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Lost in Translation by Audrey Davis

Synopsis

Charlotte Egerton and family are off to Switzerland, after husband Dom bags a big-time job promotion.

But Charlotte isn’t exactly yodelling with delight at the prospect. Not since a chance discovery cast a shadow over her ten-year marriage. And navigating twisty Swiss roads and getting to grips with French only adds to her woes…

Following a bumpy encounter with an arrogant German, Charlotte is far from convinced the expat life is for her.

With doubts about Dom — and concerns for her best friend, Ruth — plaguing her mind, will Charlotte embrace the Swiss way of life, or are some mountains just too hard to conquer?

Embark on a journey filled with laughter, tears and lessons in love. Sometimes you just have to seize the day…

Praise for Audrey Davis

‘Warm, witty and highly entertaining.’

‘The author never fails to provide humour and pathos in equal measure.’

‘The story-telling is rich, intelligent and rewarding.’

 

My review

This is a thoroughly delightful novel that gives a realistic insight into the life of a trailing spouse. From the outside it might appear to be glamourous and enviable, but on the inside it’s a rather different matter of coping with a new culture and trying to fit in. There are added difficulties for Charlotte, too, with Dom’s wandering eye.

Charlotte is a likeable, genuine character. She’s not afraid to express her true feelings, apart from in front of the children. There are times when even the most gung-ho of spirits will quail, and Charlotte is certainly no pushover. She tackles her new life with as much enthusiasm as she can muster but can’t quite shake off the square peg in a round hole feeling.

There are lovely descriptions, fascinating insights into life in Switzerland, plenty of humour, touches of pathos and anger, and flowing writing that sweeps you into the story and keeps you enthralled all the way through. Very enjoyable.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Translation-romantic-comedy-starting-ebook/dp/B08P7WTQ9K/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Translation-romantic-comedy-starting-ebook/dp/B08P7WTQ9K/

 

Author bio

Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.

She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.

Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018. Her third novel, A Wish For Jinnie, was published in June.

Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. At least she did until recently…  She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.

 

Social media links

https://twitter.com/audbyname

https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks/

https://www.instagram.com/cowieaudrey/

https://audreydavisauthor.com

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Meant To Be by Louisa Leaman

Synopsis

After a spate of terrible boyfriends, Jess is sure she’s found her perfect man in dependable – but occasionally dull – Tim. But when her grandmother, tasks her with retrieving a family heirloom from a local auction she finds herself face to face with a charming stranger, Guy.

Guy has already bought her grandmother’s precious necklace and whilst Jess desperately tries to buy it back from him, he somehow convinces her to go out on a date instead.

Ridiculous. But Guy has the necklace and Jess’s grandmother’s health is declining rapidly. Jess has no choice but to indulge Guy and go on a date with – if only to get the necklace back.

Will saving the necklace risk disrupting Jess’s happily-ever-after? And will she care if it does?

 

My review

This is a fast-moving, interesting romance that revolves around a vintage butterfly necklace.

Jess makes for a lovely heroine. She’s strong-willed, yet also lacking in confidence due to boyfriend disasters and an accident that has left her walking with a stick. Aggie, her sister, is the perfect foil. They’re chalk and cheese but united by family loyalty and love.

The two main male characters of dependable boyfriend Tim and the charming, impulsive newcomer Guy – well, we’ve met them a hundred times before in other romcoms, but that doesn’t make them any less effective here. They fulfil their roles splendidly, and Guy is definitely multi-faceted and fascinating.

The opening setting of an auction room is excellent, a real eye-opener to those of us who’ve never ventured into one. The recurrent themes of art nouveau and jewellery are equally attention-grabbing, and really set the book apart.

The plot keeps a tight hold of the reader’s attention, so this is certainly a very entertaining book, as sparkly as some of the gems we come across within its pages.

 

About the author

Louisa Leaman was born, raised and now lives near Epping Forest. She studied Art History at Leeds University before becoming a teacher working with children with special needs. After winning the Times Education Supplement’s New Writer’s Award, she turned her hand to writing books for children. Louisa currently writes content for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but has also been published in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and The Times Educational Supplement. Her interest in the arts is often inspiration for her plots and her first book, The Perfect Dress, was inspired by the V&As large wedding dress collection and fulfils her dream of writing romantic fiction. When she isn’t busy writing or rearing her three lively children, she paints portraits, takes long walks and spends far too long browsing vintage clothing shops.

 

‘Meant To Be’ is published by Penguin.

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Let’s Talk About Cats. Conversations On Feline Behaviour by Anita Kelsey

Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour features 16 unique in-depth conversations with devoted feline experts, each chapter answering a question about our cats. An abundance of catty conversation points which provide many useful takeaways for cat owners to improve their own every-day connection with their cats.

This book, the first of its kind, presents the combined wisdom of experts from all over the world on the psychology, behaviour, diet and training of cats, in a relaxed and conversational style. Contributors include Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, and composer David Teie, whose ground-breaking album, Music for Cats, was released by the Universal Music Group.

Each illuminating chapter exudes a love for cats and a wealth of fascinating insights.

This book is packed with helpful advice, guidance and true stories from the author’s own professional experience of cat care topics, explaining the most important cat concepts, giving food for thought and expanding on all the most important issues and debates in the cat world.

 

My review

This book does exactly what it says on the cover: it talks about cats. It consists of a collection of interviews with a range of experts in the feline field. It’s absolutely fascinating!

It’s a book that will appeal predominantly to cat lovers, but anyone interested in animals in general is sure to find it a rewarding read.

Cats are looked at from all angles – from how similar their behaviour is to that of wild cats, to whether they like music, to how to communicate using both language and telepathy with them, to keeping them happy, well groomed, properly fed and cared for. It’s a positive wealth of information and gives you lots to think about.

Some of the interviewees are every bit as fascinating as the feline subject matter of this book.

I learnt an awful lot from ‘Let’s Talk About Cats’ and I’m sure our six cats, all waifs and strays collected over the years, will benefit from my new knowledge and understanding of these intelligent and complex creatures.

I now have a much better idea what our Treacle (pictured left) is thinking about… Gigi (pictured below), who loves to sit in the dustpan, may, however, be a tougher nut to crack!

Absolutely one to read.

 

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

 

If anyone would like the chance to win a free copy of Let’s Talk About Cats plus some fun cat toys from Purrs In Our Hearts and 4Cats then join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/letstalkaboutcats

There will be 5 fun cat photo competitions posted on 23rd Nov With the entries closing 4th Dec. Rules and how to enter on the page.

Author Bio –

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.

Her debut book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘ was published by John Blakes in 2018 and her second book Let’s Talk About Cats, Conversation On Feline Behaviour is due out November 28th 2020.

Visit http://www.catbehaviourist.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catbehaviourist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_behaviourist/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/catbehaviourist/

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A Real Royal Christmess by Linda West

A Real Royal Christmess

Jess is trying to win back her boyfriend, who dumped her for being boring. Jamie is trying to complete his father’s bucket list before he takes the Crown. Both of them are hiding who they truly are, and when the truth is discovered, it’s a real royal Christmess!

 

My review

There’s quite a strong element of fairy tale in this fun and festive novel where rather boring accountant meets dashing, secret royal. It has a winter holiday background so is very seasonal.

Our two main characters are chalk and cheese. Jamie is outgoing, caring, laid back and a little economical with the truth at times. Jess is earnest, a touch needy, and frankly exasperating in her attempts to win back her boyfriend who is so not worth it! She takes a while to warm to. However, we do ultimately care what happens to her. Her friend Molly is altogether more feisty and engaging, and she plays an important part in the story.

It’s an entertaining, quirky story and makes for a fairly quick read. It’ll while a winter’s evening very enjoyably.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KTMFCK4

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KTMFCK4

Author Bio

Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting “Christmas Kisses and Cookies.” It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers’ ‘special’ recipe book.

Linda was the owner of Mayberry – a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cosy mystery and humour genre. With – Death by Crockpot – the first in her newest series, Linda takes her favourite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/Morningmayan

http://www.morningmayan.com/

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Quickie review: Ingredients by George Zaidan

Blurb

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. George Zaidan reveals what will kill you, what won’t, and why—explained with high-octane hilarity, hysterical hijinks, and other things that don’t begin with the letter H.

Ingredients offers the perspective of a chemist on the stuff we eat, drink, inhale, and smear on ourselves. Apart from the burning question of whether you should eat that Cheeto, Zaidan explores a range of topics. Here’s a helpful guide:

Stuff in this book:
– How bad is processed food? How sure are we?
– Is sunscreen safe? Should you use it?
– Is coffee good or bad for you?
– What’s your disease horoscope?
– What is that public pool smell made of?
– What happens when you overdose on fentanyl in the sun?
– What do cassava plants and Soviet spies have in common?
– When will you die?

Zaidan, an MIT-trained chemist who cohosted CNBC’s hit Make Me a Millionaire Inventor and wrote and voiced several TED-Ed viral videos, makes chemistry more fun than Hogwarts as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients sold to us every day. Sugar, spinach, formaldehyde, cyanide, the ingredients of life and death, and how we know if something is good or bad for us—as well as the genius of aphids and their butts—are all discussed in exquisite detail at breakneck speed.

My review

This book is absolutely fascinating, and written in such an enjoyable way. Think mad professor, eccentric genius, and that’s the author, and I mean that as a massive compliment. He brings such life and fun to a rather serious subject.

We cover a huge variety of ingredients in the three parts of this mine of information. The first part focusses on processed food, plants and microbes. Part Two is intriguingly named ‘how bad is bad’ and weighs up certainty versus uncertainty, and Part Three, Should you eat that Cheese Puff or not, takes a level-headed but joyous look at the alleged evils of many familiar items, edible and otherwise. It finishes with the chapter ‘So what do I do’?’
I’ll tell you what to do – read this book and you’ll come away much better informed and more able to assess for yourself all the food warnings and/or enthusiastic promotions that bombard us practically all the time.
And you’ll know what some of the 950+ chemicals in roasted coffee are.

Writing this review – rather longer after reading the book than intended – has reminded me of exactly how informative and entertaining it was. I’m going to have to read it again now.
I hope we’ll see more from this author.

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Quickie review: Murder in the Christmas Tree Lot by Judith Gonda

Blurb

Landscape architect Tory Benning returns in a holiday mystery tied up with a bow!

Still struggling with the death of her husband, Tory Benning is doing her best to get into the festive spirit of the holiday season, but when her landscaping company’s email is hacked and there’s a break-in at the office, it’s enough to make her see red. And then the unthinkable happens, when the owner of a specialty food truck is brutally slain at the company’s Christmas tree lot, and Tory finds herself mired in murder once again.

With a long list of suspects—including an untold number of revelers disguised in Santa suits, seasonal employees handling tree sales, and even a vengeful jilted suitor—the police investigation grinds along slowly and methodically. But as Tory begins piecing together clues on her own, she finds she’s the target of a menacing stalker who may be out to do more than just scare her. Refusing to be intimidated, Tory vows to nab the culprit, even if it means that catching a Christmas killer has become her lot in life . . .

 

My review

A thoroughly enjoyable festive cosy with a strong and likeable heroine. Unlike many amateur sleuths, who tend towards the ditzy, Tory is understated, calm and gracious.

The plot is clever and intriguing, with plenty of seasonal overtones. Setting is well constructed, and you get a very strong sense of community. People pull together here – apart from when they’re bumping each other off, of course! The author gets the balance just right – we get glimpses of enough people to show this is a small town but we don’t get swamped by a sea of names.

Throughout Tory is continuing to come to terms with the loss of her husband, and this adds an extra layer to the story.

There’s excitement, tension, friendship, loyalty and courage. A wonderful read.

 

Kindle book available at all Amazon stores.

Published by Beyond the Page Publishing.

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Murder at the Gorge by Frances Evesham

Synopsis

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

 

My review

This is an enjoyable, absorbing read, very much character-driven but with a strong sense of setting and a plot that’s complex and clever. You need to keep your wits about you because there’s a lot more happening than you might think. Murder at the Gorge is a deceptively simple.

Max and Libby are both very likeable characters, both empathetic and sympathetic. They make a good team with a variety of strengths between them. However, Stella’s resurfacing – she’s Max’s ex-wife – threatens to throw a very big spanner into their smooth-working machinery.

There’s a good cast of supporting actors, with plenty of action to interest the reader all the way through. It’s well written, and makes for a rewarding read.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3cnJN1F

Author bio

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder?fictional only.

 

 

Social Media Links

http://facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

http://twitter.com/FrancesEvesham

http://instagram.com/francesevesham

http://bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham

Newsletter sign up: https://bit.ly/FrancesEveshamNewsletter

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Quickie review: The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Synopsis

Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War—and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.

My review

In a nutshell, the best book I’ve read this year – and I’ve read a lot of books. Possibly the best book in several years!
If you’re expecting, despite the title, a cosy mystery with a feeble old dear as the main character, think again! This mystery takes on international dimensions and involves real, modern threats. Mrs Pollifax certainly starts her volunteer work with the CIA in at the deep end!
Everything’s pretty much perfect about this book – a delightfully likeable heroine, who’s more of an anti-heroine until push comes to shove, quirkiness grounded in brutal reality, the right combination of lucky coincidences and thwarted plans in the exciting action, and detailed, lively background..
The characterisations throughout are wonderful, the settings dramatic, and frequently terrifying, and the plot is clever with sheer brilliance thrown in here and there for good measure.
I literally couldn’t stop reading this book once I’d started. I was hooked from the start.
I can’t wait for Mrs P’s second adventure!

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Quickie book review: Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron

Synopsis

Shell Smith is a popular, larger than life make-up artist working in the beauty department at Duke & Sons, a beautiful but old-fashioned family-owned department store in her home city. While business is booming on Shell’s counter, the rest of the store is threatened with closure unless their Christmas sales take a dramatic upswing. Old Mr Duke’s grandson, Callum, has come up with a creative way to get some extra income: unbeknownst to Mr Duke Sr, a production company is using the photogenic store as a location for its next big Christmas romcom, filming at night while the store is closed. When Shell is let in on the secret, she discovers there might be more to Mr Duke Jr than sharp suits – but when her old crush Nick moves back home, life starts to mimic the romcom’s storyline. With Christmas Eve just around the corner, Shell will find herself in a race against time to save her job, save the department store and save herself from heartbreak.

 

Review

This is a charming festive read, with a touch of old-fashionedness about it, which is meant as a compliment. The nostalgic element comes from it being set in a department store, most of which are making their valiant last stand their days. Also, there’s decency and loyalty, on the whole, which are good old fashioned values so sadly lacking in modern (political) life.
The characters are fascinating, especially our heroine, but eveyone has a slightly eccentric role to play in keeping us entertained.
There’s lots to chuckle at, and it’s certainly a seasonal tale, so a super read in the run-up to Christmas.

Kindle edition £2.99

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The Beach Party Mystery by Peter Bartram

Synopsis

Brighton is about to host its most exciting beach party ever – with the world’s biggest name in rock music headlining the show. It seems a world away from the work of Evening Chronicle crime reporter Colin Crampton. But that’s before fraudster Claude Winterbottom is beaten to death.

As Colin investigates the crime, he finds there are too many suspects. Like Manfred Crouchpenny, the fattest loan shark in the world. Or Jeremiah Clarke, leader of a band of purity campaigners. And who is the mystery woman who hides behind the pseudonym Astraea?

The climax explodes on a pirate radio ship moored off the British coast. There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and feisty girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith race against time to save countless lives at the beach party.

 

My review

This is a lively, thoroughly entertaining mystery set in the 1960s and centring on a pirate radio ship Seabreeze. That’s a unique setting that immediately adds an extra sparkle of interest. (I did a bit of research and discovered that, despite internet radio being such a thing these days, there are still a few pirate stations illegally hopping onto FM. Good to know!) The three characters most closely involved with the radio station – Perry, Charles and Zena – all appear to embrace the lifestyle of turning-your-back-on-mainstream that you’d associate with such people. And yet all is not as it seems.

The action gets going for amateur sleuth Colin with the discovery of a dead body. He’s also, and principally, a journalist so from the start his occupational skills are on display. He’s sharp, cunning (always wanting to be first on a scene ahead of the rival papers calls for that) and can see connections before others. His even temperament and general unassumingness make him a likeable and reliable hero for this story, and all the others in the series.

The era is wonderfully portrayed in every detail. For journalists it was a time of always knowing where the nearest phone box was, and hoping it worked. It’s good to revisit a time before mobile phones. There’s a definite feeling of people living on their wits and being more resourceful. Today that’s been swamped by instant access to everything.

There’s a host of fascinating characters, good and bad but mainly bad, to rub shoulders with along the way. Their lives entangle, and a compelling and enjoyable (for the reader) mystery emerges that I guarantee will keep you turning the pages, either physically or electronically.

 

Book details

  • Paperback : 282 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 979-8689870687
  • Publisher : Independently published (28 Sept. 2020)
  • Product dimensions : 13.97 x 1.8 x 21.59 cm
  • Language: : English

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beach-Party-Mystery-Chronicle-adventure/dp/B08KBMLGKR

 

 About the author

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from www.colincrampton.com.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Follow Peter on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/peterbartramauthor.

Twitter @PeterFBartram