After a break away in my beloved Andalucia (if you want to know why I love it you can read here if you missed it) it’s time to catch up with what I’ve been acquiring. As I didn’t have time before I went away it’s quite a catch up – you might want to grab a cuppa!
The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig (courtesy of NetGalley and due out 15th June)
Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.
Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.
Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.
Margherita’s Recipes for Love by Elisabetta Flumeri (courtesy of NetGalley and due out 15 June)
Margherita is a spirited young woman with a passion for cooking. When her heart is broken in Rome, she returns to her hometown of Roccafitta, a small Tuscan village filled with lovable eccentrics and beautiful vineyards. She dreams of saving enough money to reopen her late mother’s restaurant and hopes she may find help from the handsome stranger in town, Nicola Ravelli.
An aloof and ambitious businessman, Nicola is buying up the village’s vineyards and is also on the lookout for a personal chef. Though the two dislike one another immediately, Nicola agrees to pay Margherita well for each delicious meal she prepares to help win over his clients. But with each new dish, Nicola discovers that he is the one being seduced and Margherita realizes that she is expressing much more through her cooking than she cares to admit.
The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh (courtesy of NetGalley due out 20 April)
The first body comes as a shock – The second brings horror – The third signals the beginning of a nightmare
When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.
Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.
Then another body appears against the Wall. And another. As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.
A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride (courtesy of NetGalley and another due 20 April) – a new standalone
Welcome to the Misfit Mob…
It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.
But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.
No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?
Purchased Kindle books (prices shown are current price/purchased price)
Diablo Nights by Carmen Amato (£2.82/FREE)
Imagine if you were the first and only female police detective in Acapulco, investigating crime in a city both breathtaking and deadly. Mexican drug cartels battle for control and politicians are bought with blood money.
The police union wants to control you. Your lover wants to know a secret you can’t share.
The morgue is full and you’ve got another body to add.
When Emilia discovers a human finger, sold as a relic of a famous Mexican martyr, it seems to be evidence of a gruesome kidnapping. It also triggers memories of a painful episode Emilia won’t share with gringo hotel manager Kurt Rucker.
Struggling with her past, Emilia is plunged into danger as she uncovers how many times the finger was bought and sold before ending up in a posh store. Meanwhile, a rare type of heroin connects to a cruise ship murder, promising more drug war violence for Acapulco’s already blood-soaked streets.
Both investigations move slowly because Emilia has to train a rookie detective. He’s in the squadroom because of friends in high places and is more interested in Emilia than in police work, a potentially deadly attitude.
With the rookie in tow, Emilia finds herself in the hills above Mexico’s Costa Chica coast south of Acapulco. In a lonely place where vigilante groups have replaced civil authority and the crash of surf competes with gunshots, Emilia will face the biggest challenge of her police detective career.
But it’s nothing compared to what’s waiting for you back in Acapulco.
A Room Full of Killers By Michael Wood (99p)
Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…
Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.
When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.
The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers…
Suburb by Steven Kedie (£2.99/FREE)
Tom Fray leaves university with a simple plan: get a job, save some money and go travelling.
To put his plan into action he moves home to the suburbs of Manchester where he finds the people he left behind all stuck in the same routines as when he went away.
Feeling trapped between his old and new lives, Tom is desperate to escape. Then he meets Kate, a married neighbour, and his simple plan becomes a lot more complicated.
With Our Blessing by Jo Spain (FREE/99p)
It’s true what they say . . . revenge is sweet. 1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother. 2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.
Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries. Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past.
Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina (99p)
Salt water lifts blood. Only salt water.
Loch Lomond is a mile deep but the woman’s body surfaced anyway. Found bludgeoned and dumped in the water, she now haunts Iain Fraser, the man who put her there. She trusted him and now that misplaced trust is gnawing through Iain’s chest. He thinks it will kill him.
Nearby Helensburgh is an idyllic Victorian town. One-time home to a quarter of all the millionaires in Britain, it is quaint, sleepy and chocolate-box pretty. But the real town is shot through with deception, lies and vested interests.
As tensions rise and the police seek a killer, the conflicts that lurk beneath Helensburgh’s calm waters threaten to explode. All Iain Fraser has to do is keep on lying.
Evie’s Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow (£1.99/99p)
It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.
Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books – after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.
Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother.
Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past.
As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?
Rome is Where the Heart is by Tilly Tennant (99p)
When Kate’s husband Matt dumps her on Friday 13th she decides enough is enough – it’s time for her to have some fun and so she hops on a plane to Rome. A week of grappa and gelato in pavement cafes under azure blue skies will be just what the doctor ordered.
What she doesn’t count on is meeting and falling for sexy policeman Alessandro. But the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly – Alessandro has five meddling sisters, a fearsome mama and a beautiful ex Orazia. They’re all certain that Kate is not the girl for him.
Can Kate and Alessandro’s love last the distance? Or will she return home with the one souvenir she doesn’t want – a broken heart …
Turn Towards the Sun by Emma Davies (£3.98/99p)
Lizzie wants nothing more than to start over and put the past behind her. So when she is offered the chance to live and work at Rowan Hill, a beautiful country estate and bustling community of artists, it feels like a dream come true.
But soon after her arrival a series of accidents and misunderstandings begins to threaten the happiness and livelihoods of everyone at Rowan Hill. And when suspicion quickly falls on Lizzie, she discovers that the past is not so easily forgotten.
To keep the life she has just begun to build, Lizzie will have to race to uncover the truth before there are disastrous repercussions for everyone involved. In this heartwarming story of friendship, loss and love, the stakes are high but so are the rewards. If Lizzie can find a way to stay true to herself, she might have a chance at something she has always wanted: a place to call home.
The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen (£1.89/99p)
Biddy Weir is a quirky girl.
Abandoned by her mother as a baby, and with a father who’s not quite equipped for the challenges of modern parenting, Biddy lives in her own little world, happy to pass her time painting by the sea and watching the birds go by. That is, until she meets Alison Flemming.
Because there are a few things about Biddy that aren’t normal, you see. And Alison isn’t afraid to point them out to the world.
All of a sudden, Biddy’s quiet life is thrown into turmoil. If only there was someone to convince her that, actually, everyone’s a little bit weird . . .
Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson (98p)
‘The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .’
All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother’s secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.
Angie’s estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms – it’s time to unburden herself, and tell the story she’ll otherwise take to her grave.
It’s the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it’s the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.
From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams (£2.99/FREE)
Dismissed as a cultural lightweight by the man she is desperate to please, under-achieving PA, Faye Bonsu, is on a mission to find love. A disastrous night out leaves pasta-fanatic Faye’s romantic dreams in tatters and underscores her alienation from her African heritage. Leaving her cosy middle-class life in London’s leafy Hampstead to find out what she’s missing, Faye is whisked into the hectic social whirlpool of Ghana where she meets the handsome Rocky Asante, a cynical, career-obsessed banker with no time for women… until now.
Transported into a world of food, fun and sun, and faced with choices she had never thought possible, Faye is forced to discover that no matter how far you travel, you can’t find love until you find yourself.
No More Heroes by Stephen Thompson (£2.99/FREE)
When Hackney-born Simon Weekes joins the rush-hour crowd on the London Underground, his only thought is to get back to Duddenham, the quiet town he now calls home. Shortly into the journey, disaster strikes, and the train he is travelling in is ripped apart by an explosion. With death and injury all around him, Simon manages to save the lives of two fellow passengers, before escaping the wreckage himself. It is July 7th 2005, and London has come under attack.
In the aftermath of the bombing, Simon unintentionally becomes centre of attention. With the media hot on his heels, his life quickly goes from anonymity to overnight fame. But the last thing Simon wants is to be in the limelight and as the media gaze intensifies, dark secrets from his past come to light that will turn his quiet life upside down.
The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (£1.29)
Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?
Watching You by J A Schneider (99p on pre-order due 25/4)
In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn’t convinced.
Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?
Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.
Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy (£2.99/£1.69)
Cameron Spark’s life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie.
Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the Feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music and late night fox raids, Cameron feels as though he’s finally living.
Until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever.
Christie’s letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?
Lost Connections by Jim Ody (£1.99/FREE)
What would you do if the most important person to you had been kidnapped? One minute your daughter is there, and the next she has been bundled into a van right under your nose. They want something of your father’s. You don’t know what that is, and your father mysteriously disappeared over 7 years ago. Going to the police is not an option. And the answers will slowly appear in the most unlikely of places.
As single-parent Eddie’s world falls apart, an unlikely alliance forms between friends and neighbours who put their differences aside, to help get his daughter Daisy back. As the mystery unfolds a huge secret is uncovered that not only will affect Eddie and his family, but the whole of mankind…
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen (99p)
Gavin Law was a whistleblower.
Now he’s missing.
Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.
Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?
Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.
Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty.
With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.
If that means murder, then so be it. Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale. He may not be so lucky a second time.
Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine (£2.99/99p)
How far must you run to leave the past behind you?
It is 1919 and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. She can no longer cope. And as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away.
Fifty years later, a young solicitor on his first case finds Emeline’s diary. What Bill Perch finds in the tattered pages of neat script goes against everything he has been told. He begins to trace an anguished story of love and betrayal that will send him on a journey to discover the truth.
“I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was love and it could not be hidden.”
What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?
The Island Legacy by Ruth Saberton (£3.99/99p)
The only daughter of a troubled artist father, Ness Penwellyn always struggled to feel settled and now her life has taken an unexpected turn; she is the heir to the ancestral family home in England. With excitement Ness exchanges her American life for her inheritance, a mysterious castle set on a Cornish island, and swaps solitude for newly discovered relatives – some more pleased to learn of her existence than others.
