Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Dark Water by Sara Bailey

MoMo’s Book Diary loved this psychologically intense novel and highly recommends “Dark Water” as an excellent 5 star read.                     

Sara Bailey’s debut novel, Dark Water tells an exceptional and intriguing story set in beautiful, mysterious Orkney.

I was drawn to the book as I have, myself, recently moved to Orkney and love reading fiction set in the islands. I did not know what to expect but was quickly drawn into the powerful story being told. The author describes the eerie ship-wrecks in such a way that you can visualize them – or maybe that’s just because I have seen them so many times. Beautiful as they sound I would not be willing to jump in and swim around them!

Dark Water focuses on Helena’s story, alternating between being a teenager and the adult she is today. Helena grew up in Orkney but left the island after her best friend, Anastasia was lost to the sea on a late night swim. Helena is returning now after her father is taken ill. Returning to the island is difficult for Helena, as much as she loves her dad, she has been running from the memories of her teenage years and losing her best friend, Anastasia. Helena knows as soon as she arrives she will be overwhelmed by memories of that night. The author excellently describes the conflicting feelings of the adolescent years and the insecurities we take with us into adulthood.

I would like to thank the author, Sara Bailey, and Jacqui Lofthouse of Nightingale Editions for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to its release date.


Sara Bailey’s haunting and lyrical debut: a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, set in the beautiful Orkney Islands.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Still haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must navigate her way through the prisms of memory and encounter not only her ghosts but also her first love, Dylan, the only one who can help her unravel the past and find her way back to the truth of what really happened that night.

AUTHOR Sara Bailey
PUBLISHER Nightingale Editions            (imprint of Blackbird Books)
ISBN Number (13 digits)
OBTAINED: Where from and when?





Sara Bailey website

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Dr Sara Bailey is a writer, consultant and lecturer who has been working with authors and screenwriters for many years, in Richmond-upon-Thames, Winchester and Southampton. She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Bangor University.

Her first book was published by Bloomsbury in 2013, Writing the Horror Movie, which she co-authored whilst hiding behind a cushion. Recently she has returned to her home of Orkney, the setting of her debut novel, Dark Water.

Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Down on Daffodil Lane by Rebecca Pugh

MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this heart-warming tale as a 5 star read.                        

This is Rebecca Pugh’s third novel and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I read the book in almost one sitting – just couldn’t put it down!

Strong, lovable characters mixed with wonderfully descriptive setting makes this a very heart-warming story. I enjoyed the way the author introduces each character and affectionately describes how friendly everyone is towards the new comer to town.

I would love to live on Daffodil Lane and believe that it is reading books as sweet as this one might be the reason I am still single – no man could ever live up to the man of my book dreams!

I look forward to reading more of Rebecca Pugh.


A charmed life…

Maria Charm’s world might have recently crumbled, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let it get her down.

Sure, her ex-husband broke her heart and decimated her trust, and while it would be so tempting to spend forever in her dressing gown, a tub of ice-cream in one hand and a glass of Chardonnay in the other, Maria wants more from her new—single—life!

A make over of her lovely little cottage on Daffodil Lane and a new job at Harriet’s café are just the distractions Maria needs to carve a new life in the country. One distraction she doesn’t need is Mr Tall, Brooding and Handsome from down the lane! ‘Maria may only be in town temporarily, but there’s nothing temporary about the tingles she feels at gorgeous Brad’s touch…

After everything she’s been through, can Maria ever trust a man again? Could risking her heart with Brad lead to a charmed life on Daffodil Lane?

AUTHOR Rebecca Pugh
BOOK TITLE Down on Daffodil Lane
PRINT LENGTH 153 pages
OBTAINED: Purchased Kindle





Rebecca Pugh website

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Rebecca Pugh on Amazon



Posted in **** rating 4/5

Girl Number One by Jane Holland


MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this as a 4 star thriller.                 

I was excited to read this book after reading the description and it is a good mystery which had me hooked from the start.

Unfortunately, the author tends to get caught up in detail sometimes which makes it quite slow moving but the wonderfully atmospheric descriptions of the Cornish landscape kept me hooked.

However, there are a few times where the story doesn’t quite meet the mark – the lead character, Ellie, goes off with someone she believes could be the murderer without telling anyone where she is BUT that happens in films all too often so I tend to overlook these things.

A gripping and satisfying read. I will read this author again.


There’s a body in the woods. At least, there was. Eleanor Blackwood saw it on her morning run: a young woman, strangled to death.

But the police can find nothing—no body, no sign of a crime—and even Ellie has to wonder if it was a trick of her mind, a gruesome vision conjured up by grief. It’s eighteen years to the day since she witnessed her own mother’s murder on the same woodland spot. But what if she really did see what she thinks she saw? What if the body was left there for Ellie alone to find?

 And there’s one detail Ellie can’t shake: a deliberate number three on the dead woman’s forehead. When she discovers a second body, this one bearing the number two, Ellie is convinced they are not messages but threats. The killer is on a countdown: but who is girl number one?


AUTHOR Jane Holland
BOOK TITLE Girl Number One
PUBLISHER Thomas & Mercer
PRINT LENGTH 358 pages
ISBN 9781503938212
OBTAINED: Purchased Amazon Kindle







Jane Holland website

Jane Holland on Twitter


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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Rescuing Rose by Nicola Marsh

MoMo’s Book Diary loves the Redemption series of books from Nicola Marsh and eagerly recommends Rescuing Rose as a 5 star read.                        

Rescuing Rose is Nicola Marsh’s the second release of her ‘Redemption’ series and begins where the first, Saving Sara, ended. Don’t worry if you haven’t read Saving Sarah yet as the author warmly introduces each character – but it does help set the bigger scene and you will want to read it after this!

Rescuing Rose focuses on the story of twenty-six year old Rose Mathieson, single mother to six year old Olly. Rose has been going through a tough time and after a bender the night before she sleeps through the day, forgetting to collect Olly from school. Rose knows something has to change after she snaps at Olly when he tries to make her dinner and she see’s fear in his tiny eyes. This child, her child, the reason she breathes, is scared of her. Rose asks her brother, Jake, to look after Olly whilst she checks herself into rehab to get well.

Jake was happy to take Olly while Rose got herself well but found it difficult as he had no idea what to do with a six year old. Jake calls his aunt Cilla who lives in Redemption, a small town in Connecticut where Jake and Rose grew up. Jake and Olly go out to live with Cilla for a while and are still there when Rose is ready to leave rehab. Aunt Cilla asks Rose to consider coming out to live with them for a while. Rose is not sure about returning to Redemption, as she has some good memories but more bad memories of the sleepy town but she knows it will be good for Olly so she goes…

I was quickly drawn to the town of Redemption by the way the author describes the town and the people living there. The author emotionally brings to life the characters and the chemistry between them. The story flowed page after page. Life, and love, is a roller-coaster excellently portrayed by the author.

I would like to thank the author, Nicola Marsh, for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to its release date through


Rose Mathieson knows the only way is up. It has to be. She’s made some mistakes in her life, but almost losing her son is a wake-up call. More than that: it’s a call to action. It’s time to start again.

The town of Redemption, Connecticut, seems to offer exactly what she craves: a quiet, stable life for her and her six-year-old son, Olly. But Redemption has changed since she last saw it—or perhaps it’s just Rose who has changed. Her reputation precedes her now, and not everyone is happy to see her back.

Caden Shoreham is, though. Rose’s childhood neighbor, a preacher’s son, and now the pillar of the community, he’s embarking on an ambitious new path of his own. He had always hoped they might end up more than friends, but Rose Mathieson isn’t quite what his parents and friends had in mind for him.

Everyone deserves a chance—but has Rose used all her chances up?

AUTHOR Nicola Marsh
BOOK TITLE Rescuing Rose
SERIES Redemption #2
PUBLISHER Lake Union Publishing
PRINT LENGTH 304 pages
ISBN 9781503936577
OBTAINED: 01/09/16 email from author

08/09/16 download from

Review also published:




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Posted in *** rating 3/5

After Church Mysteries by Will Martin

MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this a 3 star read.                  

I was drawn to the description of this book however I was not aware of it, or the author, before viewing on NetGalley but it sounded like the type of book I would enjoy reading. I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, the book is good its just not my type of read.

The author is excellent at describing where, when and why but I did not get the comedy side of it… just wasn’t for me.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.



Armed with snacks and voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ by his fly-by-night private investigator school, Reverend Richard Burgess has left the pulpit behind to try his hand at helping people in a different way.

After shedding his pastor duds for a newly acquired closetful of somewhat questionable disguises, Detective Burgess sets out to leverage his considerable people smarts to solve crimes and bring closure to his clients.

In this hilarious novel of linked short stories, the former minister busts a smuggling ring, solves a murder, launches a viral video on YouTube, tracks down a ghost, and after exposing a deadly real estate scam, finds CNN in his front yard.

After church is over, staying out of trouble might just be Richard’s new full-time job.


AUTHOR Will Martin
BOOK TITLE After Church Mysteries
SERIES Rev Richard Burgess P.I.
PUBLISHER Wil Martin – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
PRINT LENGTH 296 pages
ISBN 9781535548083





Will Martin website

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Posted in **** rating 4/5

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

MoMo’s Book Diary loved Missing, Presumed and recommends this as a gripping 4 star read.

Missing, Presumed is one of the most absorbing novels I have read this year. It’s authenticity is gripping from the first page. The author gives an excellent description of the issues facing the police force in todays world and manages to bring each and every character to life. The detail of the police investigation into the disappearance of Edith Hind one cold December day in Cambridge is spot on.  Edith Hind has gone missing leaving her coat, phone and keys at home. The front door is open and there is blood on the kitchen floor. What happened to Edith? What secrets are being kept?

There are twists and some intriguing lines of investigation but I failed to guess the ending before I got there.  I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading more from Susie Steiner.

I would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

AUTHOR Susie Steiner
BOOK TITLE Missing, Presumed
PUBLISHER The Borough Press
PRINT LENGTH 417 pages
ISBN 9780008123321
OBTAINED: 17/09/16 – read now





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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Saving Sara by Nicola Marsh

MoMo’s Book Diary loves the Redemption series of books from Nicola Marsh and eagerly recommends Saving Sara, the first in the series, as a 5 star read.                        

I bought this book after reading some tweets about it and I loved it!

Sara is grieving for her three-year-old daughter Lucy and her marriage and doesn’t know how to carry on. When her grandmother passes, Sara inherits her old cottage in Redemption. This is just what she needs to begin her new life…

Jake is grieving after an airline tragedy for which he feels responsible until his sister, Rose, asks him to care for her son, Ollie, while she checks herself into rehab to deal with her reliance on alcohol. Jake agrees, but has no idea how to look after a six-year-old and in desperation calls on his estranged Aunt Cilla who was always there for him when he was young.

Cilla has her own problems but is delighted to welcome Jake and Ollie to Redemption.

The book introduces each character in a way that you really feel you know them and each one is likable. There are some real emotional twists for all involved but it is a very feel-good book that I very much enjoyed.  A heartwarming story with each character discovering they can actually help each other to heal.

This the first in the Redemption Series by Nicola Marsh where we follow the romantic struggle between the two characters as they try to allow themselves a second chance at happiness. This uplifting story reminds us that we can all heal, love and learn to move on from our heart breaks and tragedies.

I am looking forward to reading the next in the series and would highly recommend this delightful book and this author to friends.


When Sara Hardy inherits a cottage in the small town of Redemption, Connecticut, it is just the break she needs to draw a line under her past—to begin again, on her own.

Sara never thought she’d be starting over. She was married, successful, and the mother of a beautiful girl. But the life she thought was on the right path has taken a series of wrong turns…

Meanwhile Jake Mathieson has a lot on his plate. Still reeling from a tragedy for which he feels responsible, he finds himself unexpectedly caring for his six-year-old nephew. In desperation, he comes to Redemption to enlist the help of his Aunt Cilla, a widow with demons of her own.

Jake is intrigued by Cilla’s cautious new neighbor. Like him, Sara is desperate to put the past behind her but not quite sure how to begin. Can Redemption offer either of them a second chance to find hope and happiness—perhaps even to take a risk on new love??

AUTHOR Nicola Marsh
BOOK TITLE Saving Sarah
SERIES Redemption #1
PUBLISHER Lake Union Publishing
PRINT LENGTH 306 pages
ISBN 9781503935792
OBTAINED: 15/07/16 purchased kindle edition from





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Posted in *** rating 3/5

The Hope That Kills by Ed James

I liked some things about this book and but found the style of writing missing something. I recommend this as a 3 star read.

I liked the cover image and the synopsis sounded just my type of book.

The author gets a bit too involved in details and I felt the book dragged on. I prefer books that are faster paced than this. However, the main story was good and it was an enjoyable read although a little hard-going at times.

I am undecided on this author and will purchase the second DI Fenchurch book to give him another go…

I would like to thank netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.


The body of a young woman is found on the streets of East London, in the shadow of the City’s gleaming towers. No ID on her, just hard-earned cash. But there is no doubting the ferocity of the attack.

DI Simon Fenchurch takes charge but, as his team tries to identify her and piece together her murder, they’re faced with cruel indifference at every turn—nobody cares about yet another dead prostitute. To Fenchurch, however, she could just as easily be Chloe, his daughter still missing after ten years, whose memory still haunts his days and nights, his burning obsession having killed his marriage.

When a second body is discovered, Fenchurch must peel back the grimy layers shrouding the London sex trade, confronting his own traumatic past while racing to undo a scheme larger, more complex and more evil than anything he could possibly have imagined.

BOOK TITLE The Hope that Kills
SERIES DI Fenchurch #1
PUBLISHER Thomas & Mercer
PRINT LENGTH 366 pages
ISBN 9781503936553
OBTAINED: Netgalley






Ed James writes crime fiction novels, predominantly the SCOTT CULLEN series of police procedurals set in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians – the first four are available now, starting with GHOST IN THE MACHINE which has been downloaded over 280,000 times and is currently free. BOTTLENECK (Cullen 5) is out on 17-Mar-14. He is currently developing two new series – DI SIMON FENCHURCH and DS VICKY DODDS, set in London and Dundee respectively. He also writes the SUPERNATURE series, featuring vampires and other folkloric creatures, of which the first book SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is out now and free.

Ed lives in the East Lothian countryside, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, with his girlfriend, six rescue moggies, two retired greyhounds, a flock of ex-battery chickens and rescue ducks across two breeds and two genders (though the boys don’t lay eggs). While working in IT for a living, Ed wrote mainly on public transport but now writes full time.

Find out more:

Ed James website – website

Ed James on Twitter – Facebook – GoodReads and Amazon