February Book Haul

Rather than post weekly (which so far this year I haven’t been managing) I’ve decided to make it a monthly feature. As I often buy books that have been on offer it means that by the end of the month, those offers may well have finished Can I suggest that anyone wanting to pick up on any offers follows me on Facebook where I post most days.

Kindle Purchases

(My total purchase price for month £10.98)

 

After Leaving the VillageAfter Leaving the Village by Helen Matthews

Two women. Two villages. Different destinies. Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London. Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected. 
Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours. On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.

 

Effie GrayEffie Gray by Suzanne Fagence Cooper

TIE-IN EDITION FOR THE NEW FILM STARRING EMMA THOMPSON The Scottish beauty Effie Gray is the heroine of a great Victorian love story. Married at 19 to John Ruskin, she found herself trapped in an unconsummated union. She would fall in love with her husband’s protégé, John Everett Millais, and inspire some of his most memorable art, but controversy and tragedy continued to stalk her. Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie’s family letters and diaries to show the rise and fall of the Pre-Raphaelite circle from a new perspective, through the eyes of a woman whose charm and ambition helped to shape the careers of both her husbands. Effie Gray is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary woman behind some of the greatest paintings of the Victorian era.

 

Runaway WifeThe Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald (published 24 April)

One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie McColl is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

On her journey from England to Scotland, Connie stops in on long-lost friends and makes all sorts of colourful new companions along the way. As Connie has the time of her life, sleeping under the stars and skinny dipping in the sea, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? 

Or will this summer change her life forever?

 

Kindness of StrangersThe Kindness of Strangers by Julie Newman (published 19 April)

Widow Helen is desperate for a perfect family life, and will do everything she can to get what she wants.

A veteran of the Afghanistan conflict Martin is adrift and seemingly without hope – can he ever win back his estranged family?

Pregnant teenager Charley is striking out on her own to create a new life for her unborn child, but her mother Lizzie has other ideas.

When three seemingly disparate lives connect, the past and the present collide to reveal secrets, lies and how far people are willing to go to hide the truth.

 

Kiss CarloKiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia is bursting with possibility. The arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone, a young man who, orphaned as a child, now lives with his Uncle Dom and his large and boisterous family in the city. Surely there is more to life than this, despite a steady job in the family business and a sweet-natured fiancee?
 
In secret, Nicky begins moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theatre company and is quickly drawn to the stage, its colourful players… and to feisty Calla Borelli, who runs the show. Before long he finds himself on the horns of a dilemma: can he return to the conventional life his family expects of him? Or does he have what it takes to chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes?
 
Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this epic novel brims with romance as long-buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love and the abiding power of la famiglia.

 

Italian DreamThe Italian Dream by Tamara Kate Jarvis

Sophie gave up a high flying career to find her dream life but has ended up stuck in a dead end job that was only supposed to be temporary. She’s also stuck with a nice but boring boyfriend, her parents’ constant disappointment, and a life that’s going nowhere. When her boss offers her the chance to have that life permanently, she panics and flees to Italy to stay with her friend, Jen, in a village on the outskirts of Florence.
Here in Italy the skies are blue, the sun is shining and Sophie falls in love with a beautiful old Manor house in the village. And what’s more, there’s a mysterious, handsome man with dark eyes, olive skin and dark blond hair who seems to have taken an instant dislike to her… Why? And will she ever be able to leave all of this behind?

 

Beauty ShopThe Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

War changes everyone, inside and out. The remarkable true story of the Guinea Pig Club. 

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

 

MurderessThe Murderess by Jennifer Wells

1931: Fifteen-year-old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.

 

Pulling up the WeedsPulling up the Weeds by Caroline Ashton

Five very different women find they have two things in common… they’re all widows and they all need to move house. 

Rosie – fair, fat and fifty – needs more space to nurture her new business venture – growing herbs. Virginia cherishes her social standing and is mortified that the minuscule pension her consultant husband has left her unable to keep up appearances, whilst Andrea’s house is filled with memories, holding her back from starting a new life.

Gwen’s children, with half an eye on the equity in her house, are trying to push her into sheltered accommodation and Ellie, the recently widowed youngest of the group, is eager to leave the cramped house her husband bought to leave funds for his dream restaurant. 

With their differing temperaments and opinions, finding the perfect house to share is not easy. A large rectory seems to be the ideal answer but managing to live in harmony proves tricky – until a surprise visit shocks them into realising they have far more in common than they’d thought.

 

White HorizonWhite Horizon by Jan Ruth

Three couples in crisis, multiple friendships under pressure.
On-off-on lovers Daniel and Tina return to their childhood town. After twenty-five years together, they marry in typically chaotic fashion, witnessed by old friends, Victoria and Linda who become entangled in the drama, their own lives changing beyond recognition. However, as all their marriages begin to splinter, and damaged Victoria begins an affair with Daniel, the secret illness that Tina has been hiding emerges. Victoria’s crazed and violent ex-husband attempts to kill Daniel and nearly succeeds, in a fire that devastates the community. On the eve of their first wedding anniversary, Tina returns to face her husband, but is it to say goodbye forever, or to stay?

 

Keep You NearKeep you Near by Robin Roughley

How far would you go to find your missing sister?

A normal day in the park turns into a nerve shredding nightmare for eleven-year-old Marnie Hammond when she find herself in a desperate chase to stop the ‘bad man,’ from abducting Abby.

Fifteen years later, Marnie is a Detective Sergeant but the memory of her missing sister still haunts her dreams.

When it becomes clear that someone is stalking the streets of Kirkhead DS Hammond has her hands full, and after remains are discovered buried in dense woodland, Marnie fears the worst. But this is only the start of a nightmare that will unearth more bones, more victims and the terror that Abby might be among the dead.

To stop the monster Marnie knows she must break the rules, but when the twisted killer turns his attention on her it becomes a fight not only for the truth but for her sanity and her survival.

Can Marnie catch the murderer and solve her sister’s disappearance? 

 

Baby DearBaby Dear by Linda Huber

Caro and Jeff Horne seem to have it all until they learn that Jeff is infertile. Caro married Jeff because her biggest wish was to be a mother, and he had the means to give their children a better life than she’d had. Jeff, who is besotted with Caro, is terrified he will lose her now they can’t have a baby.

Across town, Sharon is eight months pregnant and unsure if she really wants to be a mother. Soon her world will collide with Jeff’s. He wants to keep Caro happy and decides that getting a baby is the only way.   

Then Caro is accidently drawn into an underworld of drugs…

Meanwhile, Jeff is increasingly desperate to find a baby – but what lengths is he prepared to go to?

Is Sharon in danger, and will Caro ever have the family she’s always dreamed of?

 

Artist's MuseThe Artist’s Muse by Kerry Postle

Vienna 1907

Wally Neuzil must find a way to feed her family. Having failed in many vocations, Wally has one last shot: esteemed artist Gustav Klimt needs a muse, and Wally could be the girl he’s been waiting for. But Wally soon discovers that there is much more to her role than just sitting looking pretty. And while she had hoped to establish herself as an emerging lady, the upper classes see her as no more than a prostitute.

With her society dreams dashed Wally finds herself at rock bottom. So when young artist, Egon Schiele, shows her how different life can be Wally grabs hold of the new start she’s been desperately seeking. As a passionate love affair ensues will he be the making of her or her undoing?

 

Trip of a LifetimeThe Trip of a Lifetime by Monica McInerney

‘I always thought memories were unchangeable. Set in stone, shaped by the years. But there are always others too, ones you haven’t let yourself remember . . .’

The wilful and eccentric Lola Quinlan is off on the trip of a lifetime, taking her beloved granddaughter and great-granddaughter with her. More than sixty years after emigrating to Australia, she’s keeping a secret promise to return to her Irish homeland.

Lola has always been her family’s port in a storm, but she’s hiding the hurtful reason she left Kildare as a young woman. Lola’s walk down memory lane will force her to confront her bittersweet past – and discover that the truth can indeed set you free . . .

 

Hot ChocolateHot Chocolate by Alice Castle

Bella Renfrew has the perfect life – gorgeous children, handsome husband Tom, fantastic job. She’s bubbly, warm and everybody loves her. So why does she need so much chocolate? It is not until her habit literally jams up the workings of her career that Bella first begins to suspect what everyone else knows for sure – she has a serious problem. Bella has a meltdown and relocates the family to Brussels, for Tom’s job. But, as Hot Chocolate shows, you can run from chocolate, but you just can’t hide. It is in Belgium, home of the world’s finest chocolate, that Bella has her epiphany. A chance encounter with a chocolatier sets her on a new path – a path which just happens to be strewn with new admirers, for both Bella and Tom. As Bella gets to know chocolate from the inside out, she finally conquers her addiction and emerges as a better, and sleeker, person. But will her marriage survive?

