Posted in Book Review

The Little Book Cafe – Tash’s Story- Georgia Hill – 5*Review

 

Local estate agent Tash isn’t convinced about joining the new book club at Berecombe’s beautiful new bookshop and café. Dragged there by her friend Emma, she knows she needs a night out. Her boyfriend Adrian is wonderful, and adores her, but has become a bit clingy of late. So when she is introduced to new local farmer Kit, with his scruffy beard and low-key look, it’s a breath of fresh air to chat to someone so un-Adrian. Maybe this book club idea could be fun after all!

But when Tash starts forgetting things and behaving oddly, over-protective Adrian is determined to keep her from her new interest. But if bookclub has taught Tash anything, she should know not to judge a book by its cover…

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My Thoughts…

I enjoyed Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe series and expected this one to be similar. It does feature some of the characters I met previously, but this story has a much darker tone. 

Outwardly Tash appears ambitious and successful, her property developer boyfriend dotes on her, and she has the lifestyle she always aspired to. She’s only attending the book club for her friend  Emma and considers it a waste of time.  The first book club meeting is pivotal in Tash’s life. It highlights the cracks in her perfect facade and makes her wonder if a different life would suit her better.

Tash’s gradual realisation that something isn’t right in her relationship is accompanied by out of character forgetfulness. Adrian’s attitude towards her is increasingly controlling, and she knows something needs to change but is she strong enough to face the challenge?

Natasha’s character development is extensive as the story progresses, and her strength of character finally lets her be the person she really is. Adrian is a dark, draining individual with dangerous secrets. The suspense and menace in this story intensify with every scene as Tash fights for her identity. The ending is powerful and satisfying and makes me want to see what happens next. I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Not what you’d expect from this author but riveting reading.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review

5* Review -Twilight Song #3 The House of the Birds and the Butterflies – Cressida McLaughlin

 

Spring is blooming at Meadowsweet nature reserve. Although the sunshine is drawing in the visitors like never before, events coordinator Abby knows she’s treading on thin ice. She’s spending more and more time with village newcomer Jack, and she’ll need to make a real success of the springtime camping extravaganza at the reserve if she’s to keep her disgruntled boss off her back.

Abby hasn’t thrown too many questions at Jack about his shadowy past – she’s enjoying the budding romance, so why break the spell? But when the secrets start spilling out and a glamorous blonde presenter from the nature show, Wild Wonders, turns Jack’s head, Abby knows it’s time to face the music…

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My Thoughts…

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and while this is true for the inhabitants of the Nature Reserve, problems loom on the horizon that threatens its future.

The couple’s gentle romance dominates this third part of the serial. Abby and Jack’s behaviour and willingness to help the other signify their deepening emotions but their pasts make them cautious.
Penelope still keeps her problems secret, but Abby sees another side to her boss, which surprises her. Abby’s plans for the reserve are a success but will they be enough?

When you think this part of the serial is ending on a high, someone from the past threatens Abby’s happiness. The mystery of the house remains untold and with the cliffhanger ending reading the final instalment is a given for me.

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

 

Posted in Book Review

The LoveBirds – Cressida McLaughlin – #2 The House of Birds and Butterflies – 5* Review

 

It’s winter at Meadowsweet nature reserve. Wildlife-lover Abby is busy trying to lure in the crowds, and although her event planning is a little on the whacky side, her creative efforts are helping to keep Meadowsweet afloat. She’s not having quite the same luck, however, in getting to know the elusive village newcomer, disgraced celebrity author Jack. It’s clear that Jack has mysterious reasons for staying out of the limelight, and the village rumour mill is in overdrive.

Abby’s passion for the great outdoors is nothing short of infectious and when Jack joins her on a special nature walk, sparks unexpectedly start to fly.

As their relationship thaws, should Abby be on high alert? Or would a new romance be the most natural thing in the world…

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 My Thoughts…

New Year starts off the second book in ‘The House of Birds and Butterflies series. Abby’s hoping for new beginnings, and when she unexpectedly spends New Years Day alone with her mother, she finds her parent wanting to build bridges.

The nature reserve is still in need of new ideas to keep it afloat, and Jack seems determined to be involved. Penelope, the owner of the reserve, is keeping secrets and Abby realises she needs to find out what if she’s going to help.

Abby’s fascination with Swallowtail house continues, and Jack seems to share her interest, leading to sharing and insights into both their troubled pasts. Their chequered relationship dominates ‘The Lovebirds, which ends with more secrets than solutions.

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

Posted in Book Review

The Dawn Chorus – Cressida McLaughlin – #1 The House of Birds and Butterflies – 5* Review

Abby Field is living the dream. As events coordinator at the Meadowsweet nature reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast, every day is an adventure with the birds and the butterflies, and she couldn’t feel more at home. When another local nature reserve is chosen as the hot location for a new television series, however, Meadowsweet looks set for seasonal hibernation – unless Abby can whip up a creative plan to keep the visitors flocking.

With the help of the Meadowgreen villagers, and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, can Abby rescue the nature reserve from oblivion? Or will she be distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome – new neighbour…

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My Thoughts…

I love the title of this new series from Cressida McLaughlin. The cover epitomises the book’s ethos perfectly. Set against the background of a nature reserve on the Suffolk coast, ‘The Dawn Chorus’ the first book in the series, introduces the mysterious house, abandoned in heartbreak on the edge of the reserve and a cast of delightfully quirky characters whose love of nature brings them together.

Abby loves her job, which brings her into direct contact with the public and the inhabitants of the reserve on a daily basis. She is fascinated by the faded glory of the large house, belonging to the reserve’s owner Penelope. No longer lived it possesses a mysterious, tragic quality that Abby longs to explore. Abby guards her heart fiercely. Let down by her father and drawn to toxic relationships she prefers to share life with Raffle her husky.

The arrival of Jack disrupts her uneventful life, and I can’t wait to read book 2, ‘The Lovebirds’ to see what happens next.

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

Posted in Book Review

Ottercombe Bay- #4 – Shaken and Stirred – 5* Review – Bella Osborne

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

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My Thoughts…

A lovely end to a charming serial.

Devon makes a colourful coastal setting for this romantic tale with a hint of mystery and lots of humorous moments. Daisy returns to her childhood home, Ottercombe bay to fulfil her great uncle’s legacy.  She develops a successful business but can she be lucky in love too? Daisy and Max’s tumultuous relationship makes this unlikely at times.

This final part of the series solves the mystery surrounding her mother’s death but is the truth worse than not knowing? The ending ties up all the loose ends and leaves you with a warm hug.

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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

Posted in Book Review

Ottercombe Bay#3 – Raising the Bar – Bella Osborne – 5* Review

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

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My Thoughts…

Part three of Ottercombe Bay – Raising the Bar sees Daisy finally opening her multi-purpose business in the old Railway building left to her by her Great-Uncle Reg. Daisy is joined by some quirky characters who she manages to employ on a part-time basis, now all she needs are the customers.

Romance is also in the air, but it’s not without its complications. Bug, the pug, provides a constant stream of amusement even though he did leave Daisy marooned at the end of part two. Daisy’s problems aren’t over yet, she has uninvited guests, things go missing, and the circumstances around her mother’s death remain mysterious.

This episode ends with a cliffhanger, so I’m looking forward to the fourth and final part of this humorous, yet poignant series.

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