Countdown to 2023 – Day 30 ‘Family and Friends’ (1 day remaining)


Today is day 30 of my countdown to 2023 – woot, only one day remaining.  Today’s prompt is ‘Family and Friends ’.  The prompts can be found here if you want to join in.  I’m hoping to use mostly books read this year.  Let’s begin:

FAMILY AND FRIENDS (A book with great characters)

I’ve gone for a series that I’m really enjoying and where the characters are fantastic.  This is an urban fantasy based in Manchester in the UK (so I confess I have a soft spot immediately for that reason alone) but, on top of that this is packed with great imagination and I love reading it. The Stranger Times series by CK McDonnell.  Book 1 is The Stranger Times, followed by This Charming Man and the most recent instalment Love Will Tear Us Apart which was just amazing.  My review will be up soon.

Love will

Tomorrow: Bottle of Bubbly – Your first read for 2023


Love Will Tear Us Apart (Stranger Times #3) by CK McDonnell

When is a review not a review?  When it’s a teaser.

I recently finished Love Will Tear Us Apart, the third episode in CK McDonnell’s Stranger Times series and, hand on heart, it was my favourite so far.  This is urban fantasy that really delivers.  I absolutely love it.

I will be posting a full review closer to the date but for now – this was my initial reaction:

Love will

‘Oh my giddy aunt. This is a series that just keeps getting better. I absolutely love it and this is my favourite to date, which bearing in mind Nos. 1 and 2 were also pretty damn fine, is no small thing.

I’m not writing a full review at this point – that will be posted closer to release date – the point of this is to whet your appetite. If you’re looking for a quirky, mystery filled, modern era fantasy series packed with all sorts of supernatural critters, a fantastic ‘found family’ in the form of the Stranger Times publication employees, banter, seriously ‘strange things’, drama, tension and heart in the throat endings, stop looking. Here you go. You’re welcome.

Word to the wise, don’t crash into this series, go back to the first book otherwise you’ll be missing so much goodness.

The ending of this brought tears to my eyes – me! I don’t do crying.

No pressure McDonnell but when is No.4 due?’

All I can say is that this is a series that gives me serious ‘feels’.  If you’re looking for your next great hook then I implore you to give this a chance.

The Stranger Times and This Charming Man are the first two books in the series.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

This Charming Man (The Stranger Times #2) by CK McDonnell

My Five Word TL:DR Review : A Good Deal of Fun


I’m loving this series.  It’s funny, fast paced, has good storylines and characters that I’m becoming attached to.

If you’re planning on picking this up I would suggest reading The Stranger Times first – although to be fair I think you could probably read this as a standalone – I just really enjoyed the first in series and so basically think ‘why deny yourself the pleasure of reading it?’  Also, it’s possible that this review will include spoilers so be aware of that before reading on.

So, once again we meet up with the staff of the Stranger Times.  Things are moving forward since events in the first instalment and work is being carried out to the old church that the Stranger Times newspaper works from, mainly to accommodate the fact that one of the staff (Stella – a young girl who there is much more to than originally meets the eye) is now temporarily living in the building in order to stay safe.  In fact this feeds into one of the plotlines involving a potential kidnapping.

At the same time as the staff are investigating who or what might be interested in secreting Stella away it appears that vampires are suddenly sprouting up in the streets of Manchester.  An occurrence that causes great consternation as although the ‘folk’ the ‘founders’ and other weird and wonderful entities do actually exist – everyone agrees that vampires are simply a work of fiction. Until bodies start to crop up, torn to pieces and drained of blood.

Again, I will reiterate that I love the setting.  I may be slightly biased of course having worked in Manchester for many years but I really do feel it lends itself well to this storyline and I think the author really captures the place and the essence of the people, their banter and humour really well. I also think that Manchester has some wonderfully gothic buildings that would really lend themselves to future storylines.

I’m also becoming very easily attached to the characters.  Banecroft, the boozy and prickly long suffering editor with a heart of gold, Hannah, his latest recruit and journalist with a detective love interest, the suffering secretary Grace who seems to be able to accomplish virtually anything, Ox and Reggie, the other investigative journalists, Stella who is becoming a great point of interest and quite possibly a new addition to the team that I won’t elaborate on here.

On top of this the team get out and about plenty.  I loved that they come across a character who lives on the canal.  I’ll leave you to discover about him, his unique canine companion and his unusual story about why he lives permanently on water.  There’s also some new additions to the strange world of the Folk that involves a visit to a Godfather type who is not to be crossed.

I thought all the elements came together really well and I was so in the mood for a fun adventure with vampires and an underlying mystery that I simply didn’t see coming.

I’m loving this series and can only reiterate my comments from the first instalment – ‘more please’.

In terms of criticisms.  I really don’t have anything.  For me this worked on every level.  I liked the setting.  The author had me smiling and laughing with his excellent comedic flourishes.  The pacing was good.  There isn’t a dull moment to be honest.  The characters are likable and the plot was intriguing.  Colour me happy.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars