Monday, 31 July 2017

Little Bird

Little bird- Sharon Dempsey- 4*

A bridesmaid is murdered whilst at her sister’s wedding. Their father is a forensic psychologist now in a wheelchair after a car bomb took away his mobility. Anna is new to the Northern Ireland force arriving shortly after this happens so is immediately in the thick of it.  She has left behind her husband as they have grown apart. Declan feels that not only has he lost his legs but a part of his life and now his daughter- when will it end? Another young girl is found dead. Is this the same perpetrator and why are these girls being targeted? I enjoy detective novels when there is more than just the main story (but not too much to be detracting) and this gives a little more about the main character’s life. Well told and well rounded, you can’t help but like Anna and feel for Declan like you would a neighbour. A little humour, a little romance, a good plot and excellent story telling make this a highly enjoyable book.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Product Details

Beneath the surface- Sibel Hodge

Holly, a young journalist finds out that her childhood friend Jess and husband have been killed by their son who has then killed himself. This seems way out of character so she decides to find out more. Holly regrets having not been in touch with Jess sooner. Jess’s mother wants answers and Holly promises to do her very best. This is a well told story as always with Sibel where characters come to life on the pages and a story to get into.  I would like to award it a higher rating but there are huge factual errors.  As this is a work of fiction I will concentrate on the story for my review and disregard the factual errors. I won’t go into them here but if totally fictional then fine, but a mix of fact (by the amount of Pharma info re SPC etc) and fiction can give a skewed picture. I love Sibel’s books and won’t let this one detract from future works.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Then She Was Gone

Then she was gone- Lisa Jewell-4*
Ellie disappeared 10 years ago. Her siblings have since moved away and her parents divorced. Lauren her mother has always wished it was Hanna who went not Ellie and feels that she is a bad mother for thinking such a thing. The story for the most part is about Lauren, what happened and her life thereafter. Lisa has a talent for getting the reader into the story quickly and keeping you engrossed. This is an intriguing dark tale and one to make you think. An emotional plot that almost had me in tears at the end. I saw part of the ending coming but not all. Fast paced and one you have to keep reading.  A very well written , highly entertaining recommended read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Monday, 24 July 2017

Perfect Imperfections

Perfect imperfections- Taryn Leigh 4*

Sarah is flying back to her homeland of South Africa to make a new start. Something has happened in her life and she needs to heal, relax and be with friends who understand her. She stays with her best friend Katy. She and her brother Edward have known Sarah since childhood and can provide the care and comfort Sarah needs at this delicate stage of her life.
This is a beautifully written book. One like a special chocolate that you want to savour and make the most of. We don’t learn of what has happened to Sarah for quite a while so the reader can focus on the characters and wonderful descriptions of homes and scenery and of characters that you warm to. A book to relax with, a book to make you think a little about life. Of precious moments and memories. One life- live it.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Deadly Friendship (D.I. Denis Hamilton #3)

Deadly Friendship- Tara Lyons  4*
Aboard a boat trip whilst on holiday in Ambleside, Inspector Hamilton finds a body. 2 years beforehand a group of friends visiting the same area keep a secret. One of them has been missing since and the case is now reopened as she was a friend of the murdered man. Tara always writes books that you slip into easily and want to find out more. Characters which come to life through the pages and a story that you could see as a TV drama. Descriptions of scenery to crime scenes that put you in the picture. Crimes that sometimes may be a little disturbing but never enough to put you off your dinner. An enjoyable comfortable read.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased
I recently entered a short story competion- and won. I hope you will forgive me for posting it here. It was one of those where the words just appeared on the page. I have never written anyting before so to win was a real surprise. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Antigone (Inner strength)

Image result for girl sitting with animals

Amidst the sounds of animals, a girl stood and realised that for the first time in her life that things were perhaps not as they should be. She loved her life and those around her, all but one. The one she had feared for so many years, who drove her waking thoughts and insecurities, maligning her in every way possible, making her believe things were not as others told her.
For as long as she could remember she had believed that she was fat, ugly and would never amount to anything. Oh yes - she had rebelled - only to be told she was argumentative,disruptive, unruly and loud .
At this point, amongst the stillness, she realised that none of this was true. Was it?
Friends and others had made comments without prompt that she was calm and supportive, passive and quiet. How could she believe anything else? Her head wanted to explode as the memories overcame her.
A life of insecurity, questioning who and what she was, a life of standing back and wishing. Wishing that the one person who had stood beside her and gave her confidence was still there. Thankfully his presence lingered, and she now began to think of him often, the things he would say about the various situations she found herself in. Such as dealing with her abuser, something she had little choice about because of who they are.
In any other relationship, she was sure they would have divorced or been reported to the police, to be dealt with by the law but in her case that wasn’t possible as she was a child no longer, but an adult. A fact she had to remember. A fact her councillor went over with her time and again. Not a child to be told what she could and couldn’t do, how she should behave, what she should choose and wear.
An adult. Really? The years she had been beholden to this person, requiring their support before every decision and then even when she felt rebellious, would worry over what would be said… or done. She wasn’t a stranger to violence and re-lived those painful times, time and again.
This power had held her back but now she finally realised it was weakening and like the chrysalis, was beginning to feel her wings. They were far from unfurling but she could feel the breeze she needed to take her to a different plane. One where she could be herself and not have to think anymore. A world away from the pain she had suffered for so many years.
In the stillness she gazed at her animals who were her comfort. It was to them she always turned when she had no one else, when she'd been told she was in the wrong. Now she realised this was no longer true. No one can make you 'feel'. There is a choice, there is help and there is hope. Reap what you sow. She certainly hoped so.

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy by [Ross, Alice]

The Cotswold Cookery club-Alice Ross  3*

Connie is house sitting for a friend for 6 months in a Cotswold village- a far cry from her normal dreary life in London. She works as a proofreader and “500 fascinating facts about fly fishing” are really not doing it for her and she wants to make the most of the time away. She has an idea about a small cookery club which with a little help soon has 4 members who become good friends. This is one of those summer enjoyable reads which make you smile along the way. A nice easy going tale about village life (and all it’s scandals and gossip!) to enjoy over a coffee or two. Sometimes I just need a relaxing read. This was the perfect fit. For me the ending was a little abrupt and would have earned an extra star had it been just that little better.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

BEFORE I LEFT a gripping psychological thriller full of killer twists

Before I left- Daisy  White- 3*  

Mary and Ruby have left a life behind in Croydon. Ruby is nineteen whilst  Mary is married and pregnant.- leaving behind a tempestuous relationship. They arrive at their cousins in Brighton to begin anew. Set in the 1960’s  when communication and transport amongst other things, were not quite so simple, they find jobs and although still wary think they have left the past behind them. Murders of young women start occurring and Ruby can’t help feel being watched. Are the two connected? This book grabs you from the start wondering what has happened in the past and is it going to affect the future? I took to the main characters, Ruby in particular as she came across well and despite what had happened, everything she did had the best intentions. A well written enjoyable read.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased
When You Disappeared

When you disappeared- John Marrs- 5**
John has a talent. A talent for grabbing his reader, captivating them and not letting go. A man disappeared 25 years ago leaving a wife and 3 children. No note, no body, nothing. The story alternates between then and now telling what has happened and why to each party- the wife and the husband. You know that there is something, just a little something more but not quite what. You realise that maybe you are feeling sympathy for the wrong party- but just who is the wronged party- him or her? A cleverly thought out brilliantly told tale that you won’t want to put down. One of my top reads of the year.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Mourning Parade

The Mourning parade Dawn Reno Langley  5*

Think “Out of Africa”  and “The Horse Whisperer”with elephants. Natalie, an equine veterinarian, has travelled to Thailand to volunteer with the elephants to escape the trauma that happened a year ago. With no husband and no children the elephants become her soulmates- one in particular. She also finds an old adversary in their midst -one she didn’t even know she had upset. A wonderful tale of finding yourself. Each chapter is prefaced by a philosophical quote. Of dealing with PTSD and loss, of what should have been and new beginnings.  If you love animals and dream of visiting their homeland then this book is for you. With wonderful descriptions of the scenery and the animals, this is a book to lose yourself in. I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Monday, 17 July 2017

DEAD JEALOUS a gripping crime thriller full of twists

Dead Jealous- Helen Durrant- 3*
A girl’s body is found in the boot of  car. No one in the local area appears to know anything, or at least are being cagey about their answers to the police questions. A loan shark runs the local neighbourhood. Years beforehand a young girl went missing and was never found. When articles relating to her are discovered by accident the case re surfaces. A well written book with enough punch to keep the reader interested. Some background to characters and a little of their life story always makes them more real. An enjoyable read.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Friday, 14 July 2017


The policewoman- Justin Roberts-4*  
Sarah has a background. A secret one. Her profile is that of a successful model and indeed she has graced many a magazine cover. However she is more familiar with another sort of magazine-one of that in  a gun. Drugs are getting out of hand and gruesome murders occurring due to a cartel taking over their suppliers if they don’t play ball. This is quite a technical read in places but explains well  the professional terms, acronyms  and phraseology. I learned something reading this book- about tactics we hear about on the news and why things are done in a certain way ,about Special forces and their objectives to their abbreviations. I found this very interesting and I am not into military history etc at all.  A fairly simple plot (which is not a bad thing at all) put amongst a futuristic setting (2026) and characters that are far more than they first reveal. A little humour, even a little romance,and  a little pathos. (Danny boy brought a tear to my eye). Mostly a gritty read where you just might learn a thing or two. A very interesting factual read. Thank you to Justin for letting me read this.

I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Thursday, 13 July 2017


A policeman’s wife is kidnapped as he watches her on his phone. There are some not-so-honest police in his force and he could be one of them. There have been murders of police and their families. A man undercover realises he could be in too deep and wants out, but is he too close and could it be too late.

An interesting premise, an easy enough read and a decent plot. I would like to have seen a little more about the characters to give them more depth. Only one had a little background and then because his wife was involved in the plot. More depth to the main players to me gives them more character and brings them to life.  A little more than the main story line and a little more to the ending would have earned an extra star.  I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Last Seen Alive

Last seen alive- Claire Douglas- 4*

Wow! What  a read! I sat on the edge of my seat for the first half of this book as if I was on a roller coaster ride. That feeling of insecurity knowing something is lurking about to happen, that eerie sensation of uncertainty just waiting to get to some sort of plateau that you can breath and contain yourself. Libby is a school teacher and has been through a rough patch recently so when an opportunity to go away presented itself it seemed perfect. If something is too good to be true…..?Things start happening that Libby’s husband Jamie puts down to Libby’s recent events until he finds out for himself.  A very well written and thought out plot. Prepare to freak a little! A brilliant read.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Secrets She Keeps: The life she wanted wasn't hers . . .

The Secrets she keeps- Michael Rowbotham-4*
Meg has it all- so thinks Agatha. A husband, a family, a nice home and a nice life. Sitting in the cafe talking to other mothers, and all of the other activities parents take for granted or moan about.  Agatha works in the local supermarket and is badly treated, dreaming of a new life with a husband and children of her own. There are twists in this almost from the outset. I won’t spoil anything but even the first one made me sit up. A tale where you just know something is going to happen but not quite what. One to keep you guessing whilst giving you that uncomfortable feeling of anticipation. A powerful tale, and quite disturbing in parts. A story of minds and wishes, of hopes and dreams. Of what went before and of those dreams shattered before they have even begun. A very well written book that will stay with me awhile.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased

Poor Hands- Oliver Tidy 4*
“I put a pinny on, opened a bottle of wine and hey presto! I was Keith Floyd! This gives you an idea of how this wonderful book is written. WIth humour, with excellent characters and a little tongue in cheek. For those who haven't come across Booker and Cash before- David Booker runs a coffee shop that was a bookshop which he inherited and transformed. Jo Cash is an ex detective now working independently as a PI. They are a team, one batting from the other and this works really well as there is two perspectives. Jo is asked to trace descendants from someone born in the 1800’s for a mystery American client. David, meanwhile comes across a young girl needing help and this leads to things he never imagined. A relaxing read over (several) cups of coffee. One of those reads you feel at home with and can almost imagine happening.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Don’t close your eyes- Holly Seddon 4*

Sarah and Robin are twins with very different lives. We learn about each of them and the past in alternating chapters. What has happened to Robin to make her so withdrawn from the world outside her door? The “incident” with their parents maybe having long lasting effects on the both of them. Has Sarah had the perfect life since she went to the USA and married with children. This is an intriguing story, one which makes you think and reflect on childhood and how much that affects our adult lives. A well written tale of family and relationships, of “what if’s” and “if only’s” that we all maybe have. A dysfunctional family, in parts a dark tale. One that will have you thinking afterwards -I didn’t see that happening. A very interesting read to say the least! I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
How to Stop Time

How to Stop time- Matt Haig- 5*  

Matt has a beautiful writing style. One that sits you down, makes you put your feet up with a cup of coffee and then envelopes you in it’s warmth. Gentle, beautiful words to give vivid descriptions of characters and places that wrap themselves around you to put you in the picture. Tom is anageric- he ages slowly. He has lived for hundreds of years and he is rather tired of it all. Of the deception, of not being able to put down roots in case his “secret” is discovered and of not being able to love because that would cause too many problems. A beautifully written book with a wonderful main character. Almost a philosophical tale. Wonderful storytelling to enjoy. I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Out of Practice (The Larkford Series)

Out of Practice - Penny Parkes 4*

Holly has just started a new job in GP land having worked in a hospital previously. She hopes this will give the family the new start that they need especially as things haven't been so good with her husband Milo.

Meeting the characters both at The Practice and in the village open her eyes to her new vocation. This is a well written entertaining read where characters come to life and are the mainstay of the book. Taffy, Dan, Elsie and Holly are ones to take to (or at least I did) with their sense of humour and fun that comes across the pages. A story in some ways of how to live life- “should” not being a part of it- I must remember this! That friends are the ones that count and to laugh at life is the very best medicine.
BURIED ON THE FENS a gripping crime thriller full of twists
Buried on the fens- Joy Ellis  4*

DI Nikki Galena rather has her hands full. A body is found in a graveyard but not in the usual way. A woman has been murdered and it turns out that she has been keeping a secret as have a large number of women in the area. Could this be why they are being targeted? Old tales and more secrets amongst the villagers may be the key to one of the crimes but no-one wants to speak out as the fear is still there. This is one of those wonderful, comfortable, easy reads that you can sit with a coffee and enjoy. There are descriptions of murder and other things (It wouldn’t be a crime book otherwise and I won’t give anything away) but nothing too disturbing to spoil the flow. or to put you off your dinner. Characters that you warm to and know a little of their “outside” lives to make them come more to life. I love Joy’s writing style and this is my second of her books and won’t be the last. This is the seventh in the series but happily stands alone. A highly enjoyable read.I voluntarily chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...