 

Her Hidden LifeHer Hidden Life by V S Alexander (published 3 May)

It’s 1943 and Hitler’s Germany is a terrifying place to be.
But Magda Ritter’s duty is the most dangerous of all…

Assigned to The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat, she must serve the Reich by becoming the Führer’s ‘Taster’ – a woman who checks his food for poison. Magda can see no way out of this hellish existence until she meets Karl, an SS officer who has formed an underground resistance group within Hitler’s inner circle.

As their forbidden love grows, Magda and Karl see an opportunity to stop the atrocities of the madman leading their country. But in doing so, they risk their lives, their families and, above all, a love unlike either of them have ever known…

 

Bad to the BoneBad to the Bone by Tony J Forder

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

 

Island in the EastIsland in the East by Jenny Ashcroft

Two great loves. One shattering betrayal. A war that changes everything.

Singapore, 1897
Twenty-year-old identical twins, Harriet and Mae, born from a scandalous affair, have spent their lives slighted by gossips. They’ve carried each other through the loneliness, believing that together they can survive anything.

But then their mysterious benefactor sends them to Singapore to live with his relative, the watchful David Keeley, who will choose one of them to marry. In the tension of David’s house, a distance opens up between the twins, but it is only when they meet the handsome Alex Blake that their relationship truly fractures, resulting in a life-shattering betrayal with devastating consequences . . .

1941
Ivy, an intelligence officer with the women’s naval service, is posted to wartime Singapore. Carrying her own ghosts from Blitz-torn London, she arrives to the looming threat of a Japanese invasion. Nothing can prepare her for what’s waiting on the island – not the unexpected love, nor the strangers from her grandmother, Mae’s, past, and the shocking secrets that now echo down through the generations.

 

RookeryThe Rookery by Emily Organ

There’s a killer in the slums.

London 1884. When a thief robs Fleet Street reporter Penny Green, she finds herself caught up in a horrifying murder.

Someone is terrorizing the residents of St Giles Rookery and Scotland Yard sends Inspector James Blakely to investigate. When the serial killer claims a victim outside the slums, Victorian London is sent into panic. 

Can Penny’s friendship with the people of St Giles uncover the culprit? She and James must overcome their complicated relationship to work together, but each new murder threatens to derail their work for good.

 

Lake in SwitzerlandA Lake in Switzerland by Melinda Huber

Stacy can’t believe her luck when her best friend Emily invites her on a holiday to Switzerland.
She arrives at the Lakeside Hotel with high hopes, but the problems begin straightaway. Emily’s recent injury doesn’t let her do much, and something is wrong at the hotel. Where are all the guests? Why is the owner’s son so bad-tempered? And then there’s the odd behaviour of Stacy’s fiancé, back home. It’s hard to enjoy the scenery with all this going on…
By the last day of the holiday, Stacy knows her life will never be the same again – but the end of the week is just the beginning of the Lakeside adventure.

 

Secrets in the SkySecrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

How far should you go to keep a secret?

No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Kindle best-seller Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.

 

60 Ways to Die in South America60 Ways to Die in South America by Tracy Ashworth

Carpe diem, they say. Get out of your comfort zone, they shout from the goddamn rooftops. But they never mention being kidnapped for your kidneys, now do they?

Journalist Lucy Hart’s mojo has shrivelled up like a raisin. Her job in the Classifieds Section of a local newspaper is boring as bat crap, her dating life makes her weep into her wine and her roommate is a fan of extremely loud sex.

Lucy is almost resigned to her life being all sorts of sad when she’s forced to take a travel writing assignment in South America of all places. And as if that’s not bad enough, she’s thrust into the whole horrendous adventure along with the newspaper’s stuck-up freelance photographer, Jack Dawson.

Will Lucy end up baked into an empanada or will she grow a pair of lady balls?

 

 

 

13 comments

  1. Jill, what an amazing haul! I’ll have to save this post today for future TBR lists, unless you keep them as part of your blog. Lynne does, so I don’t have to keep saying hers. As she would say: “I’m trying to cull my TBR list.
    xo

    Liked by 2 people

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