Monday, 25 May 2020

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees

Germany, 1946
A reluctant spy is born…

‘Remarkable … You won’t want to put it down’ bestselling author Carol Drinkwater
An ordinary woman. A book of recipes. The perfect cover for spying…
Sent to Germany in the chaotic aftermath of World War II, Edith Graham is finally getting the chance to do her bit. Having taught at a girls’ school during the conflict, she leaps at the opportunity to escape an ordinary life – but Edith is not everything she seems to be.
Under the guise of her innocent cover story, Edith has been recruited to root out Nazis who are trying to escape prosecution. Secretly, she is sending coding messages back to the UK, hidden inside innocuous recipes sent to a friend – after all, who would expect notes on sauerkraut to contain the clues that would crack a criminal underground network?
But the closer she gets to the truth, the muddier the line becomes between good and evil. In a dangerous world of shifting loyalties, when the enemy wears the face of a friend, who do you trust?

I have just finished this book and I’m in floods of tears. Edith Graham has spent WWII teaching children in England but when the war is over she takes a job in Germany starting up schools for the children.
Her second cousin Leo who she is close to then recruits her to help find her old German boyfriend Kurt who became a member of the SS. Edith agrees but Leo isn’t  the only one who needs her help, Other people want Kurt too but for different reasons.
The cookbook part of the story refers to the coded recipes Edith sent back to her friend Dori, who was also involved in finding Kurt.

I read a lot of books set in WWII but I think this is the first one I have read which deals with the aftermath of the war in Germany, The book showed that the ordinary people on the streets are always the ones who suffer the most in wars.  Some of the chapters tell of the horrific atrocities which took place in Germany. It is heartbreaking to read.
I liked the the descriptions of the settings, the hotels and the people. The characters were well written and I’ll miss Edith,Dori, Adeline , Jack and Harry but sometimes I didn’t know who to trust or who Edith could trust.
It taught me a lot too and this is what I like about this book. Also the fact that my heart was beating faster and faster throughout as Edith seemed to be always in danger.
The ending was genius!  Particularly the description of  the way one of the characters dresses, but I can’t give away who or why. I even went back and read the first chapter again to remind myself of the tie in with the end.
I will now  have to have a glass of wine, dry my tears and recover  before I  pick my next read.

Out now for kindle,paperback and hardback Here

Thursday, 30 April 2020

The Cornish Connection by Amanda James

Nancy and Charlie Cornish are happily married and live in Padstow, Cornwall. Nancy works in the Whistling Kettle Cafe and Charlie is a DS in the Truro police. Charlie's a down to earth Cornishman, while Nancy, seemingly an ordinary member of her community, has an extraordinary gift. She is able to make psychic connections with those who have passed, and objects belonging to those still living. 

Charlie mostly tries to ignore that aspect of his wife's personality, he can’t abide all that ‘mumbo jumbo’ as he calls it. Then, out of the blue, Nancy leaves her job and decides her mission in life is to use her gift to help others. This is not what Charlie signed up for, and he lets Nancy know about his feelings in no uncertain terms. That is, until he realises she might be a very useful detective...

Helping Charlie find a missing teenager boost Nancy’s confidence, and makes her determined to continue her work. People come to see her because they want her to find a long-lost friend or relative, an object that is dear to them, or a pet who’s gone missing. Helping people find happiness is Nancy’s main aim. Charlie, however, wants her to help him solve crimes.
Will the couple find some common ground? Or will their connection be broken? 

I’ve read Amanda James’s book since her debut and they just keep getting better.  From her time slip novels to mystery and crime. From witchcraft to spiritualism. Every book penned by Amanda James is different.
I loose track of time reading her books and always feel bereft when one ends. I can’t wait for her next one. 
This is one of those books that hooks you from the first page.

Nancy works in her local cafe. She often knows more about the customers than she should as she receives messages from the spirit world to give to them. Nancy’s husband Charlie is a detective, he deals in facts. What will he think of his wife’s plan to give up her work to become a psychic detective ? 

Needless to say sparks fly but Nancy is determined to help people with the gift that she has. No matter how small a problem,if it matters to someone she will help.
Nancy is a lovely lady, the kind you would want to be your friend and share a coffee with. I wasn’t very sure about Charlie at first but I warmed to him eventually.

This book transports you to the cliffs and shores of Cornwall. The quaint shops, the people and the folklore.
I enjoyed the story so much and I’m hoping there will be a sequel or even a series as I’m not quite ready to leave Nancy and her amazing gift. 
On Amazon only 99p for kindle

Thursday, 9 April 2020

My Husband’s Lies by Emma Davis

When I stumbled across the listing for Pevensey House I knew I had found a way for my family to be free and I didn’t hesitate. I should have, I know that now…

When Thea sees her old family home is up for sale – a beautiful old rectory in the small town where she and her childhood sweetheart, now husband, Drew, grew up – she knows she has to have it. Her parents moved her away suddenly when she was eleven, but her childhood there was filled with happy memories. Drew seems less sure, but Thea is certain it’s the perfect place to raise their two children.

