and comic character. He did exasperate me at times but he is a good person and makes a perfect ‘sidekick’ for the inspector.

The setting is vividly described and the plot easy to follow, allowing the reader to concentrate on the enthralling characters. There is a noticeable preoccupation with food, so make sure you have some snacks handy when reading this.

An addictive, humorous read.

I received a copy of this book from The Witcherley Book Company via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Christmas Cheer – Willow Cottage #2 – Bella Osborne – 5*Review

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Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

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Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage, Book 2)This is the second instalment of Bella Osborne’s seasonal series Willow Cottage. This one has a festive touch and the renovations at the cottage are taking shape. Beth begins to find out the villagers have hearts of gold under their eccentricity. There are some hilarious scenes in this story and all the characters are vividly wtitten but believable.
Jack is still a man of mystery but Beth starts to trust him, even bonding with his delightful dog Doris, who contributes her own brand of humour to the story. Carly and Fergus, Beth’s London friends have their own relationship problems and Nick, Beth’s abusive ex is still in the picture, casting a shadow over Beth’s new life.
Christmas day is certainly cheerful but New Year’s Eve has a sting, which forces Beth back into her shell, although I think she has misunderstood her friend’s well-meant warning. The book ends on a cliff hanger, leaving me hoping the next instalment isn’t far away.
Funny, poignant and romantic, a lovely festive read.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage, Book 2) by Bella Osborne

Bella Osborne

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