Thursday 7 December 2023

The Vintage Village Bake off


The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh- women's fiction

Hattie was married to Geoffrey for forty nine years. Now he’s gone she has finally realised that it’s her time. Geoffrey wasn't a nice man to the point that family and friends wouldn't visit because of him and Hattie now wonders how she put up with him for so long. She is slowly changing her mindset and looking forward to doing all the things she wasn't able to previously because of his harsh criticisms. One day her sister Bunty arrives, suitcase in hand- she’s left her husband and wants to stay for a while to sort herself out. When it turns out that Bunty isn’t quite telling the whole story, Hattie ups and leaves to go to her brother Robert’s. Robert has been single all his life and loves his animals, gardening and baking which appears to attract the ladies of the village he lives in. Maybe baking could lead to romance finally, but he wants someone to love him for him and not just his scones. When there is a possible scone competition he is unsure whether he wants the limelight or to stay in the shadows as he always has.

This is another one of Judy’s terrific reads that is more than thoroughly enjoyable. It's more than a story- it's perhaps a message to all of us about “ Carpe Diem” and taking hold of life with both hands whilst we can. The characters are wonderful and leap from the page like old friends. There are plenty of smiles and of course lots of baking and cakes. There are a few wise words amongst the story about such things as “ breathing in hope and breathing out insecurities and fears”. An uplifting read that left me with a smile and more. I’m off to investigate raspberry and white chocolate scones! Loved it. 

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The Vintage Village Bake Off Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert’s Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones – ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea – Devon or Cornwall? It’s time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert’s sisters Bunty and Hattie are both at crossroads in their lives, so news of their brother’s baking competition is the perfect excuse to bring them to Millbrook. And as the siblings relish each other’s company, and Robert relishes being at the heart of his community, a summer of scones may just light the way to long-lasting happiness for them all. Enjoy Judy Leigh’s wonderful world of family, friendship and feasting in this perfect feel-good story for all fans of Maddie Please, Dawn French and Caroline James. Purchase Link -

Author Bio – Judy Leigh is the USA Today bestselling author of The Old Girls’ Network and Five French Hens and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset. Social Media Links – Facebook Twitter Instagram Newsletter Sign Up: Bookbub profile:

Sunday 3 December 2023

How Not to Murder Your Ex by Katie Marsh


How Not To Murder Your Ex by Katie Marsh- cozy crime  

Clio hates her ex-husband. He’s annoying, he’s left her homeless and skint and everything in between and she’s had enough. She spends a night out with her friends and can’t remember much of it. She wakes up in the morning and finds her ex on the doorstep, only he's dead. Very dead. It's not a secret how much she loathed him and this would make her the prime suspect. She rallies a couple of her friends and they try to make a plan as they have to find out who really did it to save Clio from going to prison for something she perhaps wished for but most certainly did not do. Who really did want him dead and why?

This is a fun read right the way through with twists and turns to keep the plot moving nicely. I'm smiling while writing this. Clio and her friends are slightly (but believable) larger than life characters who want to do the best for everyone, and do their level best to investigate what is happening. Alternate chapters take the reader back to just before Gary’s death and what he was up to. Gary was rather a dreamer and thought he could sort everything out- if he “ borrowed” money he had a scheme to pay it back which of course nine times out of ten it didn't work but he never lost faith in himself. A wonderful, escapist read I thoroughly enjoyed and one with a smile.

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How Not To Murder Your Ex

It is 5:30 am on Clio's forty-fifth birthday and her hated ex is lying dead on her doorstep. Even worse, this is no accident. Someone’s killed him... When single mum Clio’s ex Gary turns up dead on the doorstep of her caravan – the one she’s been forced to live in ever since he stole every penny she had – there’s only one suspect. Her. What’s more, she doesn’t remember much about the night he was killed – not just because of the forgetfulness that’s been plaguing her along with the hot flushes – but because she definitely had one too many cocktails with her two best friends Amber and Jeanie. Clio does remember them talking about how much they all hated him though. And, in the frame for murder, she has to ask herself – if she didn’t kill Gary, who did? One of his many enemies? Or someone a little closer to home? And can she and her friends find the real killer before it’s too late? Unputdownable mystery set on the English coast – perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Bad Sisters, and How to Kill Your Family. Purchase Link -

