Synopsis

Welcome to the worst day of Chef Charlie Sheridan’s life, the day he’s about to lose his two great loves: his childhood sweetheart, Lulu, and the legendary Brighton hotel his grandfather, Franco Sheridan, opened in 1973.

This is the story of the Belle Hotel, one that spans the course of four decades – from the training of a young chef in the 1970s and 80s, through the hedonistic 90s, up to the credit crunch of the noughties – and leads us right back to Charlie’s present-day suffering.

In this bittersweet and salty tale, our two Michelin star-crossed lovers navigate their seaside hangout for actors, artists and rock stars; the lure of the great restaurants of London; and the devastating effects of three generations of family secrets.

My review
As someone who works in the hospitality trade, I appreciated the realistic (if occasionally tongue in cheek) view of the industry. Too often in literature it’s portrayed as all mainly being about icing cupcakes and dealing with wonderfully behaved guests. If only. As we see in this book, an awful lot goes on behind the scenes in a busy hotel, such as endless work, constant juggling to avoid the latest looming financial crisis, the need to keep abreast of all the latest relevant ideas and developments and building that customer base. For many people it will be quite an eye-opener, and it’s all very entertainingly done.
There’s lots of variety in how the story is set out – sometimes with a time and the relevant character’s name to head a section, sometimes as more straightforward narration, and there are letters, recipes and receipts too along the way. This keeps everything as fresh and bubbly as the author’s writing. Real events and people are woven into the fictional action, which definitely catches the tone of the various eras in which this action takes place, which is 1973 onwards. Trust me, I’ve lived through those times!
Charlie makes for a sympathetic hero, pretty much from the word go. We immediately start hoping he’ll find that £10,000 he needs, although it seems a tall order. We quickly realise Charlie is someone who won’t give up on his dreams and is someone to admire. We follow both his and his family’s fortunes in the course of the novel.
It’s definitely different, extremely enjoyable and absolutely to be recommended.

About the author

Craig Melvin holds an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and works as a restaurant consultant in London and Brighton. He was mentored by Albert Roux at catering college and has worked in the hotel industry ever since.

 

Buy the book here.

 

 

Time to get Christmassy! I’m delighted to be kicking off Advent by taking part in the blitz for this lovely festive story.

Him With The Beard

Do you remember that moment you stopped believing in Santa Claus?

When nine-year-old Mille suddenly no longer believes in Santa Claus, it turns the house upside down.

Her mother, Stella, is in a pickle as the hunt to find Santa Claus unearths some family secrets.

Christmas is at risk!

And there’s only one person who can save it.

 

My review

This is a lively and lovey festive novella. Our heroine is mum Stella, office mouse for most of the year but every December coming out of her shell and into her own as a Christmas elf helping out at Santa’s grotto. This year, though, she goes even further…

Every household needs a Stella at Christmas! What a kind and energetic and total Christmas-crazy person she is, galvanising everyone around her into the Christmas spirit. But not daughter Mille this year. She’s decided Santa doesn’t exist, and that’s that. She sees through all her mother’s efforts to persuade her he’s real. And worse, her cynicism begins to eat into Stella’s beliefs and enthusiasm too. Husband Kalle tries to keep everyone happy and upbeat but there’s a lot of tension this Christmas. Has the season of goodwill been ruined for ever now that him with the beard no longer holds sway?

This is a funny and clever story. It touches on so many key Christmas issues – Santa of course, family love and gatherings, tradition and memories. Christmas is a time that really brings back moments from the past – our childhood Christmases, recollections of time with grandparents or parents or other relatives now passed away, that magical  belief in Santa. It’s true that once our children stop believing in Santa, Christmas can lose a good chunk of its charm and raison d’être. But, if like Stella, Kalle and Mille, we look beyond the man in red and all the consumerism we can see that the Christmas values are still there and are to be cherished. Santa comes in many different forms.

I adored the atmosphere of this novella, which is set in Denmark. I was lucky enough to experience the run-up to a Danish Christmas many years ago when my husband worked there temporarily. I had the famous and delicious rice porridge and a glass or two of Christmas aquavit, and came home with loads of beautiful wooden and paper Christmas decorations that still adorn the house and tree even though they’re all thirty years old now!

Do read this gorgeous little story. It’ll truly get you into a Christmassy mood but also make you think about what this rather crazy season is actually all about.

 

Purchase  Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/him-with-the-beard

Itunes UK – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/isbn9788797086216

Itunes US – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9788797086216

 

Author bio

Pernille was born in 1988 and loves that she was born in the decade with the tallest hair, the most colourful clothes, and the best music.

Her imagination never stands still, and it’s often expressed in words and pictures.

She wrote her first story when she was six years old. It was about the cat she unfortunately never got but wished for more than anything.

She loves autumn and Christmas and believes in elves.

From day to day she is a knight in training, an animator, and a secret agent – she has saved the world a few times by now.

She’s also a professional daydreamer.

She thinks the recipe for a good book is the same as the one for having a good life – a sense of kinship, humour, love, and that one thing that gives you a daily smile.

Vestercity is a fictional city based on her upbringing near the city of Herning in Denmark.

 

Social Media Links –

twitter: https://twitter.com/Pernille56

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PernilleMeldgaardPedersenAuthor

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

website: https://pernillemeldgaardpedersenuk.blogspot.com/

 

And look, there’s a giveaway!

Giveaway

Win A Cosy Christmas Pack – with One Jim Shore Santa Claus Ornament, Santa Claus Marshmallows, A Chocolate Advent Calendar, A Pretty Christmas Storage Box and finally, A Signed Copy of my book Him With The Beard.

Open internationally.

link to giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2ed2358c3/

 

Synopsis

Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded.

The next day, Jane died in her husband’s arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.

When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan’s house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.

Fascinated by Megan’s case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.

A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery.

 

My review

A Hollow Sky is a thoughtful and thought-provoking mystery with a definitely unsettling undercurrent of menace. It unrolls slowly to begin with, but as it gains momentum it really begins to sweep you along as the tension mounts. This is the result of excellent, careful writing.

As well as the mystery involving comatose Megan and a cast of scarily obdurate and arrogant people adhering to somewhat extreme religious beliefs, there is a personal interest story line involving Alex  Ripley, who is an intriguing and complex character. She’s certainly courageous and determined and I wouldn’t want her on my trail!

The setting in the close-knit village is almost claustrophobic, exactly as the author intends. I mentioned that feeling of menace earlier, and it lurks. stagnating in every corner. Alex comes in like a breath of fresh air, but will she be enough to recharge the oppressive atmosphere and chase the evil away?

In summary, an excellent, absorbing, slightly disconcerting mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat right to the end.

The book is the second in a series but works fine as a standalone, and is an enticing introduction to this author.

 

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

US – https://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

Direct from Red Dog Presshttps://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

 

Author Bio

Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

Social Media Links –  

www.facebook.com/mseancoleman.author

www.twitter.com/mseancoleman

Giveaway to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494165/

 

Synopsis

Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams.

Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her wonder if husband Mark would cheat on her.

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?

 

My review

This is such a delightful book. There is so much happening – a mother dying early, a miscarriage, alcoholism, postnatal depression, an extra-marital relationship. But don’t panic! If that makes this book sound heavy and pretentious, it absolutely isn’t. These various problems are there but handled gently and subtly woven into the plot, rather than shoved in the reader’s face. It adds so much richness to what’s already a beautifully written and touching story.

It’s a book largely about the excuses we make for ourselves and our loved ones when we know that either we or they are not behaving the way they should. ‘My sister’s the one with all the free time since she’s unemployed so she can look after Mum on her own.’ ‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I know I shouldn’t but I deserve another drink.’ ‘Where’s the harm in flirting with another woman – my wife’s so busy with the new baby.’  ‘I can’t face doing that today because I’m tired.’ And so on. We’ve all convinced ourselves we’re doing the right thing when we know we’re not, and the characters in the novel are no different.

It’s also about family relationships, those all-pervasive bonds that support yet can also shackle us. Erin and Heather spar and argue, like so many sisters, but they love each other deeply. Their brother Fraser is well-meaning and kind, but now much help. Families have their ups and downs, and we some storms being weathered in the novel until a balance is found.

Our heroine, Erin, is sweet and sympathetic, but not a pushover by any means. She shows strength and resolve, and we see her blossom in the novel. The hero, Jackson, is exactly the sort of man we want him to be, a foil to the unpleasant Damien who’s presence is felt throughout.

So much to enjoy and relish in this touching story.

 

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Author Bio

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.

Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone

Chrissie enjoys tweeting to readers on @ChrissieBeee
Her instagram account is chrissie_bradshaw_author
Her blog is newhenontheblog.com
and she has a Chrissie Bradshaw author page on Facebook.
She would love to hear from readers

 

And hooray, there’s a giveaway!

A giveaway. A read, a cuppa and a treat.

Win a Paperback copy of ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’, limited edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s  novels and  a box of fresh macarons delivered from ‘Urban Cakehouse’.  (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494162/

 

Follow the rest of the tour:

 

The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry, but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

 

My review

This is a carefully written police procedural with a strong sense of place. London oozes out of every sentence and is created in detailed imagery. It’s not always pleasant but cities have their blemishes. There’s also the added dimension of mental health issues in the form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is dealt with sensitively although we see the devastating consequences it can have in this novel.

The author gets inside his characters’ skins. We see how and why they annoy each other, why they’re attracted to people they know they shouldn’t be, how they’re crippled by grief, driven by the desire for justice, as the case may be. The human interest level is always there, which sometimes isn’t the case in procedurals where it’s all about unmasking the villain. The author admits to being a ‘people watcher’ and that comes through very clearly. He creates real people, warts and all.

The plot’s an interesting one, particularly with the element of DID as part of its complexity, and it’s particularly clever how we have three dead bodies, yet indisputably four victims. A nice touch.

The Fourth Victim is an absorbing novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy solving crimes alongside fascinating protagonists.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Victim-John-Mead/dp/1912575361/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

Author bio

Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estates ever built, I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. However, I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

 

Social Media Links 

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

Follow the tour:

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this exciting thriller today. So grab your passport and a bulletproof vest and join me for a ride across Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Synopsis

The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.

 

My review

With many thrillers, the emphasis is all the action which leaves us with cardboard cut-outs as characters, and rather bare writing. However, that’s not the case at all with this super thriller. