The Hidden Secrets of Bumblebee Cottage by Christie Barlow #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hidden Secrets of Bumblebee Cottage by Christie Barlow. This is the 10th book in the Love Heart Lane series and it is just a fabulous series to read.

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

A new start…

When Jinny Birdwhistle is pushed over the edge one time too many times and quits her job as a tabloid journalist, an impromptu – and rather unconventional – job search leads her to a new house, car, and career making honey and chutney in the small Scottish village of Heartcross. And with handsome beekeeper Gabe Warner to help her learn the ropes, she’s ready to embrace ‘country girl life’ and leave the past behind her.

…uncovers an old secret

Yet there’s more to strong and silent Gabe than meets the eye and though Jinny planned to leave her journalistic instincts in London, she can’t help doing a little digging. Now, as she uncovers a mystery that links to her own history, Jinny realises that you can’t outrun the truth and the only way to move forward is to face the past. But now that she’s at home in Heartcross, she won’t have to do it alone…

MY REVIEW

I adore this series and it is great to meet another character who is due to become the next resident of Heartcross in the Love Heart Lane series.

Jinny is a journalist in London, he father owns the paper and she wants nothing. It is her father’s attitude that makes her stop and want to evaluate what she is doing. After an exchange of words, Jinny leaves London, her flat and her job to try to get a job in the adorable Scottish village.

Bumblebee Cottage used to belong to Dixie and George, it is now empty and waiting for the next chapter in its history. Jinny has big boots to follow but the gorgeous Gabe will be around to help her when she needs it. Did I mention that Gabe has a secret? No! Oh, he isn’t the only one who does though…

This is another gorgeous read and one that I really enjoyed from the outset. Jinny is a character who I liked, while she has had everything handed to her, including her job, flat and car, she has not had much in the way of choice. It is when her father wants her to intrude on someone’s private life that she realises that she doesn’t want this life, that people have rights and that her father has no moral boundaries.

Coming to Heartcross is a step away from everything she knows. Luckily the community is supportive and amazing, if you have read any of this series then you will already know this. If you haven’t then go to the beginning of the series and dread them, you will get to know the area, and the community and they are all amazing books.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, supportive community… and they do look out for visitors and guests. It turns out that Gabe has a few secrets and this is something that the journo in Jinny just has to delve into. Apart from that, if you knew you liked someone and wanted to know a bit more you would do the same thing. Before you sit there and shake your head and deny it, have you looked people up on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites? Yep, I knew you had!

So the secrets, are good and they are also heartbreaking. But this is not a sad book, it is one about making fresh starts and Bumblebee Cottage is just the place for that. Once a thriving business makes chutneys and honey, it needs a new occupier to breathe fresh air into the jars and recipes. Will Jinny be the one to do that and can Gabe help her or is there too much hurt for them?

This is a fabulous book and one fan of cosy, heartwarming, contemporary fiction and romance will adore it. I have loved every book in the series and this is another that hits all the right spots and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of twelve romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell #policeprocedural #crime #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell. This is the first book in the Detective Jennifer Knight series and it was an excellent crime thriller with a twist!

You don’t know him. But he knows you.

Soon he would be able to touch her, to feel the warmth of her blood. And when the time came, nothing would stop him.

As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave.
When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked. What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict.

Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play …

With her mother’s terrifying legacy spiralling out of control, Jennifer must look into her own dark past in a fight not only to stop a killer – but to save herself and those she loves. 

MY REVIEW

I have recently read a book by this author and really enjoyed it. I often see her books being reviewed and they always intrigue me, I do have several books that I have bought based on those reviews, but I still need to read them!

It was good to start this series from the beginning, it’s not something I do often. Meeting Detective Jennifer Knight was an interesting experience. She works in Haven with fellow officer Will. They have a good working relationship and the banter between them attests to this. There is however something about Knight that means she is not really seen as a ‘proper detective’ as such, I mean she is but she is one that has been shunted down the pecking order and not given important cases, her partner Will is given the same sort of treatment.

Knight has a unique gift and this is something that gives her trouble but also makes her stand out as being different, not in a good way either. Others are suspicious of her for various reasons and I think they don’t see her as being stable enough to have their backs.

As the synopsis suggests, the duo have been given a case, it is one that could have links to other cases and maybe the past. The thing is with the past, you are never sure if it’s the right route to go down or if you are just trying to make things fit. Then, of course, there is that question… who is the past linked to?

This is a really good story and it is one that takes on some interesting turns, there is a paranormal or supernatural element to it, and I do know that this can put some people off but it is done in a very good way. Not corny or tongue-in-cheek and it does work well.

I enjoyed this a lot and it is definitely a series that I will be continuing. Great for those who like police procedurals, crime and thriller stories and also ones with a twist. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Shortlisted by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over 1.5 million books sold.

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Unquiet Souls by Liz Mistry #crime #thriller #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am still playing catch-up with books I read before Christmas, today’s review is for Unquiet Souls by Liz Mistry. This is the first book in the D.I. Gus McGuire series and I am definitely looking forward to reading more.

MY REVIEW

I have several books by this author, have seen loads of reviews and have yet to pick one up. Well, that changed when I decided to read Unquiet Souls. Oh my goodness, why have I not gotten to this series sooner or this author!!! Talk about a hard-hitting, brutal, crime thriller and police procedural or what! This was such an amazing book to read and one of those that I literally ‘did not want to put down’.

D.I Gus McGuire, I like him a lot btw, my first meeting with him is while he is still getting his head around a previous case and coming to terms with the loss of his best friend.

The main theme of the story centres around child abuse and trafficking, not a subject that makes for enjoyable reading as such, but if done well makes for an addictive fictional story that opens your eyes. The author does deal with the abuse carefully and doesn’t go into details, which I am really glad about. Instead, she carefully uses the reactions of others to impart the horrific and awful brutality.

Gus is back to work and is dealing with a murder that, as the synopsis tells, is when the abused children are discovered. This is the start of an investigation that has roots in the past and is obviously a continuing case for some other officers. Gus and his team are tasked with finding all they can and discovering the truth.

The author definitely knows how to twist a tale and had me so intrigued I didn’t really attempt to try to work things out. I was happy following the team and discovering things along with them. There were a couple of points where I thought, “I wonder,” but to be honest it was only because the author had gently nudged me in the right direction.

This is a hard-boiled crime thriller, it is great to start a series at the beginning and this is something that doesn’t happen very often with me. I do like how the team have been set up within this book and they look like they are going to be a trusted group.

I do like how the author switches between Gus and his personal life and problems as well as the investigation. There are twists and turns in both.

A fabulous start to a series I am definitely going to read more of and it is a book I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too.

Social Media – Twitter Website

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a book that has been out for quite a while now. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a brilliant book and one that has been sitting on my kindle since it was first released. Don’t ask me why I didn’t read it sooner, but I am so glad I finally did. I did read this one before Christmas and I am trying to get caught up with my reviews!

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

MY REVIEW

I have seen this book around for a while now, I bought it a while ago as well but only just got around to it. This is a fictional book about Daisy Jones and a band called The Six. The title does kind of give it away!

The Six are already a band, they have already had an album. Daisy Jones is an up-and-coming star and it is a chance comment that brings them together.

This book is set out as a documentary-style transcript. It is very easy to get used to this style and as it is a transcript you always know who is saying what. The author has created a story that is incredibly addictive and all the time I was reading this I had to remind myself that it was a fictional book about fictional people.

The author delves into the lives of her characters before they became the band known as Daisy Jones & The Six. This is such an insightful look into the lives of each of the members when the drugs, sex and rock’n’roll lifestyle was notorious around rock bands. The author doesn’t hold back in this and her characters go through some tough choices.

The main man behind The Six is Billy Dunne. There is a certain amount of animosity from the rest of the band at times as he takes charge of the direction they are going. Bringing in Daisy creates problems, but also adds a balance. However, two dynamic characters such as Billy and Dasiy are going to create waves.

The author has packed this story with so much tension, excitement, and mayhem of living a lifestyle in the late 60s and early 70s. Time on the road, creating new songs and how the dynamics between the band, their families and friends take its toll.

A fabulous story that I am so glad I finally got around to reading. Exciting and sad at times but with an addictive quality. I soon found characters I preferred over others and I did have an interest in hoping for the best for others. An unusual style but a brilliant book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Snowflakes Over Muddleford Cove by Kim Nash @KimTheBookworm #romcom #festivefiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Snowflakes Over Muddleford Cove by Kim Nash. This is a gorgeous book that I read book mid-December and adored it. My Mum and I are big fans of this author and we look forward to getting her books.

Love is in the air and the festive season is just around the corner at the seaside town of Muddleford.

Nellie is happily settled in her gorgeous clifftop home. Her favourite evenings are those spent at her beach hut, cosying up under a blanket with her fiancé. There’s nothing quite like spending time together under the twinkly stars – complete with a delicious hot chocolate and her dog Norman sprawled on their feet.

But she can’t help feeling that there’s still something missing.

When Nellie meets Esme, a mysterious visitor to Muddleford, the pair of them come up with a plan to raise money for the local animal shelter, leading to the grand finale – a Christmas Ball.

But Esme’s keeping a secret about Nellie’s past that promises to throw her whole world upside down.

Will this be Nellie’s perfect Christmas for the first time in forever? Or will it turn into her worst nightmare – one that she’ll never forget?

Sometimes you have to go back to go forward.

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book this author has set in Muddleford Cove and focuses again on Nellie. Nellie and Jack are a busy couple, he is a vet and she is involved in many aspects of village life such as WI, animal shelter and helping friends and family.

A new visitor to the shelter is proving to be really useful and she loves living in the village even though it is only temporary. Then there is Dinky, everyone should have a Dinky in their lives, she is a unique and hilarious character I adore. Shivani has her eyes set on the vicar, who is definitely making an impression with the ladies of the WI.

From the opening pages, this author had me chuckling, in fact, my mum was reading this at the same time as I was and it was great as I knew exactly where my mum would be chuckling. The humour is risque and full of innuendo and it really was a joy to read.

This isn’t all WI, comments and humour, this author does more than that. The story is one of finding out what is important in life and learning to trust those around you. Giving things a second chance even though you may have been burnt before.

The author has created a wonderful community and it has some wonderful characters, some fabulous sounding events and of course, there is the storyline as well. If you are after a gorgeous heartwarming story that has chuckles then this is one for you. It is a wonderful book and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sign up to Kim’s newsletter HERE

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction and has wanted to write books since she was a little girl.

She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (a division of Hachette UK) and is a book blogger at http://www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog at Cannock Chase, reading, writing and binge-watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Staffordshire and organises local and national reader/author events.

Amazing Grace was her debut novel which came out in April 2019.

Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel and was published in September 2019.

Sunshine and Second Chances is Kim’s third novel and was published in June 2020.

Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove is her fourth book and was published in March 2021.

Connect with Kim on Social Media – Twitter Facebook Instagram TikTok

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Lost by Leona Deakin #psychologicalthriller #thriller #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Lost by Leona Deakin. This is the 2nd book in the Dr Bloom series and if you are a fan of intriguing crime and psychological thriller then this is a series that you will want to have a look at.

HOW CAN YOU SOLVE A CRIME IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

There is an explosion at a military ball. The casualties are rushed to hospital in eight ambulances, but only seven vehicles arrive. Captain Harry Peterson is missing.

His girlfriend calls upon her old friend Dr Augusta Bloom, who rushes to support the investigation. But no one can work out what connects the bomb and the disappearance.

When Harry is eventually discovered three days later, they hope he holds the answers to their questions. But he can’t remember a single thing.

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in this author’s Dr Bloom, series, I have read the 1st one and the 4th one. Nothing new for me to read out of order.

After a rough start in the first book, Marcus Jameson decides to come back to help Augusta Bloom. She is asked to investigate the disappearance of the boyfriend of one of her old friends. The friend Kerena is concerned about her boyfriend after a bomb exploded at a military ball. Captain Harry Peterson was at the ball and caught up in the explosion, Kerena had seen him just after but went to help someone more seriously wounded. It is when she tries to visit him that she discovers that he is missing, not at the hospital where the other injured were taken. Randomly he turns up at a different hospital, looking far worse than he did when she had last seen him.

What follows is such an intriguing and devious thriller that takes Augusta and Marcus around the country and also steps back into the clutches of a certain psychopath.

If you have read the first book then you will realise some of the back stories of the main characters. If not you will start to get an idea of what has happened but you would also be missing out on an amazing twisted and devious plot.

With the disappearance of a military man, you would imagine the military to be all over it. The thing is there is an interest but not one that has an urgency to it. This is something for Augusta and Marcus to try and work their way through. There are also some strange messages and it does have a cat-and-mouse feel to the plot, but one that doesn’t make sense to the characters until much later in the story.

The story isn’t straight forward and the authors stretches out the storyline to include others. This gives a dangerous predicament and one that has implications for Harry.

This is a brilliantly plotted story and it is one that I couldn’t see what was coming. I do love it when an author does this and twists things like this. By the end of the story, there are a lot more surprises that were unexpected but felt very right for this style of this book. Nothing is as it seems and there are some wonderful revelations.