Author Bio – Katie Marsh wrote five bestselling, uplifting women’s fiction novels before turning to cosy crime for Boldwood. Previously published by Hodder, the first in her new crime series How Not To Murder Your Ex, following the fortunes of the Bad Girls Detective Agency, will be published in December 2023. Social Media Links – Facebook Twitter Instagram Newsletter Sign Up:

Friday 1 December 2023

The Embers of Summer by J.R Sinclair

 The Embers of Summer by J.R Sinclair- Crime

When a man's body is found handcuffed to the steering wheel of his luxury car in his showroom completely burnt out DI Joseph Stone knows it's murder. He has an inkling through a contact that the man has links to a large organised crime syndicate which could take the investigation in a different direction. Joseph’s ex wife Kate has been investigating this and has already received a threatening email from the group. Could it be that the victim got on the wrong side of them or are there more fingers in the pie than at first glance?

Oh boy! This is a really gripping read, real life disappeared as I did so into the pages. I learnt a few things on the way (thank you!): Never EVER eat a chocolate cornflake cake without knowing and trusting the baker (read and you’ll understand why- bleurgh is all I'm saying) and that there is a gin made from milk- who knew? There’s a sense of humour which is wonderful and various mentions of food due to Joseph and Megan and the Prof’s love of all things culinary which makes for interesting reading. Food and books go sooo well together with a good cup of coffee as we all know! It's clever, it's so very well thought out and I can't help but love several of the characters. The Prof is very engaging  and I’m hoping that if the series continues he may become a more central character as he is a wonderful one to build on. A truly wonderful read I can’t recommend highly enough. Can't wait for the next one.

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Thursday 30 November 2023

The Electrician by Stewart Giles


The Electrician by Stewart Giles- Crime

 There's been a major power cut in the York area which everyone hates and then Jason Smith gets a call. A man has been stapled to the distribution board in the garage of his house after he was killed. This happened whilst his family were away. How did the killer know all the timings? When there are other victims it's clear that this is rather more than a gruesome killing. Who is doing this and why?

This is one of a series but will stand alone (then again why miss out on all of the others? All 5* from me)

Oh wow! This one takes things to a whole new level. It's rather macabre in places and the inside of such a person's head is a scary place to be. My own heart figuratively stopped towards the end, I won’t spoil anything. Stewart, you have a skill, a rare talent for putting the reader at the heart of things, so much so its as if the characters are old friends. Please keep doing what you are doing. It's brilliant. A heart stopping thriller of a read I most certainly won't forget in a hurry.

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The Electrician (A DS Jason Smith Thriller Book 25)

From bestselling author: Stewart Giles comes another brilliant addition to the Detective Jason Smith series.

If the lights go out - you're as good as dead. Detective Jason Smith is called out in the middle of the night to the scene of the most bizarre murder he's ever seen. A man has been shot dead and his hands have been stapled to the mains line in the distribution box. The family of the victim were blissfully unaware that anything was happening. All the team have to go on is a witness who claims the lights in the area went out around the time of the murder. After another man meets the same fate Smith is wide awake when he hears the testimony of his 4 year old daughter. She didn't see who killed her father but the four words she heard him speak chills the marrow in Smith's bones. Ol' Sparky is back. The Electrician is in the city, and as long as Smith and the team are kept in the dark, he's going to finish what he started. What readers are saying about THE ELECTRICIAN I thought this an intelligent, interesting read with a great gripping conclusion. I thought this an intelligent, interesting read with a great gripping conclusion. – Carol Stewart, you have a skill, a rare talent for putting the reader at the heart of things, so much so its as if the characters are old friends. Please keep doing what you are doing. It's brilliant. A heart stopping thriller of a read I most certainly won't forget in a hurry. – Misfits Farm Creepy powerful amazing read to be picked up and read another outstanding book from this author with Smiths sense of humour added right to the end that will make you hold your breathe so be prepared and just follow your dreams. family life and work are Jason's priorities in life, i just love all this series from the start, and there's more in store. – Booklover Bev BOOKS BY STEWART GILES DS JASON SMITH SERIES Book 0.5 - Phobia Book 1 - Smith Book 2 - Boomerang Book 3 - Ladybird Book 4 - Occam’s Razor Book 5 - Harlequin Book 6 - Selene Book 7 - Horsemen Book 8 - Unworthy Book 9 – Venom Book 10 – Severed Book 11 – Demons Book 12 - Deadeye Book 13 - Motive Book 14 – Australia Book 16 – Wishbone Book 17 – Ghosts Book 18 – The Scarecrow Book 19 – The Bluesman Book 20 – The Librarian Book 21 – The Viaduct Book 22 – The Twin Book 23 – The Dogwalker Book 24 – The Flytrap Book 25 – The Electrician Book 26 – The Cellar DI O’REILLY MYSTERIES Book 1 - Blood on the Island Book 2 - Lies on the Island Book 3 - Fear on the Island Book 4 - Malice on the Island Book 5 – Revenge on the Island Book 6 – Christmas on the Island Book 7 – Silence on the Island Book 8 – Secrets on the Island Book 9 – Chaos on the Island Book 10 - Sadness on the Island Book 11 – Danger on the Island DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES Book 1-The Beekeeper Book 2-The Perfect Murder Book 3-The Backpacker Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3 DS JASON SMITH &DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES Book 1 - The Enigma Book 2 – Dropzone Book 3 – The Raven Girl Trilogy: The DS Smith & Harriet Taylor box set THE MIRANDA TRILOGY (psychological thrillers) Miranda Mistress Medusa STANDALONE NOVELS Horror - The Divide Thriller - The Ghostwriter Thriller – The Guests

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. 
In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 
3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series - the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well. 
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results.  I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.
After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brought together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor. 
The Miranda trilogy is something totally different. A psychological thriller trilogy. It is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. 
The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow. I also have another series featuring an Irish detective who relocated to Guernsey, the Detective Liam O’Reilly series. There are also 3 stand alone novels.

Twitter: @stewartgiles

Tuesday 28 November 2023

A Festive Juxtaposition by Paul R. Stanton


A Festive Juxtaposition by Paul R. Stanton- holiday fiction

A stunningly beautifully written book that grabbed me from the outset. “The gentle snowflakes flurried, eddied and whirled, dancing in their oddly curious coruscation, before finally descending to earth where their individuality was lost amongst their earlier brethren” Wow- magical!

 This is a book with a winter/seasonal theme that is truly enchanting, set on Christmas eve in the city of London. The main character is the Devil and he doesn’t behave quite as one would expect, I can't give too much away for fear of spoiling it. Each chapter Nick meets new people so is almost a story each time. This blew me away, I'll try and explain. There are subliminal messages in each story, and maybe ones that touch each reader- they certainly did me and then that ending… got it, wow! It's a story of hope and enlightenment, of being kind and how the little things can make a world of difference to someone.  This has to be one of my books of the year. It's breathtakingly beautiful, in a way I can't explain until you’ve read it. A perfect winter read and a wonderful Christmas gift. Stunning doesn't do this justice.

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Book blurb: It was Christmas Eve in the good old city of London. Everything was alive with the joyous sounds of festive exchanges; carols floated on the breeze and gently wafted across the cold waters of the river Thames. Multi-coloured lights appeared to festoon the streets in every quarter, and the fragrant heady smell of pine needles could be detected everywhere. There was nothing quite like it. It could be said that there was, in fact, magic in the air.

At that point the Devil arrived at Charing Cross station. He was dressed immaculately in an Astrakhan coat, leather gloves and patent leather shoes that were so brightly polished you could see your face in them. He sported a small black goatee beard and had features that could easily have been chiselled from stone. Smiling, he stepped out into the night. But what was his purpose for being there? Was it purely philanthropic? Or, did he have an ulterior motive up his sleeve? As the evening wore on, the good old city was about to find out.

Sunday 26 November 2023

The Bag of Secrets by Joy Ellis


The Bag of Secrets By Joy Ellis- Crime

When the body of a homeless woman is found, the police can't make it a priority as they have their hands full with the living and assign it to a rather arrogant DC who has much to learn, both in life and the job. Matt and Liz are handed a bag belonging to Molly, the deceased and it appears she may have been hiding something and they get the green light to investigate further. She wasn't who she first appeared to be and another homeless man knows there is another clue if only he can find it. There is also a teenager missing, one who has gone AWOL before but this time there’s something rather more about it. There’s a clue of “ The Bunker” and it's hard to find out exactly what this is as it's a well kept secret and those in the know are under pressure for it to remain so. What on earth is going on in the fens and why?

I love this series (they do stand alone). There’s a wonderful camaraderie between Matt and Liz, and of course Rory the pathologist who is larger than life in his clever wit and exuberance. Joy has the masterful skill of bringing the characters to life and Rory is one I’d love to meet if he was real! It's a very well crafted and carefully thought out plot ( as ever with Joy’s books) and I'm learning things about the area through reading these books, even though I live here- they are meticulously researched and calculated. A stunningly captivating read. I'm in awe of this. Wow, just wow!

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THE BAG OF SECRETS (Matt Ballard #5) by Joy Ellis A GRIPPING NEW CRIME THRILLER FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND BRITISH BOOK AWARDS CRIME & THRILLER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE JOY ELLIS.  From three-million-selling author Joy Ellis comes the book that everyone will be reading this Christmas.  Matt and Liz may have retired from the police, but that doesn’t guarantee a quiet life.  An abandoned carpet bag full of mysterious handwritten notes. A body in a marshy lagoon.  Matt is intrigued when his partner Liz brings home an old carpet bag she found dumped in the local library. It contains a pile of mysterious handwritten notes. Liz is convinced the bag belongs to Old Molly, a local woman who lives on the streets.  The following day, a body is discovered in a marshy lagoon. It’s Old Molly. Suffocated with an expensive men’s handkerchief.  Molly clearly knew something that got her killed. Liz believes she was trying to tell them something important. She calls on her nephew David to help decipher the carpet bag notes.  Meanwhile Matt is hired to find teenage runaway Liam Cooper. Liam has been missing for ten days now, and Matt has a very bad feeling about him.  A few days later, a second body is discovered in an old barn out on the fens.  Matt and Liz must piece together the cryptic clues Molly has left for them before more people die. The answers lead to the remote fenland village of Marshdyke-St-Mary — and a series of shocking secrets stretching back many years.  DISCOVER A TOTALLY ENTHRALLING CRIME THRILLER.  This utterly gripping crime thriller is perfect for fans of L.J. Ross, Peter May, J.D. Kirk, Angela Marsons, J.M. Dalgliesh, Elly Griffiths or Ann Cleeves.  THE SETTING  England’s rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves (the old livestock routes) that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.  ALSO BY JOY ELLIS  THE BESTSELLING NIKKI GALENA SERIES  Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS  Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS  Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS  Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS  Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS  Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS  Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS  Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS  Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS  Book 10: DARKNESS ON THE FENS  Book 11: HIDDEN ON THE FENS  Book 12: SECRETS ON THE FENS  Book 13: FEAR ON THE FENS  JACKMAN AND EVANS  Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON  Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS  Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND  Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES  Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS Book 6: THE PATIENT MAN  Book 7: THEY DISAPPEARED  Book 8: THE NIGHT THIEF  DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD  Book 1: BEWARE THE PAST  Book 2: FIVE BLOODY HEARTS  Book 3: THE DYING LIGHT  Book 4: MARSHLIGHT  Book 5: TRICK OF THE NIGHT  Book 6: THE BAG OF SECRETS 

JOY ELLIS UK #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE JACKMAN & EVANS AND DI NIKKI GALENA SERIES; SHORTLISTED FOR BOOK OF THE YEAR FICTION: CRIME & THRILLER AT THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS 2021 OVER 3 MILLION BOOKS SOLD! Joy grew up and lived in Kent, trained in floristry in Mayfair and ran her own highly successful floristry business in Weybridge for many years. In the mid-1990s, she followed her lifelong love of books, first as the manager of an independent bookshop in Leatherhead, Surrey, then as a writer. When she retired, Joy and her partner Jacqueline and their two spaniels settled in a village just outside Boston, captivated by the Lincolnshire Fens. Joy’s happy home life is far removed from her storylines, however, and while she loves living in the misty Fens, the area provides a remote and eerie backdrop to her novels. Joy is also able to add the authenticity vital to any crime thriller by drawing on Jacqueline’s inside knowledge, to confirm procedures and the reality of tackling brutal crime and criminals in a modern police force.

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Ravenswood Murders by Helen Durrant


The Ravenswood Murders by Helen Durrant- Crime (Detective Rossi book 2)

(stand alone book)

When a young woman's body is found in a shallow grave, there is little the police have to go on other than she is the fourth girl to be found in a certain way. On the strength of her previous case, Detective Alice Rossi is brought in. This means that there are more hurdles than just a case where others have failed, she has a new team to contend with as well. When there is a faint link to a mill where the father of a recently missing girl visited the day she went missing, are things starting to fall into place? Alice is thinking about moving and retiring as she has served her time, however her love of the job and sympathy for the victims keeps her doing what she does best- finding the bad guys. 

Another brilliant, entertaining read from the master of crime that is Helen Durrant. Alice is a very likeable character and I’m hoping she won’t retire any time soon! It's a very well thought out plot with plenty of suspects that keep the reader between the pages guessing as to whom the perpetrator could be and there is also a subplot in the mix. A thoroughly ingenious read and I can’t wait for the next one.

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THE RAVENSWOOD MURDERS by Helen H. Durrant MEET DETECTIVE ALICE ROSSI IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW BRITISH CRIME SERIES FULL OF STUNNING TWISTS. A brand-new mystery from #1 bestselling author Helen H. Durrant that will have you gripped from start to explosive finish. Day 1. A young woman’s body is found in a shallow grave in the woods, buried in a white shroud. She’s been dead for a week. Her teeth are smashed in, her lips stitched together. Her hands are missing. She’s the fourth young woman found like this. With no witnesses, no clues and no leads to follow, the investigation is going nowhere. That’s when Detective Alice Rossi is called in. Alice knows this case is a poisoned chalice. Not least because she has a new team to contend with — who don’t like being bossed around by a woman. Day 2. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Hewson is reported missing. She never came home from school, and her father is beside himself. Will she be the fifth girl to die? Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel McLean, Joy Ellis, J.D. Kirk, Rachel Abbott, Elly Griffiths or J.M. Dalgliesh. READERS LOVE THE DETECTIVE ALICE ROSSI BOOKS: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Full of suspense with a storyline that kept me guessing right up until the end.’ Annette T. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A really good read . . . the perfect balance of investigation versus personal drama for the lead.’ Linda B. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘The start of a fabulous new series from Helen H. Durrant . . . Brilliant book — I loved it!’ Charlotte M. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.’ Sandra G. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘I absolutely love Alice Rossi . . . This is a gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you turning page after page all the way to the end. Absolutely brilliant, I can’t wait for book 2.’ Jill B. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘The story line flows along nicely, making it an enjoyable read, with a nice twist, leaving you keen for the next instalment which will surely follow. Recommend.’ Iain McC. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Another stunningly good police procedural from Helen H. Durrant. Fabulous plot and great characters, with everything I want from a whodunnit.’ Amanda P. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A great start to a new series . . . I couldn’t put it down. Amazing storyline.’ Michelle G. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Thoroughly gripping and suspenseful with an astonishing surprise. Not one to be missed.’ Carol S.

THE DETECTIVE DCI Alice Rossi of Greater Manchester’s Serious Crime Squad has served with the police for the past twenty-nine years. Since the death of her husband, Paul, six years ago, she has lived alone in a large, three-storey Edwardian terrace on the outskirts of Manchester. Her grown-up son lives in Edinburgh with his family. Alice is about to retire — but she’s not looking forward to it. Since her husband died, work has been her mainstay, not because she misses Paul — he was a bad man — but because it keeps her dark thoughts at bay.


The Note

The Note- Andrew Barrett- 5* A short story written in the first person by CSI Eddie Collins. Eddie is the sort of bloke who calls a s...