Inheriting vast debts alongside the castle, it isn’t long before Ness encounters property developer, Max Reynard. Wealthy and wickedly handsome, Max is accustomed to getting his own way and Ness is unimpressed. His assumption she’ll sell to him only makes her more determined to find the strength to go it alone – even as bitter cousins plot and circumstances start to spiral out of control.
Before long Ness and Max are locked in a battle of wills as the castle’s past and present collide in the fight to preserve its future. Independent and determined, Ness must decide who she can trust with both the island legacy and her heart…
Little Teashop of Horrors by Jane Lovering (99p)
Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex!
Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!
There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.
Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …
A Blessing in Disguise by Pamela Fudge (FREE)
Be careful what you wish for…
Alex Siddons’ life seems practically perfect.
She has an enviably comfortable life in a lavish house with her husband, Phil, having shared twenty-five years of blissful marriage together. The only thing missing is a relationship with her in-laws.
The family can’t even seem to survive one dinner without arguing, and Pete’s father, Randy, seems to harbour nothing but feelings of hatred towards his son.
However, the couple’s otherwise idyllic lifestyle is turned upside-down when Alex discovers that she’s pregnant.
Surely it’s far too late for them to have children and, having spent the last twenty-five years child-free, do either of them really want to upset the balance of their relationship by involving a baby?
Alex seems to have made up her mind – it’s far too risky.
But the more she ponders over her growing belly, the more she begins to wonder whether this is the last chance she’ll ever have to experience motherhood and become a real family. Perhaps now was finally their time to begin a new chapter…
But it soon becomes clear that Phil has been doing some thinking his own.
Despite his increasing pressure on her, Alex just can’t bring herself to go through with the termination he so desperately wants.
Then Phil delivers the ultimatum she has been dreading: their marriage, or the baby.
With her relationship now hanging in the balance, and her doubts that she is remotely fit for motherhood growing every day, Alex soon begins to realise that love is often found in the most unexpected of places…
Private Faces by Marianne Gage (99p on pre-order due 17/4)
One woman, one husband, seven potential mistresses…
Natalie Newbury is an artist. Among the hundreds of portraits she has painted, there are seven very special subjects who have captured her heart.
Spanning the decades, these women remain firmly in Natalie’s life.
Through them and their portraits, Natalie knows these seven women better than anyone. As is usually the way with true friendships she can go years without seeing them, but she knows that they will always be in her life.
Tonight is Natalie’s big night, recently returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area from France, she is having her first solo art exhibition at a Sutter Street gallery, and she hopes that all seven women will find a way to be with her, the same way she has always been there for them on their momentous and defining moments.
Before the show starts, Natalie finds an unsigned note that reveals one of her closest friends has been having an affair with Natalie’s seemingly-faithful husband, Ben.
Devastated yet determined, Natalie’s night takes a dramatic turn as she tries to decipher who the culprit is by re-living the years of her marriage and her husband’s connection to each of her friends.
A Life Between Us by Louise Walters (£2.99/99p)
Tina Thornton’s twin sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her sister’s death. During a visit to her aging Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to finally question her memories of the day her sister died.
Who, if anyone, did kill Meg? As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the tangled family mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful French Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all.
The Red Hill by David Penny (FREE)
A killer who can’t be stopped. A request that can’t be refused.
Moorish Spain, 1482. Englishman and physician Thomas Berrington is an unwilling friend to the Sultan of Granada, the most powerful man in the kingdom of al-Andalus. When bodies start to turn up in the palace, each showing marks of a savage attack, Thomas is asked to investigate.
At first reluctant, Thomas is drawn deeper into the investigation when one of the Sultan’s wives is brutally murdered. The physician must team up with the eunuch Jorge to find the killer before they become his next victims. As they investigate, they find that nothing is as it seems and no-one can be trusted.
Al-Hamra, the red hill, and its inhabitants hold their secrets close. As Thomas begins to lay them bare his discoveries culminate in a battle not only for his own life, but for the lives of those he loves.
Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson (£3.79/99p)
You went to bed at home, just like every other night.
You woke up in the back of a taxi, over 250 miles away.
You have no idea how you got there and no memory of the last ten hours.
You have no phone, no money; just a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing.
You know you weren’t planning to kill yourself.
Your family and friends think you are lying.
Someone knows exactly what happened to you.
But they’re not telling…
The Little Bookshop of Promises by Debbie Macomber (99p)
Somewhere between a car accident and a divorce, Annie Applegate stopped believing in happy endings.
Now, she just wants to disappear. And the tiny town of Promise fits the bill. With its winding streets and melting-pot of residents, it’s the perfect place for Annie to hide away and open the bookshop she always dreamed of owning.
Until her new-found peace and quiet is disturbed by Lucas, a widower who rivals Annie as the most cynical person in town.
With his troubled past and precocious children, Lucas is the last person she should be getting involved with. But when he asks for her help, Annie comes to realise that, maybe, going it alone isn’t the solution after all…
Previously published as Promise, Texas