This is another fabulous book in this series and I will be reading the 3rd one soon. This is great for fans who love a crime thriller plot with a strong psychological feel to it. It is one I would definitely recommend. 

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The Nazi’s Son by Andrew Turpin @AndrewTurpin #historicalfiction #thriller #espionage #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Nazi’s Son by Andrew Turpin. I have got a little behind with this series which is a real shame as it is brilliant. This is the 5th book in the Joe Johnson series, a series that gets better and better.

A deadly legacy of the Cold War. A mysterious Nazi source. A desperate escape bid through northern Russia. And life-threatening secrets being leaked by a mole at the heart of Western intelligence.

In the fifth book of this thriller series, ex-CIA war crimes investigator Joe Johnson heads to Berlin to assist with the supposedly straightforward debriefing of a Russian defector. The defector knows the background to the terrorist bombing of the city’s famous La Belle nightclub in the 1980s as well as the identity of a Russian agent who is funneling American and British military secrets to Moscow.

But things go wrong. Johnson is pursued by his nemesis, the vengeful Russian oligarch Yuri Severinov. And subsequent events turn out to be vastly more complex and terrifying than he expected.

Why are ex-KGB and Stasi intelligence chiefs so anxious to prevent Johnson from getting to the heart of what really happened? And what are the Kremlin connections that suck him into a life-or-death chase in St. Petersburg?
Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson find themselves battling against the odds to dig out truths that have been concealed for almost thirty years.

At the same time, the pair find themselves inexorably drawn toward resuming the brief love affair they once had in Islamabad.

The key to solving the conundrum around the Berlin bombing comes from an unlikely direction, and the identity of the Russian mole who is wreaking havoc in the West turns out to be equally surprising.

The story works its way to a climax in London and Leipzig as Johnson battles against overwhelming odds to outwit the forces arrayed against him.

The Nazi’s Son is a thriller with many unexpected twists that will keep the reader guessing right to the end.

MY REVIEW

On 5th April 1986, the German nightclub la belle was bombed. 3 died, two of which were American and a further 79 Americans were injured of the 200+ that were in the club and vicinity. At the time tensions between the US and Libya were tense, and it gave US President Reagan the opportunity to take things further. The club was one that American service people used regularly. An enquiry later found that there was no evidence of this being a Libyan attack.

The author uses his character Joe Johnson, an ex CIA War Investigator to look into this matter further. Having read all the previous books in this series I am aware of how Joe works and how he manages to discover information, often at considerable risk to himself. Teaming up once again with Jayne Robinson, ex-MI6, they find that there is far more at stake than they first realised.

Joe is brought in to look at the bombing, this is a ruse as such as the bombing is a historical crime and therefore fits his resume to a tee. The initial role of Joe is to discover why a Russian is defecting and has information about the bombing. This link, although a little tenuous is one that gives reason for him being there. But Joe’s attendance sets alarm bells off in other agencies, such as Stasi and KGB. What ensues is a fast and addictive game of cat and mouse that is dangerous and thrilling.

I do like a good spy, espionage and thriller read and this one ticks those boxes brilliantly. I have an interest in this series and it is one that delivers every time. There is action from the start and it continues pretty much throughout the story. Pitting agencies against each other and mixing in foreign politics and agendas make for a great edge-of-the-seat book.

While the investigation is the main focus, the author does bring the past and personal lives of Joe and Jayne into this story. It is something that I felt has been on the cards for a while and I am curious as to how the author will deal with this in future books.

The author uses past events and historical figures to help jog the memory, so mentioning Medvedev, Reagan, and Gorbachev is ideal for remembering who was around. As I read this it felt odd as it mentioned the annexation of Crimea and Putin’s role. This is now at a time when Putin’s war against Ukraine is still ongoing, so in an odd sense, it feels like the right time to have picked this book up. At the time of writing this review, it has been just over 9 months since it started.

I should mention that Jayne Robinson has her own series of books and I must get to these.

If you are a fan of spy thrillers then this is one that you should have a good look at. In fact, all of the books are excellent and are good action-packed stories. This is a fabulously aced story, and there is action and danger all the way. This is one for fans of spy thrillers, crime, espionage, action and historical thrillers. It is a book and series I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book in the Joe Johnson thriller series, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, followed in February 2018. In January 2019 the fourth, Stalin’s Final Sting, was published along with a prequel to the series, entitled The Afghan. Book #5 in the series, The Nazi’s Son, appeared in November 2019, followed by book 6, The Black Sea, published in May 2020.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviours deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

All of Andrew’s books draw strongly on these themes. They feature Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.