But as the last boxes are unpacked, Thea can’t seem to settle. She thought the move would bring her family closer together, but Drew is growing more distant. And why do old friends cross to the other side of the road when they see her coming?

Alone in the house, exploring the creaky corridors she used to cartwheel down as a young girl, Thea smiles as she slides open the loose panel she once used as a hiding place. But it only takes one look at the faded local newspaper clipping hidden inside for the bonds holding her perfect family together to break. 

It’s not long before news of the scandal spreads further and the whole town turns against her. Thea’s life is in freefall as her head and her heart wrestle between taking the blame, and fighting for her innocence. In a small town where no one ever forgets the past, can Thea find a way to save her family’s future? 

This heart-wrenching and gripping family drama will have you hooked from the very first page. Perfect for anyone who loves Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain.

Thea and Drew live in London with their two girls. Desperate to leave the city and work from home Thea spots  that her old childhood home Pevensey is for sale. Thea’s family left there when she was eleven and she has always missed it.
Once back in the small village again life  turns out not to be as idyllic as Thea thought it would be when strangers shun her in the street and some are openly hostile to her.
She makes a friend in Anna the curate’s wife and Theo realises that Anna knows what is going on.
When she finds out that her husband Drew knows too she goes into a tailspin and wonders if life and her marriage can ever be the same again..
I really enjoyed this story as I never knew what was coming next. Secrets and lies are never good and sometimes it’s better to tell the truth than to protect someone by lying.
Good characters in the story. Drew was lovely as were Theo and their children. Theo was a feisty woman and I love it when women stand up for themselves.
I don’t understand the book title as I think the blame  lay somewhere else.. I can see this book being re titled at some point.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The Stolen Child by Jennie Felton

Will anyone believe her baby is gone?
When Stella Swift is discovered holding a shard of broken glass near her newborn baby boy, fears that she might harm William result in her being taken to Catcombe - the local asylum. Although the regime is not as harsh as it once was, it's not somewhere that Tom wants to send his wife - but he has no choice.
Turning to his kind-hearted sister-in-law Grace for help taking care of his other three children whilst he keeps working at the mine seems like the simplest solution until Stella is well - if only there wasn't the shared history between Tom and Grace...
At first Catcombe seems to offer the respite Stella needs - until one day she becomes convinced that the baby the nurses have given to her is not William. Is Stella losing her mind? Or is it true that a mother will always know her own child?

This book is set in 1911. This was a time when women could be sent off to the asylum by men who didn't know what else to do with them. The reasons could be as simple as, being an unmarried mother, a daughter being disrespectful to a rich father, perpetual  fever ( post natal depression) and I suspect any other reason that a man could make up. Some women were never released.

Luckily, Catcombe,the asylum in the story is run by good people who believe in more modern methods than the people who ran it before them.
We meet a vile but powerful man who makes everyone do his bidding even if they don't agree with what he is asking.  Money and position spoke and the poor and lowley could do nothing to fight it.
There are also good men in this story,men who love their wives and family.
We meet women in the asylum who are as sane as you or me but are stuck there.

Jennie Felton takes this as a background and weaves her story through it. She transports us to 1911 with her descriptions of the village, the house in which people live and the sights and sounds of their daily lives.

As the title says there is a stolen baby. An injustice that is committed that seems impossible to put right. Anyone who suspects is scared of the consequences if they speak out. And one women's intolerable pain when no one believes her is heartbreaking.

I found myself very emotional reading this book. My heart was breaking for a few of the characters and the anger I felt for a few of them knew no bounds.
I trusted the author (having read all of her books) that she would sort out the horrible vile people and make everything okay.  And yes, it had a lovely ending.

I haven't said too much about the actual story itself as I feel that many reviews I read more or less tell the whole book and I don't agree with that.
If you're looking for a good book that's hard to put down then this is it.
Jennie Felton is one of the best story tellers around today. Once you slip inside one of her books you can be lost in her world for hours.

Out in hardback,paperback and kindle 

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

What if you could live your great love story again?

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They've been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.
But she's wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.
So now it's just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob 'til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live - perhaps even to love - again.
Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there's someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

I'm so pleased to be today's stop on the blog tour for this really unique book. I've never read a story quite like it. You will cry but there is humour and hope  along the way too. I hope you love it as much as I did. 

Freddie and Lydia have been together since high school. They are engaged and planning their wedding. Life stops for Lydia when Freddie dies in an accident on her  27th birthday. Lydia blames Jonah who was her and Freddie's best friend. 
Lydia's sister Elle and her mum are a great support to her, helping her through her grief.
When she returns to work we see what lovely workmates she has. None of them know what to do or say to her but somehow they do it right.

At some point Lydia knows she will have to meet with Jonah again and try to hide the angry feelings she has for him. Jonah is grief stricken too and doesn't know how to move on.

Then something happens that propels Lydia into a new life, a life with Freddie in it.
As Lydia embraces this new life what about her old one,the one without Freddie. How long can her mum and sister put their lives on hold to help Lydia? At some point their lives will move on too. Lydia has to be brave and let go,but can she do it? 

This is a beautiful story. Lydia is grief stricken,fragile but brave too. Elle, her sister is the sister we would all love to have and her mum is just lovely. There are many simple  things she does in the story that prove how good a mum she is.

This is a story of how Lydia works through her grief. It lets us see how everyone finds a different way and in the end it's whatever gets them through each day. 
Yes it's sad but it's also full of  of love,humour,friendship and escapism. And what a beautiful ending.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Six Steps to Happiness by Suzie Tullet

When Ronnie’s husband, Nick, leaves her for their next-door neighbour, Gaye, Ronnie’s life starts to fall apart. 

Devastated by the break-up of her marriage, Ronnie is desperate for Nick and Gaye to set up home elsewhere. But Nick and Gaye won’t budge.
To add to her problems, Ronnie’s daughter and mother-in-law decide to stage an intervention. With her family keeping a close eye on her, Ronnie is forced to become more devious in her actions to get rid of Nick and Gaye.
But just how far will she go?
And is moving on ever that easy?

If your husband said he was leaving you on the day of your silver wedding, you would think that was the worse that could happen. How would you feel if you found out he was only moving next door to be with your neighbour Gaye,the woman he has left you for?
Understandably Ronnie is livid. How can she get over this break up with her husband living next door with his floozy? She wants revenge. She wants them out.

Ronnie loves her house and she doesn't want to move so they will have to.
All the small things don't seem to work. Sending pizzas for them to pay for etc , and only end up with Ronnie being in trouble with the police. She has to think big, she has to scare Gaye into wanting to sell her house and she knows just the way to do it.

I thought Ronnie was totally mad and over the top in what she was doing but I could understand the annoyance of her husband living next door. I think really she lost her sanity for a while. I enjoyed the dynamic between Ronnie,her daughter, Willow and her mother-in -law. What lovely caring people they were.
With Ronnie out for pay back it looks like she may spoil her chances at finding love again as she concentrates on revenge and can't see what's staring her in the face.
Her daughter and mother-in -law devise a six steps to happiness plan which Ronnie reluctantly follows, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it eventually edges her towards her new life.
Absolutely loved this book. Plenty of laughs along the way and a real good feel good ending. If you're an avid reader sometimes you just need a book like this, a glass of wine and some chocolate.

Get it Here

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Dark Deception by Amanda James

Kerensa and Leo are a happily married young couple who live in Cornwall. Leo works part-time in London as an investment advisor to wealthy businessman, Paul Donaldson. The couple hope to start a family soon and life couldn’t be better.  
But Leo has been stealing from Paul and Paul isn’t the sort of man you steal from.  

When Leo realises that Paul knows what he’s done, he has no choice but to resort to drastic measures.  
Meanwhile, after discovering she is pregnant, Kerensa can’t wait for her husband to return home so she can share her news. But she soon discovers he’s gone missing.  
After receiving a threatening phone call from Paul, Kerensa realises how much trouble her family are in.  

Kerensa and Leo seem to have the perfect life. He has a good job,a house in Cornwall by the sea and Kerensa has opened a shop to sell her artwork. She thinks it could be time to plan for a baby. All seems perfect but Leo wants more and he doesn't care what he does to get it.

Then Kerensa's  perfect life is shattered and she has to build a new one on her own.
When other people enter her world and she makes new friends she may have to assess who she can trust and who she can't. She never imagined her life would ever become this complicated.

Wow! What an explosive first chapter to a book! I was almost afraid to read anymore.
We are taken on a roller coaster journey through this book and never know what to expect around the corner. I am not going to say any more about the story because it would just spoil it for you.
Amanda Jame's books just get better and better. The descriptions of Cornwall make you want to move there tomorrow although you will have to hope you don't bump into any of the strange and dangerous  people that the author writes about. Now that would be a nightmare.
Dark  Deception is Amanda Jame's best book yet and it's published today !

Out in paperback and kindle (99p) Here

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees

Germany, 1946 A reluctant spy is born… ‘Remarkable … You won’t want to put it down’ bestselling author Carol Drinkwater An ordinar...