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CTM = Crime, Thriller, Mystery Genre Authors

ROF = Romance and Other Fiction Authors

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» Listings for January 2016

  1. Synopsis: Three Butlers.

    Two weddings.

    One funeral.

    Times are changing in the East End, from bad to worse . . .Despite the love they share, Bella’s and Michael’s lives seem to be continually throwing grenades in their path to true happiness. Bella’s dark secret is threatening to spiral out of control – and has the power to destroy the Butler brothers’ bond once and for all . . .Meanwhile, Little Vinny has truly turned over a new leaf and is doing everything he can to be a good husband and father. He doesn't want to follow in his old man’s footsteps, but the apple never falls far from the tree, and despite everything he’s done to wipe the slate clean, his past is about to catch up with him.Everyone knows the Butler family’s reputation – you don’t mess with them unless you’ve got a death wish. But there’s someone out there doing the unthinkable – and they are aiming for the heart of the family.It feels like the end of a golden era – could it finally be the end of the Butlers?

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  2. Synopsis: DS Jane Bennett takes charge of South London's Lewisham murder squad following the temporary suspension of her boss, DI Mike Lockyer. His involvement with a female witness resulted in her murder. Mike returns to work but he's a shadow of the detective he was a few months before. Bennett gets a desperate call from an old friend to say that her husband, retired colleague Mark Leech, has gone missing. Blood spatters found in the home suggest that she doesn't have long to find him.

    When Jane is sent to a site in Elmstead Woods she stumbles upon a sinister murder scene. A tomb has been created, and the body she finds is not Mark's - as she dreaded and suspected - but that of missing university student, Maggie Hungerford. Her killer recorded her last moments, even providing an air supply which was only cut off when the game lost its thrill. Two men admit to having had a sexual relationship with Maggie. Both deny murder. Someone is lying. And Mark is still missing. When another tomb is discovered, an anonymous tip and mounting evidence suggest a disturbing link which threatens to derail both cases and let a murderer walk free. Lockyer is shocked into supporting Bennett in a case which becomes ever more ominous and dangerous as the investigation deepens. They know that their hunt is

  3. Synopsis: On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

    Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.

    Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again...

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  4. Synopsis: Caroline’s husband is killed, but she can’t turn to the police without implicating herself in his murder. When one of her 10-year-old twins is kidnapped, the desperate mother is forced to resort to drastic measures to get him back. As time runs out, and a second body is discovered, Geraldine realises she has a secret that might just help solve the case. But the truth could destroy her career. Faced with the unenviable decision of protecting herself or the widow she barely knows, Geraldine must grapple with her conscience and do the right thing before the death count mounts any further

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5

    KAT'S REVIEW: I have been a long standing fan of Leigh Russell’s but her last Geraldine Steel book left me feeling like something was missing. This latest book was certainly a more enthralling read but I still feel like Geraldine is missing something. In the early part of the series she worked alongside Ian Peterson (who has now moved away and has his own series of books). In her last book we see her new colleagues Sam and Nick a little more but that didn’t sit right with me either. In this latest release, things are a mixed bag for Geraldine.

    Caroline is Mother to two 10 year old twin boys and an innocent day at the park turns her world into a living nightmare. When her husband is murdered she cannot turn to the police without putting herself firmly in the frame. With Geraldine working the case things quickly unravel and then before you know it a second body is discovered. The readers are also getting to see Geraldine’s personal life uncovered a little more. I must say I was nowhere near prepared for some of the events in this book, but they were a welcome surprise.

    Overall I definitely think the story and writing is back with a vengeance from Leigh Russell, however there is still that nagging feeling. It feels like Geraldine is listlessly meandering through her own life and there is nobody by her side, whether that be a colleague or lover. Maybe that’s what it feels like? She has moved to London and aside from her colleague Sam who didn’t make much oif an appearance in this book she has nobody. Her sister and niece make a brief appearance but aside from that she seems a little lonely.

    Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed this series to date and am looking forward to reading the next one which is ready on my Kindle, entitled Murder Ring. 

  5. Synopsis: Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together.

    After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5 

    KAT'S REVIEW: I rarely dislike a Jenny Colgan book and the Rosie Hopkins books are no exception. For those that plan to read these books in order it’s maybe not a good idea to carry on reading. The one HUGE thing I loved was that Jenny Colgan does a little ‘wrap up’ of all characters and where they are at up to date giving you a quick refresh. It’s a great idea and I immediately knew where I was joining the story again.

    Rosie Hopkins has now settled into the village of Lipton and with the refresh at the beginning of the book I was reminded of all the local characters that make an appearance. Rosie is now living with boyfriend Stephen and regularly visits her aunt Lilian who is resident at a home nearby. We also see reappearances of local GP Moray, Rosie’s friend and colleague Tina and many more. One particular character which makes a brilliant ‘star’ performance in this latest book is the local dentist Roy.

    One thing that quickly became clear was that the early part of the book was certainly not all flowers and romance. We witness both Rosie and Stephen face some harsh, bleak and very sad moments. This results in them making a trip back to Africa where Stephen had previously visited. I’m not deliberately being vague, but it’s difficult to mention parts of the story without fear of plot spoiling. Upon Rosie and Stephens return it seems the whole village goes into meltdown meaning last minute arrangements have to be made for Tina and her upcoming wedding. In addition to that we meet Stephens Sister Pamela who I thought was an absolutely cracking character to read about.

    Overall, although not my favourite ‘Rosie’ book this was another brilliant read. It is well worth reading the two previous books, but if you haven’t and you come across this don’t let that stop you. I certainly enjoyed revisiting Lipton and all its characters and can’t wait to see what’s next for all of them! 

  6. Synopsis: When a young Pakistani bride falls to her death from a window, Rosie has to navigate the story with care, trying not to upset the girl's devastated family or the local Pakistani community. After talking to the family, however, Rosie becomes convinced that there is more to the story than a tragic accident, and that something is being kept from her and the police. Meanwhile, on the other side of Glasgow, Nikki and Julie, two prostitutes, find themselves in trouble when a client dies during an assignment and it looks like one of them is to blame. Their problems become far worse though, when a briefcase they steal from the dead man turns out to contain some very valuable rough diamonds and several fake passports. It's clear it belonged to some serious criminals, and now they have much more to worry about than a dead body. Investigating the Pakistani girl's death, Rosie has been talking to Laila, another young girl from the community, who has voiced her fears of being forced into marrying a much older man in Pakistan. When Laila disappears, Rosie is sure her fears have been realised. Then Nikki contacts her asking for help, and Rosie senses a parallel with her current case. Sure enough, as Rosie flies to Pakistan to try and rescue Laila, it becomes clear that the 'accidental' death, Laila's disappearance and the briefcase are all linked - and once back in Glasgow, she, Julie and Nikki discover just how much danger they are in...

    Kat’s Rating: 5/5

  7. Having compiled the top ten in the Crime, Mystery and Thriller genre, I have turned my attention to my top ten in the other genre. For me this was also an easy top ten as these books all stood out. 4 of these authors are with Bookouture which proves to me that they are streaking ahead in this field with selecting some awesome authors. I would highly recommend all ten of these books and can't wait to see more from them all this year. The list below is in no particular order!

          

        

    One Wish In Manhattan by Mandy Baggott

    Synopsis: he temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish… to start over. With her daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for adventure. But there’s more to New York than twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has her own Christmas wish – to find her real dad. While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked. Can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might come true – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever? Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they realise life isn’t just about filling the minutes… it’s about making every moment count. 

    Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

    Synopsis: Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. But this year things are going to be different. For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off. After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember. 

    Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

    Synopsis: Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself. Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George. But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? 

    The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

    Synopsis: Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale. There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen. 

    A Sister's Promise by Renita D'Silva

    Synopsis: My sister – the glue that held our family together and the gatekeeper to the memories of our shared childhood. The girl I made a pact with – to protect each other for life. The woman who destroyed my family, my future. And the only one who can save my daughter. Set against the dramatic backdrop of India, A Sister’s Promise is a powerful, emotional tale of family secrets, love and the ties that bind sisters together. 

    The Secret By The Lake by Louise Douglas

    Synopsis: A FAMILY TRAGEDY. Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now. A SISTER’S SECRET. But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen. A WEB OF LIES. Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves? 

    Summer at The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

    Synopsis: Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

    And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence. Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves? 

    Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

    Synopsis: Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out. Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more. Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong. 

    It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

    Synopsis: Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault. When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault. And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame. From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.  

    The Little Flower Shop by The Sea by Ali McNamara

    Synopsis: The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix. But Poppy Carmichael's spirits aren't lifted by the pretty West Country spring. Inheriting her grandmother's flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place that holds too many memories.Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away. The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it's time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the special magic of a little flower shop by the sea! 

  8. As ever the time has come again to pick my ten favourite books in this genre from the previous year. I've read over 120 books this year, but surprisingly there were 10 very clear stand out books for me. They are not in any particular order, but all ten would be highly recommended by me and as ever I can't wait to see what else these authors are going to release this year! What makes this list even better is that 3 of these authors I had read for the first time too!

     

     

        

        

    Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

    Synopsis: A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself 'the Mindhunter', jeopardises the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger. With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where his victims have been choked unconscious and had the letter 'A' carved into their foreheads. As the case becomes ever more complex, nothing is quite what it seems and soon Joe's fate, and that of those closest to him, become intertwined with a merciless, unpredictable killer. 

    Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

    Synopsis: When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping. And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad. Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour. Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price? 

    Blood Country by Sean Black

    Synopsis: The second novel in the award-nominated Byron Tibor series. 

    Having fled his home in New York, and still hunted by the Federal government, special forces veteran Byron is forced to intervene when he stumbles across unsettling events in a small Texas border town. The first novel in the series, Post, is nominated for the 2015 International Thriller Writers' Awards to be held in New York on July 11th. 

    Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

    Synopsis: Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father's temper. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. As events spiral out of control they find themselves in a horrifying situation and are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened to them. But when one of the sisters goes missing, followed closely by her niece, they are pulled back into the past. And this time there's nowhere left to run. 

    Liar, Liar by M J Arlidge

    Synopsis: In the dead of night, three raging fires light up the city skies. It's more than a tragic coincidence. For DI Helen Grace the flames announce the arrival of an evil she has never encountered before. Because this is no firestarter seeking sick thrills, but something more chilling: a series of careful, calculating acts of murder. But why were the victims chosen? What's driving the killer? And who will be next? A powder keg of fear, suspicion and dread has been laid. Now all it needs is a spark to set it off. 

    The Lie by C L Taylor

    Synopsis: This was no accident…I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist. Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women. Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves. 

    Hunted by Paul Finch

    Synopsis: Heck needs to watch his back. Because someone’s watching him…Across the south of England, a series of bizarre but fatal accidents are taking place. So when a local businessman survives a near-drowning but is found burnt alive in his car just weeks later, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is brought in to investigate. Soon it appears that other recent deaths might be linked: two thieves that were bitten to death by poisonous spiders, and a driver impaled through the chest with scaffolding. Accidents do happen but as the body count rises it’s clear that something far more sinister is at play, and it’s coming for Heck too. 

    Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville

    Synopsis: When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation. DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran's confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn’t forgotten the kindness she showed him – in fact, she hasn't left his thoughts in the seven years he’s been locked away. Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran’s confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still has over his vulnerable younger brother. When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion. 

    The Wronged by Kimberley Chambers

    Synopsis: With family like this, who needs enemies. There are some families that welcome newcomers with open arms, then there are the Butlers. An East End family no good girl wants to marry into. Jo fell for Vinny Butler’s good looks but when she buried her little daughter, she buried her heart as well. Michael Butler was always the nice one, until he started running the family business. Nancy is desperate to leave, and though she would never turn her back on her children, every step they take in their father’s footsteps destroys her a little more. As the old saying goes – you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. But you keep your family right where you can see them. 

    Born In A Burial Gown by Mike Craven

    Synopsis: Detective Inspector Avison Fluke is a man on the edge. He has committed a crime to get back to work, concealed a debilitating illness and is about to be made homeless. Just as he thinks things can’t get any worse, the body of a young woman is found buried on a wet, Cumbrian building site. Shot once in the back of the head, execution style, it is a cold, calculated murder. When the post-mortem reveals she has gone to significant expense in disguising her appearance, and the only clue to her identity is a strange series of numbers, Fluke knows this is no ordinary murder. With the help of a psychotic ex-Para, a gangland leader and a woman more interested in maggots than people, Fluke must find out who she was and why she was murdered before he can even think about finding her killer. As the body count rises and his investigation takes him from poverty stricken estates to picture perfect Lake District villages, he realises his troubles are only just beginning. Because someone, somewhere has a plan and if Fluke can’t figure out what’s happening, he may just be next.