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A Gift Called Hope by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter #contemporaryfiction #festivefiction #family #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a lovely festive book, A Gift Called Hope by Eva Jordan. This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story and I adored it. I have read several books by this author and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

A heartfelt novel of a Christmas shadowed by loss and regret—and brightened by hope for renewal—from the author of Time Will Tell.

Six-year-old Jack is counting the days to Christmas. But his grandmother is just counting the days until it’s over. For Jill, the holiday comes with painful memories, and she wants only to escape the recent past and its tragedies.

She’s moved and started a new life running a food truck in Widmore Bay, a quaint seaside town, in order to flee her agonising history.

It’s only for little Jack’s sake that Jill tolerates the tree and decorations. She just wants to spend Christmas with the curtains drawn, reading a book and drinking coffee.

But this season, she may stumble onto a miracle that restores joy—and hope—in her heart . . .

MY REVIEW

this is such a wonderful story to read. The story is about the loss of a loved one and how family members react and deal with the following grief. For a 6-year-old with Christmas coming up, it is all about excitement, for a parent it is about trying to hide the grief, for a sibling it is trying to cope with a missing brother.

The author has created such a heartbreaking story about the unexpected death. While the dates of loved family members are always something to be remembered it is more poignant when those dates fall on days when it is a time for celebration, such as Christmas. every year the heartache of not having them there is a constant reminder, but the author shows how different members of her fictional family are dealing with things.

They say there are 5 stages of grief and I think the author pretty much covers those with her characters. This makes for such an engaging story and one that is sad but also has that glimmer of hope, and this is what makes the title so good.

There is a small cast of characters but ones that all have an important role to play, and how they are incorporated into the story is great as they become not only a support system but also friends. Sometimes when things get tough you need a friend to tell you how they see things rather than trying not to upset a member of the family.

This is a gorgeous story and one that does have a Christmas theme, but it is one moment in the calendar, however, it does become a huge shadow. It is a shadow that needs to be talked about and therefore to let the light in for everyone concerned.

If you are a fan of contemporary fiction then this is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eva Jordan was born in Kent but has lived most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town. She describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate, and is also partial to the odd glass of wine.

Her career has been varied and has included working for the library service and in a women’s refuge. She is currently working on her 4th novel, writes a monthly column for a local magazine, and writes book reviews which she posts on her blog, where you’ll also find some fascinating author interviews. Storytelling through the art of writing is her passion and as a busy mum and step mum, and grandmother, Eva says she is never short of inspiration for her family based dramas!

It was the women in Eva’s life, including her mother, daughters, and good friends, that inspired her to write her debut novel, 183 TIMES A YEAR, which was then followed by ALL THE COLOURS IN BETWEEN, and finally TIME WILL TELL, all of which can be read as stand alone novels but are all part of THE TREE OF FAMILY LIFE TRILOGY. Modern stories exploring domestic love, hate, strength and friendship, set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.

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The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake #fiction #friendship #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake. This is a book that I have had on my shelf for a while. It was when Natalie, a fellow Book Blogger, posted her review of this book on her site that I knew I wanted to find my copy and read it.

Jackie Collins for a new generation. The Thunder Girls is a blockbuster novel, filled with obsession, addiction, betrayal and revenge, that charts the rise and fall of an 80s girl band from Melanie Blake, a true insider of the music business.

THE

Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.

THUNDER

Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.

In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.

GIRLS

Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .

MY REVIEW

This was a fabulous book to read and it was one that took me back to the 80s and mentioned pop stars and bands of the time as well as some of the dodgy fashion trends. The story is based around The Thunder Girls, chart toppers in the 80s but after a massive bust-up, the band members have not spoken in over 30 years. They were a 4-piece band and they were successful.

Each of the women has moved on, they have gone in different directions and all have made adjustments but the bitterness these once good friends had is still very much present. So when Chrissie has to get in touch with each of the other band members, she knows she is going to be in for a rough time. She doesn’t have any other choice in the matter though.

This is a story that dips into the past of the girls and brings up relevant things that build up the story of how they got to the stage they are each at. With fame in the 80s, they were wild, didn’t have any care but had problems. These are not fully revealed until later in the book and when the author reveals them they are shockers.

The author builds a picture and a past for each of the women, some have married, some divorced, some have children and they all try to put on a brave face like a mask. It is when they come together that this mask slips, but who is the one that is going to break and admit mistakes or own up to what happened? These are strong women and over the years they have become a little warier, but they still hold their anger. It is going to be tough for any of them to admit that they made a mistake or show any sign of weakness.

This is the story of the women but also the other important people in their lives. It also gives a glimpse into the scenes behind the stage and how bands are micromanaged. But while you may be thinking this is a nice little get-together you soon realise that there is a subtle but growing idea of something being amiss. There is more to these women and the other characters than meets the eye and when I say things will hit the fan, I really mean it.

This does refer to being a Jackie Collins for a new generation, I was a fan of the original books and I can see that there are some similarities. There is the sly, conniving, backstabber in bitchiness that you got with those books, but this one does go a lot further with the mysterious side of a longer game.

I was surprised by how quickly I got wrapped up in this book, and I pretty much devoured this in two sittings. The women became likeable and I could see why they had gone their separate ways, and it made sense. Putting the past in the past and moving on is a tough one to do, but the author did a brilliant job of weaving a story that did just that. Several twists, and great pacing and is a very addictive book to read.

This is the story of reunion, friendship and moving on and I adored it immensely. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Botanist by M.W. Craven #crime, #thriller #psychological #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Botanist by M.W. Craven. This is the 5th book in the Washington Poe series and as with all the other books, I adored this one.

Any regulars to my Blog may be aware that I am prone to read books in a series out of order. It is sometimes because it’s a book that I have seen on NetGalley and requested or it has caught my eye as part of a Blog Tour.

The Washington Poe series I have followed from the start and each book has been read in order. Yep, I am very proud of myself 🙂

‘I swear I’m one bad mood away from calling it black magic and going home . . .’

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there’s Estelle Doyle. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest, she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press has dubbed the Botanist is sending high-profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is yet another fantastic book in the Washington Poe series, to be honest though, I wouldn’t expect anything less. These books can be read as standalones, but to get a real sense of the working relationship between Poe, Tilly, Doyle and Flynn you really need to have started this from the beginning. And, also because they are great books.

This starts from an odd place and is very far from Cumbria. The author gives a quick prologue before returning back to what is the start of the case. In fact, there are not one but two cases in this story. One involves the arrest of Estelle Doyle, the teams go to a pathologist as she has just been arrested for murdering her father. Then there is the case, well it is more than one case, of people being poisoned.

With Poe trying to be in two places at one time, something is going to have to give. Wanting to be there for his friend and colleague Doyle is great but also too personal and it doesn’t look good when he is seen visiting Doyle in prison when someone who he is supposed to be protecting dies. Realising he has to prioritise his focus he again looks at the poisoning cases.

The dynamics between Poe and Tilly have become legendary in this series, if you have read them from the beginning then you will know what I mean. But there are also the dynamics of Flynn and Doyle that are also part of this great crime-busting outfit. Flynn is responsible for keeping things within the law and getting requests signed off, Tilly is the tech genius, Doyle is the Pathologist and Poe is usually the one they are all keeping an eye on to make sure he does wander too far off course. Together they all bring something special. Over the course of the books, this team have become a family and they will fight for each other.

Having two cases, one looking like a locked-room mystery and the other one that is leaving them playing catch up with the killer always ahead of them. Even with their combined expertise, this would be tough, but without having input from Doyle, things are even tougher.

The poisoner is clever, plans well, thinks out the scenarios and is not compulsive. It seems he has thought of everything. He is being talked about and tweeted about and people are noticing him.

The author really has done an amazing job with this story. Again it is complex and compulsive reading. There are mentions of tech, biology and other specialist stuff but it isn’t too over the top. Thank goodness things have to be basic for Poe to understand or else there would be a few confused readers as well!

With time being a crucial part of this story, the pacing is fast and the author conveys this through his characters so well. He shows their frustrations and occasionally odd outburst. Even in the midst of this tense and highly charged investigation, there are some amazing one-liners, these are perfect for defusing stress and tension, and are usually courtesy of Tilly.

If you have not read any of the books in this series then you really are missing out on some wonderful top-rate crime thrillers. The series just gets better and better with so many twists and unexpected events. I never read the synopsis for a Washington Poe book I just buy it.

Ideal for those who love twisted, complex and totally addictive thrillers and one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

You can find out more on his Goodreads Author Page.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx