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Murder Ahoy! by Fiona Leitch

Murder Ahoy!

Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.

She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.

Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?

 

My review

There are certain things that just have to be there for a good cosy mystery: an off-stage crime usually quite near the start of the story with an unlikeable victim; a somewhat limited setting such as in a small town or, as here, a boat; a clever villain but who, fortunately, is not as smart as our generally reluctant amateur sleuth; plenty of humorous touches; a cast of quirky if not downright eccentric characters; clues galore, and a catchy title.

These, as I say, are crucial for any good cozy. Murder Ahoy, however, isn’t a good cozy – it’s a brilliant one! It has all the above and so much more. This author could make an instruction manual for installing plumbing sound scintillating as she has such a lively, sparkly, humour-laden style and vibrant imagination.

Belle is an awesome heroine. She’s feisty but not brashly so, and is wonderfully human with her insecurities and other foibles. She’s down to earth, funny and kind, but can give the occasional tongue-lashing when necessary.

Louise, the victim, is wonderfully vile. In fact, everyone we meet is an enthusiastic example of the role they’re playing. Will is a truly dependable, loyal partner, for example, and Joel is the epitome of the scheming, cheating ex.

The plot is fun and peppered with delightful action of every kind. The story might take place on a stolid cruise ship but it whisks you along as though you’re in a speedboat.

Everything about this invigorating, breath-of-sea-air novel is enjoyable. Grab a copy. Now!

 

Purchase Links – mybook.to/Ahoy

 

Author bio

Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/fkleitch

www.fionaleitch.com

https://www.pinterest.nz/fionakleitch/

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Lady Anne and the Menacing Mystic by Victoria Hamilton

Synopsis

While in Bath preparing for her upcoming marriage to Lord Darkefell, Lady Anne learns of a profoundly accurate mystic working in town whose uncanny predictions have stunned the gullible and the sceptical alike. Certain there’s a harmless rational explanation for the medium’s supposed otherworldly abilities, Anne’s tolerance turns to defiance when the seer’s dark pronouncements begin having a decidedly harmful affect on her friends—and a troubled local vicar takes his own life.

Convinced that the woman is orchestrating a devious scheme, Anne begins to suspect that she’s working in league with a shrewd newcomer who’s attached himself to many of the town’s wealthy widowers. As she navigates the swirling rumours of Bath society to confirm her suspicions and unmask the charlatans for what they are, she discovers that the treacherous conspirators are plotting to make her own future very dark—and very short-lived . .

 

 

My review

This is an entertaining historical cosy mystery set in late eighteenth-century Bath. Lady Anne is a very forceful heroine, in some ways ahead of her time but, sadly, still constrained by it. She’s quite austere and it takes a while to warm to her, but if you’ve read earlier books in the series this fondness might already be in place. She’s well-meaning and interesting, that’s for sure.
The setting is beautifully described and the era comes over very convincingly with the details about everyday life, dress, furniture, means of travel and so forth.
The plot, although perhaps a little slow to get established, is ingenious and absorbing. It keeps you guessing all the way through.
Much to enjoy.

Buy the book here

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Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges

Synopsis

A darkly funny whodunnit of sex, death and the tragi-comedy of old age

Ex-SAS officer Tom Knight is now a 73-year-old private detective in a seaside town, with a bad leg, a taste for good weed and a morbid fear of growing old. He’s also fallen in love with Fran, a sprightly 52-year-old carer at a retirement home. The bad news is that she’s dumped him for lying about his age.

So when she’s framed for the murder of three old ladies at the home he resolves to win her back by proving her innocence. His quest takes him behind the town’s veil of respectability, into a murky world of Oxbridge hookers, a lovelorn Tarot card reader and England’s most obnoxious policeman. He even faces up to his fear of old age and dementia, by going undercover at the care home where the murders happened.

But will it be enough to win back the lady of his dreams?

Proving that you’re just as young as you feel, the Tom Knight mysteries combine delicious comedy with a precision-engineered plot.

 

My review

This is a cosy mystery rich with black comedy. We have an unusual – for this genre – protagonist in the elderly Tom, but he’s as energetic as any younger one! You do worry  a bit about his hips and knees when he gets into kerfuffles, but he’s made of stern stuff! I hope I’ll be that robust at his age…

Mature Tom has the added benefit of experience and wisdom, both of which he uses when dealing with the intriguing case, but unfortunately not so much when dealing with the attractive Fran.

The plot is clever and the action brisk. It’s an absorbing, bittersweet read, and highly enjoyable. The author has a lively, light style that’s gripping and entertaining.

 

The book will be published in mid September by Farrago. Pre-order here.

I received an ARC via Netgalley, and this is an unbiased, honest review

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A French Affair by Jennifer Bohnet

What will be will be…

Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back to England.

Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down.

It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda’s employer ‘surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany. Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface.

As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.

Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and called home?

 

My review

This is a very atmospheric novel, and couldn’t be set anywhere other than France. The author catches the sights, sounds and all the nuances of expat life beautifully.

It’s also rather sad at times, particularly where Belinda and Fern tackle some serious issues. We experience the action of the novel from the point of view of these two characters.  However, the book is fast-paced so we don’t  get too long to dwell, and in contrast to these more difficult elements, there are joyful moments, and lots of life and imagination, and yes, happiness.

It is, however, essentially an optimistic novel overall, dealing as it does with facing up to truths, processing them and moving on, although that’s not as easy as it might sound. But it doesn’t shy from the damage and difficulties having such lurking truths – or rather untruths – can inflict.

The cover is lovely and oh so enticing, but since there are a lot of books out there called A French Affair, or some sort of close variation on the theme, I do worry slightly that this particular book will get lost in the melee. It really isn’t the most imaginative title! I think it deserves to made far more distinctive as it’s a unique story and should be allowed to stand out as well as it deserves to.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2N4AiJO

 

Author bio

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Social Media Links –

http://www.jenniferbohnet.com/

http://facebook.com/Jennifer-Bohnet-170217789709356

http://twitter.com/jenniewriter

http://instagram.com/jenniebohnet

Newsletter sign up link: http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnetNewsletter
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bohnet

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Cynthia Smart’s Midwife Crisis by Liz Davies

At forty-four, Cynthia Smart is exactly where she wants to be. Almost.

In a couple of years, she’ll be the CEO of the company she’s spent her most of her adult life working in. For now, though, she’s still busy shimmying up the greasy pole of corporate business. She’s single, carefree, and independent, and nothing can stop her getting what she wants and deserves.

Until she discovers she’s pregnant.

Determined to have her cake and eat it, she’s convinced that having a baby will make little difference to her life, and that she will be one of those women who can hold down an incredibly demanding job and also be a perfect mother.

But as her pregnancy progresses and her life slowly falls apart, she has the sneaking suspicion that Max Oakland, the new guy on the block, is out to steal her dream job. That she’s terribly attracted to him doesn’t help, nor does the fact that he’s devilishly handsome, appears to be a really nice fella, and is good in a crisis.

When she gradually comes to realise that something has got to give, what she doesn’t want it to be is her heart.

 

My review

I’m mortified to be a day late with this review. My sincerest apologies to the author and tour organiser. I’m clearly nothing like as on top of things as our career-woman heroine Cynthia is! (At least to start with…)

This novel is delightful, light-hearted and uplifting, even though dealing with the rather huge and serious issue of unplanned pregnancy. For a career-driven, more mature person like Cynthia, it’s definitely a shock. However, her confidence that she can handle everything is all-pervading. But then reality begins to sneak in and Cynthia starts to see beyond the confines of work and workplace success. The path to motherhood isn’t smooth at any stage.

The foil to Cynthia is Max, whom Cynthia initially sees as a rival on the work front. She’s suspicious of him, but her opinion of him changes as the action progresses. And goodness, is there some action in this story!

And isn’t that cover superb!

The whole book is fun and lively, one that many women can relate to, and makes for a fabulous summer read.

 

Purchase Linkhttp://mybook.to/CynthiaSmart

Author Bio –

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Website: https://lizdaviesauthor.wixsite.com/home

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

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The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Gaff

The Greenbecker Gambit

‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’

Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?

 

My review

A gambit is an opening move in a chess game which usually involves making a sacrifice for, hopefully, future gain (of the opponent’s pieces). It suggests machination and strong self-confidence, and both of these qualities are to be found by the bucket load in our narrator, chess-player Terrence Tennessee Greenbecker.

This book falls into the ‘unreliable narrator’ genre which soon becomes apparent. We quickly work out that Tennessee’s accounts of his accomplishments and importance clash with reality, and realise that our narrator suffers from mental illness which alienates him from those around him.

The book gives an insight into the world of professional chess playing, which is fascinating. You don’t need to be a chess buff to appreciate the glimpse behind the scenes. However, a grasp of the game and having heard of Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov are will help a little.

As well as admiring chess players, and in particular Fischer, Greenbecker has another hero, Guy Fawkes, who reflects his own arsonist tendencies.

The action in the book takes place over the course of a weekend in 2018 when chessmasters Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana are playing each other in London. Greenbecker has something rather less controlled and dignified than a ches game in mind.

The novel takes a little time to settle into, and in places it’s a challenging read but it’s most definitely rewarding. Greenbecker ultimately makes for a tough but touching hero as he juggles hard reality with delusions of grandeur.

The book’s cover is excellent, cleverly hinting at the important elements of the story.

 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-ebook/dp/B08774SJYN

https://www.amazon.com/Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-ebook/dp/B08774SJYN

 

Chess and Bridge

https://shop.chess.co.uk/The-Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-p/cb07811.htm

 

Author Bio

Ben Graff is a writer, journalist and Corporate Affairs professional. He is a regular contributor to Chess and Authors Publish. He is not a grandmaster but did draw with one once.

 Twitter

GreenBGambit

LinkedIn

Ben Graff

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Wedding Bells in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale

Merriment Bay series – Book 3

Change is in the air as wedding bells ring out in Merriment Bay

Cat’s determined to propose to Amias. Well, it is a leap year so it’s fine for women to do the asking, and besides, it took him eighteen years to tell her how he felt. She’s not going to wait for him to pop the question. All she needs to do is find the perfect time and place.

Kyra’s fallen for Francis Raine, who seems happy to flirt and exchange banter but hasn’t actually asked her out. Does he reciprocate her feelings, or is he this way with every girl he meets? There’s only one way to find out. She’ll ask him on a date … as soon as he returns to Merriment Bay.

Mary’s leaving Devon Villa after a lifetime spent in the house. She’s never lived alone so it’s both an exciting and a terrifying prospect. But change is good, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s time she tried a few other new things too.

The Devon women want to move on to the next chapters in their lives. And as Viola Devon used to say before she died, “The only one who can write your own life story as you want it, is you.” Although Viola’s didn’t work out too well. Will Cat, Kyra, and Mary have better luck with theirs?

 

My review

This is a fabulously feel-good book that brings the Merriment Bay series to a very satisfactory end, although it’s by no means totally predictable. The place seems to be awash with love and romance, but it’s not certain that all the very human, sometimes complicated, always fascinating relationships will work out.

The author’s trademark style of quiet wit, delightful setting, complex and convincing characters and imaginative plot is here again, together with her beautifully readable style of writing. The book sweeps you along with it in a wonderful wave of escapism, although real world issues bubble along in the background.

This is uplit at its best. Do treat yourself and discover a real treat of a story and a truly talented author.

 

Purchase Link – mybook.to/WeddingBellsinMB

Author bio

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

 

Social media links

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

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Death Remembered (A Sleuthing Club Mystery: Book 1) by K E Coburn

Summer 1952

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

Perfect for fans of Helena Dixon and T E Kinsey.

My review

What an utterly enjoyable book! I revelled in every word.

The 1950s don’t seem to get much of a look-in when it comes to literature, but it’s a fascinating and important period when the world was pulling itself back together after the physical and emotional devastation of the Second World War. In a way Charity embodies the spirit of the time: tragedy in the background but quietly determined to live life to the full and to contribute as much as possible to making the world a better place. However, that’s not easy for a rather sheltered young woman.

The setting of a 1950s’ village is wonderfully portrayed. It’s not as quiet and calm as it might seem on the surface, but there’s a strong community spirit and eccentricities are tolerated, but probably commented on in private! So when murder rears its ugly head, the ripples spread throughout the village. Charity finally feels she can do something exciting and useful. She seizes the chance to get to know the suave Henry Taylor even better and spend time with him. Is he the one for her? Charity hopes so.

A lot of thought as well as talent has gone into the creation of this debut novel. Mystery, romance, historical insights and wonderful characters fill the pages of this absorbing novel, the first in a series. And the cover is super, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to see what Charity gets up to next!

Purchase Links

UK –https://amzn.to/2LnXba7

US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Remembered-Sleuthing-Club-Mystery-ebook/dp/B088FR2J99/

 

Author bio

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on Twitter at @KeCoburn or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

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The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock: refreshing and entertaining

The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

 

My review

This is an uplifting, easy-to-read novel about self-discovery, family, community and seizing the day.

Amber and Josh are our main characters, both very likeable. They are both at something of a crossroads in their lives. Together they make a good team and are united in their wish to revitalise the ailing shop which is central to the village. People would lose much more than just somewhere to buy groceries and newspapers were it to disappear.

The authors creates a wonderful sense of place. She really understands what makes small communities tick, and how very vulnerable they actually are in a misguided age of ‘bigger is better’.

Refreshing, thought-provoking and entertaining, do read this lovely story.

 

Purchase Links – https://amzn.to/2VPGfzh

Author bio

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

 

 

Social media links

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlisonSherlock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alison.sherlock.73

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alison-sherlock

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Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland: uplit with prickles

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

 

My review

This is a truly uplifting novel, enjoyable at any time of year although it makes for a perfect beach or sun-lounger read.

There’s a lot more to the book than the joyous, sweet title suggests. Yes, just as we want from romantic novels, there’s happiness in store but there are also some prickly (figuratively and literally) issues to deal with along the way. Family relationships frequently aren’t easy, and our key characters Sam and Joshua have more than their fair share to deal with. However, whilst not able to solve all of them they still discover that blood’s thicker than water and that there’ also endless love and loyalty within families too.

I particularly enjoyed the inter-generational friendships, and the wildlife element which was handled in a practical, non-cutesy way. The author has an easy, friendly, sparkly style, a wonderful imagination and lovely light touches of humour.

All in all, this is a super story which I’m sure you’ll enjoy no end.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2xrmxAo

 

Author bio 

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

 

 

Social Media Links

Instagram –https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Own website – https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog – https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up – http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter