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.

 

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Her Frozen Heart – Lulu Taylor – 4* Review

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“Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.”

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy. Aren’t they? When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend.In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well. 

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My Thoughts…

An interesting story set in two time periods.There are parallels between the two main female characters Tommy and Caitlyn, and the past meets the present in the middle of the book. The characters are strong and believable; both women have emotionally difficult lives despite superficial wealth.

The plots are easy to follow, but there are enough twists to hold your interest. The setting is particularly vivid in the historical chapters. The description of the snow and cold was rich in detail and realistic imagery.

The female antagonists in the story hide their deceit and obsessive behaviour behind a cloak of friendliness and vulnerability. The psychological thrills are subtle but make the plot darker than you would first imagine.

The writing showed insight into human emotions and coupled with the vivid imagery it turns an ordinary plot into something worth reading.

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

Missing Presumed – D.S. Manon #1 – Susie Steiner – 4 *Review

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

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Mystery Thriller My Review

A good crime mystery is defined by its detective. Manon Bradshaw is a complex, compelling creature who ensures you keep turning the pages even when the plot is a little pedestrian in parts.

I liked the carefully layered plot, which gradually gives the reader more pieces in the jigsaw, only to add tragic events and new characters which complicate rather than inform. It would have been so easy to write a sensationalised ending but ‘Missing, Presumed’, stays true to its credible roots and is believable. The story’s women’s fiction element is strong and makes it worth reading.The suspense is well written but this is more about familial relationships and friendships than criminals.

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

The Betrayal – The Guernsey Novels #6 – Anne Allen- 5* Review

 

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?

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My Thoughts…

 I love this series, it has all the best qualities of a cosy mystery in a breathtaking setting, with just a hint of the supernatural and historical flashbacks that illuminate the present mystery.

Believable, interesting characters are easy to empathise with and draw you into present-day Guernsey and it’s WW2 legacy, most notably the German occupation of the island. The gentle romance and supernatural elements enhance the storyline. The writing is clever as present-day events are determined by their historical roots. 

Whilst they are standalone read; characters and situations from previous novels inform this story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series check out my reviews and read them for yourself.

 This story is a pleasing, page-turning read, that makes me want to reacquaint myself with the mystical island of Guernsey.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

The Fire Child – S.K.Tremayne – 5* Review

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

 

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

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Mystery Thriller My Review

The Fire Child

I like this atmospheric tale, which uses its mystical Cornwall setting cleverly to enhance the suspense. The plot is twisty and spine chilling, building up to the most devastating secret. The characters and events are vividly written and the first person point of view makes the story frightening real. In contrast to the mystery and thrills, there is a poignant story of loss and abuse, which gives the story its authenticity.
Rachel has an ideal life; love, an enchanting stepson and a beautiful house but not surprisingly everything is not what it seems. Strange happenings and dangerous confidences mar Rachel’s idyll and force her to face her painful past and secrets she has kept hidden. David is a slave to his family heritage and keeping up appearances. Grief stricken Jamie struggles between reality and imagination or is it all in Rachel’s mind?
An interesting psychological thriller, with plenty of emotion and flawed characters to keep it believable.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

S.K. Tremayne

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Touched to the Soul – Elsa Winckler 5* Review

Here’s my second book review for Elsa Winckler’s Touched series ‘Touched to the Soul,’

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Blurb 2016- 2

A passion that runs soul deep… 

Zoe Sutherland can’t stand the pushy, arrogant architect Dale Cavallo. He was just too damn sure of himself, too handsome, too…everything. Maneuvered into working as the interior decorator on his latest project, a glamorous new hotel, Zoe can’t keep her mind on the job. And worse, the strange man won’t give her access to the hotel’s floor plans. How is she supposed to finish the design when she doesn’t have the plans? And when the obnoxious man distracts her with every smoldering look, every touch… 

Dale has one goal: get rid of the pesky interior designer. Since he’s been forced into close proximity with the beautiful Zoe, everything’s gone downhill. And to make matters worse, she’s only out to further her own career—and he’s not about to give her the hotel’s plans so she can steal his ideas. He needs to get her out of his system, and sleeping with her seems like the best way to do that. When it comes to women, he’s found the best way to handle them is to love ’em and leave ’em. But something strange is happening…because after a night of loving Zoe, he’s finding it harder than ever to leave… 

Buy Links 2016 -2

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My Review

Touched to the Soul

Reading ‘Touched to the Heart’ the first book in this series got me hooked on the sexy Cavallo brothers and the feisty Sutherland sisters. ‘Touched to the Soul’ is Zoe and Dale’s story, who met in book one where they seemed to repel more than attract. However, neither is being honest and when they are thrown together the sensual tension is off the scale.
If you enjoy watching love grow between glamorous couples, this is for you. The worlds of interior design and boutique hotels collide. The exchanges between Zoe and Dale are full of amusing dialogue, sizzling interaction and serious conflict that makes a happy ever for the couple seems unlikely. However, fairy godmothers in the form of Zoe’s mum and Rosa, Dale’s mum have other ideas.
Glimpses of the other Sutherland sister and their best friend’s lives enhance this passionate love story, making reading the next book in the series mandatory.
The other star of this book and the series is the setting. The descriptions are not extensive but you get wonderful glimpses of life in South Africa, which makes these stories distinctive.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Touched to the Soul by Elsa Winckler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Touched to the Heart by Elsa Winckler

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Echoes of Time -The Guernsey Novels Book 5 – Anne Allen – 5* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake.
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-
but there’s a price to pay. . .
2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.
Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?

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My Review - Coastal

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5)

 

All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.
The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way. Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real? The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.
Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?
A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5) by Anne Allen

Anne Allen

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5* Review- Sue Fortin -The Half Truth -#SummerImpulse

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Blurb - Coastal

Every marriage has its secrets…

Tina Bolotnikov, widowed after her husband, Sasha, is killed in a car accident, relocates back to her hometown on the south coast of the UK, to bring up her young son. Her life back in London with her adored husband is now nothing but a memory; a history to pass onto her son.

DS John Nightingale saw his partner killed in the line of duty and has made it his personal and professional quest to bring to justice the Russian gang responsible. Five years on and the killer is still free but as reports come in of Sasha Bolotnikov’s brother returning to the UK, John is tasked with tracking him down and following him to the seaside town of Littlehampton.

Tina finds herself an unwitting connection to a world she knew nothing about. She thought she knew her husband. She thought their past was the truth. But now as the investigation draws her closer to DS Nightingale, professional lines are blurred and crossed, and only he holds the key to her future.

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My Review - Coastal

 

The Half TruthSuspenseful and sinister from the first page, this crime orientated, romantic suspense draws you into a world of organised crime and the dedicated police squads that track them down.
Five years after her Russian husband, Sasha, died in a an accident Tina is rebuilding her shattered life, her young son Dimitri, who her husband never saw, is her reason for getting up in the morning, She is determined he won’t miss not having a dad.
John Nightingale is still guilt ridden by his partner’s death. The chance to capture his murderer means invading Tina’s life and possibly destroying it again but he owes it to his partner doesn’t he?
Both Tina and John are strong characters, he appears in Tina’s life at a time when she is ready to consider moving on, but there is a strong conflict of interest, which makes any future for the couple unlikely.
The plot is realistic and the characters’ reactions believable. Tina and John wrestle with their consciences and realise life is all about shades, rather than stark right or wrong. Angst and emotional soul searching contrasts with adrenalin filled action scenes.
This story is easy reading but it will provoke your emotions right up to the end.

The Half Truth by Sue Fortin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Half Truth by Sue Fortin

Sue Fortin

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