Dead End – DI Kelly Porter #3 by Rachel Lynch

REVIEW

Suspenseful and thrilling from the very first chapter.

DI Kelly Porter is still reeling in the aftermath of ‘The Teacher’ when new tragedy strikes.  The local aristocracy, who generally keep to themselves in the grounds of Wasdale Hall, comprises of the Earl, Xavier-Paulus II and his illegitimate grandson, Zachary. When Xavier is found hanging in his study, suicide is the immediate assumption but some things just don’t add up and Kelly unearths some secrets that perhaps should have remained hidden.  With the disappearance of two young women from a local campsite, DI Porter and her team have their work cut out of them.

This story has many twists and turns and continually keeps the reader guessing and surmising as to who did what and how, several times I thought ‘it’s him, it’s got to be, no it can’t be because…’.  I love it when a book makes me think and question my own thoughts and this one did exactly that. The characters are very well written and I really liked the way the backstory was written in at varying intervals, gaining little snippets of their lives, their secrets and their shames.   I’m not sure but there may be a few new regulars appearing in future books, maybe?!  Rachel Lynch has an amazing way of reminding the reader of the beauty and serenity of the Lakes and hills amidst the ugliness of human nature and despite the murders and kidnappings there is a peace that exists in the Fells and falls.

I can’t help but like Kelly and really want her to be happy.  She gets grief from all sides, her mother, her sister, her so-called friends, it is so nice to see that she has a constant companion in Johnny (long may it continue) and that in the darkest times he can bring a little ray of sunshine into her life.  Don’t get me wrong, like most couples they have their ups and downs but they are good together and help each other through the toughness of their jobs.

An engaging and engrossing mystery thriller that you will not want to put down.

Although it is not strictly necessary, I would advice reading the books in order.

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

When the seventh Earl of Lowesdale is found hanging from the rafters at Wasdale Hall, everyone assumes the aging, hard-partying aristocrat had finally had enough of chasing the glory of his youth. But when the coroner finds signs of foul play, DI Kelly Porter is swept into a luxurious world where secrets and lies dominate.

At the same time, two young hikers go missing and it’s up to Kelly to lead the search. But digging deeper reveals ties to two other unsolved disappearances and Kelly and her team find themselves in a race against time.

Now, as all roads of both investigations and Kelly’s own family secrets lead to Wasdale Hall it becomes more important than ever for Kelly to discover the devious truths hidden behind the walls of the Lake District’s most exclusive estate…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41152149-dead-end)

Chasing Shadows – First Wives #3 by Catherine Bybee

REVIEW

This is the third book in the First Wives series and, although I haven’t yet read the previous two, I wasn’t really in much doubt as to whether I would enjoy it as I have already read the entire Weekday Brides series and loved them.

Love is a funny thing. It can sneak up on the most unsuspecting person. Avery Grant doesn’t do love, in fact she doesn’t do relationships full stop. She married her last husband purely for the money, a mutual agreement, but definitely not for love.

Following a traumatic experience a year ago, Avery has become even more closed off emotionally. She lets men into her bed but they had better not still be there in the morning.  Learning Krav Maga has helped restore Avery’s confidence but she still freezes when her back hits the mat.

Liam Holt doesn’t know what came over him when he saw the woman in the bar but doing work in her gym just to meet her does seem a little extreme, and offering to be her sparring partner is just insane! But, as they grow closer and Avery begins to regain her memory of past events, can she trust in Liam and, more importantly, can she trust in herself?

I have to admit that I absolutely love Liam!  He is one of the most down to earth characters I have come across.  There are no airs and graces, you take him as you find him.  Where Avery may be the warrior, Liam is definitely a fighter. And the understanding he has of Avery’s insecurities if just heartwarming.

Learning to trust in someone can be a very difficult process, especially if you have never had to do it before. This story encompasses the human need to share, allowing others to carry some of the burden, opening up our minds and our hearts and trusting that they will do right by them.

I wasn’t expecting the ending as it happened but I am so proud of Avery (can you be proud of a fictional character?). She had the opportunity to make so many different choices but, in my opinion, she made the right one.

These books are essentially standalone but it really is advisable to read them in order. I will most certainly be reading the first two in this series very soon and possibly rereading the Weekday Brides – love Sam, Blake and all the gang!

Rating 5/5

Arc review courtesy of Netgalley

Synopsis

Avery Grant doesn’t date. Her first marriage was a mutually beneficial contract that gave her the financial freedom she needed to step away from her controlling parents. Wealthy and single, the last thing she’s looking for is love sneaking in to mess up her life plans. And after a brutal attack, she’s determined to never be vulnerable again, even if the new man in her life helps her feel safe.

Mesmerized from the moment he sets his eyes on Avery, Liam is driven to learn everything about this tough, sexy, challenging woman. Breaking down her defenses won’t be easy, but Liam refuses to be pushed away. All he needs is a tiny crack in Avery’s armor to wiggle his way into her heart.

But when a terrifying lie about her attacker’s fate comes to light, Avery’s past returns to haunt her. Now she’s willing to put herself in danger to get the answers she needs. That means jeopardizing the best thing that’s ever happened to her: Liam.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39792615-chasing-shadows)

Emma by Jane Austen

REVIEW

A charmingly delightful story about one woman’s unsuccessful matchmaking skills!

Emma Woodhouse has decided that, at the tender age of 20, her life is settled and content and therefore she has no need or desire to marry…ever.  She does, however feel the need for everyone else to settle down and live in perfect matrimonial harmony. And so begins her project of securing a husband (of distinguished pedigree) for her friend, Harriet Smith.

Although she has a tendency towards snobbery and arrogance, I actually really like the character of Emma.  She is easily led astray and may speak before she thinks but she does have a wonderful little conscience on her shoulder in the form of Mr Knightley.

There are many interesting characters in this story – Mr. & Mrs Weston, Frank Churchill, Jane Fairfax, Harriet Smith, Mrs & Miss Bates, Mr & Mrs John Knightley, and Mr George Knightley. Oh yeah! There are also a couple of not very nice ones, namely Mr & Mr Elton. How anyone could put up with the snide, rude and overbearing Mrs Elton is anyone’s guess.  Had the story been written now, I’m sure that Emma would have had a few choice words to say to Mrs Elton, but as it is everyone seems to just tolerate her, although I do believe that Mr Knightley does get a little payback on Mr Elton towards the end.

Emma’s attempts at matchmaking her friend, Harriet, all seem to backfire and being so wrapped up in her efforts she does not see what is right in front of her.  It is a beautiful story of friends-to-lovers, that moment when the lightning bolt finally strikes and everything becomes clear.  Mr Knightley is perfectly suited to Emma.  He is her calming influence and would do anything for her.  Is Emma deserving on Mr Knightley?  I think so.  Mr Knightley confesses that he has loved her since she was 12 years old, and I believe that if Emma thought hard about it she would realise that she has loved him for just as long.

This is a story filled with misunderstandings, secrets, and romance.  Love her or hate her, Emma is definitely one of my favourite romance heroines.

Synopsis

Clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6969.Emma)