Fox, watching and watched –
unspoken loves, hidden selves,
a street awakes – thrives.
Full review to follow soon
Fox, watching and watched –
unspoken loves, hidden selves,
a street awakes – thrives.
Full review to follow soon
From a messed up youth
hidden behind walls of words
emerge – dream – live – love
Full review can be found here
The Companion by Sarah Dunnakey (via NetGalley) due 27 July
How do you solve a mystery when the clues are hidden in the past?
Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace, the best entertainment venue in Yorkshire, complete with dancing and swing-boats and picnickers and a roller-skating rink.
Jasper Harper lives in the big house above the valley, with his eccentric mother Edie and Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors who have come from London to write in the seclusion of the moors.
When it is arranged for Billy to become Jasper’s companion, Billy arrives to find a wild, peculiar boy in a curiously haphazard household where nothing that’s meant is said and the air is thick with secrets. Later, when Charles and Edie are found dead, it is ruled a double suicide, but fictions have become tangled up in facts and it’s left to Anna Sallis, almost a century later, to unravel the knots and piece together the truth.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (via NetGalley) due 4 May
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
Trust Me by Gemma Metcalfe (99p)
One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.
Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s.
Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger.
As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never imagined they would share.
When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?
The Bishop’s Revenge by William F Love (FREE)
Would you help the man who shot you in the back?
If you were Bishop Regan, you just might.
David Goldman has been a P.I. ever since he left the force. The case that cost him his job and put Bishop Regan in a wheelchair involved one man: Eddie Goode.
Now Eddie has been accused of another crime, a murder, and he wants Goldman and Regan’s help proving his innocence.
Goldman wants no part in it, but the bishop is willing to give Goode the benefit of the doubt. Regan and Goldman must team up again: Goldman gathering evidence for the bishop to assemble.
Together the two of them will unearth the dark secrets of the victim’s family, uncovering financial troubles and secret meetings.
All this just to set Goode free: the man who shot and nearly killed the bishop himself eight years before and got away with it.
Influence by Chris Parker (99p)
Influence kills…Influence is the greatest force on earth. Influence equals power, the power to affect people and events. The most powerful people alive have the greatest influence. And they can use it for good or bad. Marcus Kline is the world’s leading authority on communication and influence. He can tell what you are thinking. He can see inside you. He can step inside your mind. Yet when a series of murder victims bear the horrific hallmarks of an intelligent and remorseless serial killer, Detective Inspector Peter Jones turns to Marcus for help – and everything changes. As the killer sets a deadly pace, the invisible, irresistible and terrifying power of influence threatens friendships, reputations, and lives. When events appear to implicate the great Marcus Kline himself, everyone learns that the worst pain isn’t physical…
Cold Grave by Craig Robertson (99p)
November 1993. Scotland is in the grip of an ice-cold winter and the Lake of Menteith is frozen over. A young man and woman walk across the ice to the historic island of Inchmahome which lies in the middle of the lake. Only the man returns. In the spring, as staff prepare the abbey ruins for summer visitors, they discover the body of a girl, her skull violently crushed.
Present day. Retired detective Alan Narey is still haunted by the unsolved crime. Desperate to relieve her ailing father’s conscience, DS Rachel Narey risks her job and reputation by returning to the Lake of Menteith and unofficially reopening the cold case.
With the help of police photographer Tony Winter, Rachel prepares a dangerous gambit to uncover the killer’s identity – little knowing who that truly is. Despite the freezing temperatures the ice cold case begins to thaw, and with it a tide of secrets long frozen in time are suddenly and shockingly unleashed.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff (£1.49)
In Nazi-occupied Holland, seventeen-year-old Noa snatches a baby from a train bound for the concentration camps, fleeing with him into the snowy wilderness surrounding the train tracks.
Passing through the woods is a German circus, led by the heroic Herr Neuhoff. They agree to take in Noa and the baby, on one condition: to earn her keep, Noa must master the flying trapeze – under the tutorage of mysterious aerialist, Astrid.
Soaring high above the crowds, Noa and Astrid must learn to trust one another…or plummet. But with the threat of war closing in, loyalty can become the most dangerous trait of all.
The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett (99p)
Meet Angie Shepherd who, after 24 years and 11 months of marriage, finds herself divorced and driven by friends and family to move on. From hangover to makeover, Angie steps firmly away from the sensible knitwear, and launches into every adventure on offer – from baking classes and book groups, to speed dating, and even ‘The Granny-Okes’, a 1980s tribute act and YouTube sensation.
But Angie needs more than a bar of galaxy and a night in with Murder She Wrote… what she dreams of is entrepreneurial success. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, the light bulb moment happens: it’s time to take the plunge and invest her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, an exciting new business venture. But as the Travel Club gets going, things never go according to plan, and in this digital age a little chaos brings the fame she’s been looking for.
Set in present-day Manchester, this classic mid-life journey features the 1980s soundtrack from Angie’s youth, and sees her travel the world whilst coping with life after the Ex.Angie’s journey is the catalyst her friends need to examine their own lives; as theystart to find their true callings, will Angie find hers? Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good debut novel shows it’s never too late for a second chance.
In the Shadow of the Judas Tree by Norman Morrow (FREE)
Pull up a stool – yes, you.
I risked all, lost all, and now fear nothing in this world nor the next.
Barman, fill a pint of the finest Guinness for this curious reader.
Can you put a price on honour? Answer me this while the temper in your pint settles.
How much would you sacrifice to protect the innocent?
We cannot forget what happened to the innocents, what could happen to others if we forget.
My Grape Village by Laura Bradbury (FREE)
Five years after “My Grape Escape,” Laura and Franck are back in Burgundy to tackle their newest project, a derelict 16th century winemaker’s cottage located behind Franck’s family home. Not only is this a daunting rebuild from the ground up, Laura and Franck now have two preschoolers adjusting to the foreign customs of a French school.
Navigating the different rules for raising children and managing a family in a small French village prove every bit as challenging for Laura as learning to drive a stick shift through narrow streets, or arguing with the Architect of French Monuments over permissible paint colors (spoiler alert: any color as long as it’s gray). Come along on this evocative and honest journey where love, coupled with good French food and local wine, pave the way to la belle vie.
1960s London – gang wars, corrupt police, vice and pornography – ex-boxer, Charles Holborne, has plenty of opportunities to build his reputation with the criminal classes as a barrister who delivers. But Charles, an East End boy made good, is not all he seems, and his past is snapping at his heels. When his philandering wife has her throat slashed, Holborne finds himself on the wrong side of the law and on the run. Can he discover the truth of the brutal slaying and escape the hangman’s noose? Based upon real Old Bailey cases and genuine court documents, The Brief is the first in barrister Simon Michael’s series of compelling criminal dramas, an evocative slice of sleazy glamour from the Swinging Sixties. Simon Michael delivers an authentic and addictive read for any crime fan.
When I bought this book it was originally intended for my OH. I had heard good things about it, but the setting of gangland London in the 1960’s epitomised by the Krays and the Richardsons was something that didn’t appeal to me. Having read it, the OH suggested I read it as I would enjoy it – so I did. All I can say is, if like me, you had misgivings, cast them aside this is a cracking read. The gangland element is as much a background motif to add some context to the nature of the criminality and corruption that was prevalent at the time. It is as much an insight into the workings of Chambers and the criminal justice system as it is the criminals who inhabit it.
Our ‘hero’, the charismatic Charles Holborne is a barrister who has made his way in life, despite his background, rather than because of it. As an East End Jewish boy made good, his background with naturally acquired survival skills and boxing clubs meant he probably had more in common with some of his clients than his colleagues. It certainly meant he was more tolerated than accepted by many of his co-workers.
When Charles’s wife is murdered, for reasons I suggest you discover yourself, he becomes the prime suspect. Given the at worst – corrupt, or at best – highly biased police investigation into his case, it’s up to Charles via fair means or foul to uncover the truth.
I was hooked from the beginning and especially drawn to the internal politics that typified Chambers. As someone who had been addicted to the tv programmes ‘This Life’ and ‘Silk’ this was my thing (why did I not discover this earlier?). I loved the back-biting the infighting and the changing allegiances all overseen by the barristers’ clerks who appear to wield the power. Added to this was the prevailing period prejudices of who you know and where you came from, mattering more than what you know and where you are now. The author’s background as a barrister meant there was an authenticity to the dialogue and the court practices that were portrayed. The use of original court transcripts from real Old Bailey cases only served to add to the realism and authoritative portrayal of its 1960’s setting
As we follow Charles in his professional and private life, we get to appreciate his abilities and his honesty and his innate sense of fairness, qualities that will result in his past coming back to haunt him. The problem is, there are several people who rightly or wrongly hold grievances against him. When his wife is murdered, the pace really ratchets up and I was praying for Charles to prove his innocence. Whether the final outcome proves to be the right one, I’m not saying, but I really recommend you read this for yourself to find out.
Buy from Amazon UK
This bookshop keeps many secrets . . .
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.
Into her refuge – the York book emporium where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.
Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can’t hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?
It’s time to turn the pages of her past . . .
Having read and loved both of Stephanie Butland’s previous books I was looking forward to reading this latest title and I was not disappointed. In fact, I think this is the best so far – I loved it. Of course as an ex librarian, with an obsessive passion for books, I was probably pre-disposed to be enchanted by someone who prefers books to people, I can quite understand the notion that you know where you are with books.
Loveday works at the second-hand bookshop Lost for Words. She is a fascinating character, that we gradually get to know as the book unfolds, by means of a multi thread narrative looking at the past (history), present (poetry) and a more recent past (crime). She is a troubled soul, that prefers the solace and comfort of books to the everyday interaction with people who she tries as near as possible to keep at arm’s length. Archie, her boss and what passes for a friend (or as near as she’ll allow) is the guardian angel that stepped into her life when she needed one most and has remained constant.
Don’t be fooled by the cosy cover, this is a story with a mystery at its heart, that deals with some hard-hitting subjects. As a balance it also has humour, especially when Loveday offers her wry and often acerbic views on people, especially people who inhabit bookshops. From experience I can confirm that the same people also inhabit libraries and exhibit the same traits that had me nodding in heartfelt agreement.
I have no intention of revealing anything about the plot than that revealed in the blurb. This is a story that needs to be read, without any hint of what happens or might happen next. It is a story that works because the characters are exceptionally well drawn, realistic and believable. Loveday is a character that I defy you not to be enchanted by, despite her failings, she has an outer confidence and self-reliance that hides her inner brittleness and fear of relationships. Archie, her boss, is a whirlwind of larger than life bonhomie, with a collection of life tales that no-one is ever sure is true, but his heart of gold is never in doubt. Then we have Rob and Nathan, who both vie for Loveday’s affections, with differing strategies and success, all I will say is I might be a little bit in love with one of them myself, but you’ll need to read it yourself to discover who that might be.
This is a book that as all the elements that I look for in a good read, great storyline, believable characters and a perfect balance of humour, pathos and romance. It had me smirking one minute and almost in tears the next. With several ‘nooo’ moments this book was heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure with more than one heart stopping moment. I have no hesitation in recommending this book, it is quite simply brilliant.
I received a review copy via NetGalley for the purpose of this review.
Buy from Amazon UK
Under an Amber Sky by Rose Alexander (due out 24 May 2017)
When Sophie Taylor’s life falls apart, there is only one thing to do: escape and find a new one.
Dragged to Montenegro by her best friend Anna, Sophie begins to see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. But when she stumbles into an old, run-down house on the Bay of Kotor she surprises even herself when she buys it.
Surrounded by old furniture, left behind by the former inhabitants, Sophie becomes obsessed by a young Balkan couple when she discovers a bundle of letters from the 1940s in a broken roll-top desk. Letters that speak of great love, hope and a mystery Sophie can’t help but get drawn into.
Days in Montenegro are nothing like she expected and as Sophie’s home begins to fill with a motley crew of lodgers the house by the bay begins to breathe again. And for Sophie, life seems to be restarting. But letting go of the past is easier said than done…
Living la Vida Loca by Belinda Jones (99p)
Carmen has been feeling the need to break free for Too Darn Long. So when her equally frustrated friend Beth suggests the ultimate escape — dancing their way through a series of scorchingly-hot countries — she can’t resist! There’s just one catch…they can only go on this adventure if they participate in a reality TV show, one intent on teaching them the mournful tango in Argentina, the feisty flamenco in Spain and the sassy, celebratory salsa in Cuba! As they travel from Buenos Aires to Seville and ultimately steamy Havana, each dance has a profound effect on the girls — and indeed the sexy gauchos, matadors and dirty dancers who partner them…But, when the sun goes down, do they have what it takes to go beyond the steps and free their hearts for love?
The Moment by Claire Dyer (99p)
Paddington station, nine a.m., rush hour. As the crowds ebb and flow, time suddenly stands still for two people: Fern and Elliott, ex-lovers who parted twenty-five years before and never expected to see each other again.
But here they are, face to face, and the connection is as powerful as it was the day they first met. Their lives have moved on – to marriage, children and divorce – yet neither has stopped regretting the day that drove them apart.
Fern gives Elliott her number and they tentatively arrange to meet again that evening when both will be travelling back through the station. And, as the day ticks on, and the memories resurface, both Fern and Elliott reflect on the past. As their emotions go round in circles, so does the Paddington clock, counting down the minutes to eight p.m. – and the moment the future is in their hands.
The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham (99p)
Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary.
In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.
Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.
Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?
Death Rains Down by Kevin McManus (FREE)
Detective Ray Logue is a maverick.
He is stationed in Superintendent Jim Mulcahy’s police department, having never quite got over the death of his wife 8 years earlier.
Logue is now a hard-drinking and damaged cop, a loose cannon, a thorn in Mulcahy’s side, apt to take the law into his own hands – but he always gets results.
So when faced with the murder of an attractive Polish girl in Port Ard, Co Mayo during the week before Halloween and the subsequent chain of killings that follow, Logue stubbornly refuses to let go even when his Super takes him off the case.
Set in Ireland at the peak of the Celtic Tiger era, Death Rains Down is a dark story of murder, organised crime and political corruption.
Ashes and Bone by David McGlone (now 99p was FREE)
Dr Aldous ‘Al’ Andrews is psychologist famous for a book he’s written on serial killers…
In 1998, he helped DCI Peter Marlin catch Mark Rennie, a serial killer, who targeted young women at the University of East London.
Now Dr Al spends his time in the company of prostitutes and drinking far too much.
Then one day, DCI Marlin reappears, needing help.
A series of murders is rocking London, and the only thing they have in common is how cleanly they have been executed.
The Fundamentals of Murder by William F Love (FREE)
New York City is on edge…
Auxiliary Bishop Francis X. Regan, a frustrated crime-solving paraplegic with an IQ of 220, and his special assistant Davey Goldman, a New York City cop-turned-private-eye, once more find themselves embroiled in a high-stakes case of murder and embezzlement.
A serial killer, dubbed Strangler John by the media, has been terrorizing the streets for weeks.
On four consecutive Friday nights, a woman has been murdered, her garroted body discovered the next day with a card reading REPENT! thrust into her mouth.
Despite enormous amounts of public pressure, the police have no leads…at least until Jerry Fanning arrives in the Big Apple …
The Traveller’s Daughter by Michelle Vernal (99p)
Her mother’s secret…
For fifty years Rosa kept the secrets of her past hidden from her beloved daughter, Kitty. The hurt and pain, the guilt over what she’d done, was something she could never face. But now the time has come to share the truth of Kitty’s heritage…
Her daughter’s discovery…
Kitty never knew anything about her mother’s early life. But after her death, the discovery of Rosa’s journal opens Kitty’s eyes to a whole new world—a family she’s never known and a love she’s never dreamed of…
The fate of a family…
Now Kitty must travel to her mother’s homeland, but after fifty years, can the sins of the past be forgiven? Or will history repeat itself? With a decades-old family feud threatening her future, can Kitty put right what once went so wrong?
Join Kitty on her journey as she follows in her mother’s footsteps from the south of France to Ireland, discovering who she is along the way in this beautiful tale of forbidden love and fancy cupcakes!
A Cornish Affair by Liz Fenwick (99p)
Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.
Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family’s extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it’s clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.
As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.
This week I was the lucky recipient of a signed copy of The Cornish Guest House by Emma Burstall.
A new couple have arrived in Tremarnock, but will these glamorous strangers fit into village life?
Tremarnock is a small fishing village, crowded with holidaymakers in the summer, but a sleepy Cornish backwater at other times of the year.
Here Liz has found refuge with her young daughter, Rosie, after her relationship with Rosie’s father came unstuck. Now happily married, all seems set for a quiet autumn and merry Christmas. But strangers have bought the local guest house and seem to have big plans. Why is he so charming and confident, but she so frightened? Are they who they say they are? And what are they really doing with the guest house?
Electric Souk by Rose McGinty
Humanity blisters in this haunting, lyrical thriller about trust and treachery. Ireland’s gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn’s life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia.
Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie?
Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she even trust herself?
Marching on Together by P J Whiteley (A late arrival due to reprinting)
It is August 2014. Six Leeds United supporters set off for a short break in Bruges. Two brothers Allan and Johnny Collins – the former a successful businessman, the latter just out of prison – are visiting great-grandad’s grave on the Western Front, at the time of the centenary of the start of the Great War. They’re joined by Johnny’s mates, Craig and Terry; the tomboy Petra; and the out-of-sorts Yvonne, who failed to persuade estranged husband Tony to accompany her. For all the political events, historic and current, that surround them, they find it difficult to avoid discussion of the wildly eccentric new owner of their beloved football club as it languishes in the second tier of English football. He has sold the best striker and banned the Number 17 shirt as being ‘unlucky’. Meanwhile other obsessions, secrets and ambitions lie within their hearts. Can Johnny find love again, or a job? Will Terry make it as a photographer? Is Allan’s business as successful as it appears to be? What is the family secret behind the antique silver locket that Yvonne keeps in her handbag? And can she finally accept the result of the 1975 European Cup Final, and begin to move on with her life?
Imperfection by Ray Clark
A haunting message scrawled on the dressing room wall of a theatre: the scene of a murder. It had been written using the blood from the victim, previously drained in a separate location. At the autopsy, D.I. Gardener and D.S. Reilly are shown a riddle carved into the chest of the corpse, informing them there would be more.
Their efforts to find out why are continually blocked by a wall of contradiction, with little in the way of evidence to support their cause. Steered back to the scene of the crime and a disused prop room, Gardener and his trusted sergeant find another puzzle. The murderer, it seems, is playing games.
It soon becomes clear to Gardener and Reilly that to find the killer they need to solve the clues, and to do that, they must tunnel their way into the past, where the streets were paved with gold, and to a man who had terrified people before either of them had even been born…
The Knowing by David Graham
United by destiny, they must stand together to face an ancient evil…..
Ceri Edwards and two school friends lift the lid on an ancient book of recipes belonging to Betty Williams, a volunteer at the local hospital in Pontypridd, South Wales. Two Kansas City cops step off a flight at London Heathrow and one of them falls to the ground with a painful conviction that there’s something evil in the air.
United in their destinies, Ceri and the police officers are drawn into a world where prophecies are pitted against invisible forces planning to raze London to the ground and bring down the Royal Family.
It all rests with Dai Williams, recently knighted MI5 agent and reluctant hero, to bring some order to the improbable events and to ensure that afternoon tea at The Ritz continues for another hundred years.
A great cross between Kim Newman and Ben Aaranovitch and a thrill for any fan of contemporary urban horror.
A Monster by Violet by Laura Wake
Twenty-one year old Violet Kale has fallen out of love with life. A dissolute figure she drifts along with her friend Lisa (mother of a baby daughter Maria), reluctant to take responsibility for anything except her own pleasure.
When Violet wakes up after a 3-day drug and alcohol binge to the sound of her friend’s baby Maria crying with hunger, on a whim she steals Maria away, heading on a journey to a new land, and seeing in the child a chance of a new future, and a hope for salvation…
An Actor’s Life for Me by Zoe Cunningham
Here is the essential and valuable advice you need to achieve your creative ambitions … WITHOUT having to give up the day job … WITHOUT taking a HUGE loan … WITHOUT having to commit three years of your life to go to drama school … and WITHOUT risking facing a life of penury and rejection.
Zoe Cunningham shows you how you can kickstart your acting career today. Writing from hard-earned experience, and packed with interviews and top tips from contemporary actors, directors and agents, this book is your first successful step in achieving your acting ambitions. From theatre, to stage, to film and television, Zoe covers everything from initial training, methods to gain valuable experience, and on to securing an audition.
So if you’ve been tempted to consider joining yourself here are the details you’ll need. Membership starts from date of joining i.e. all books published in the year following your joining date.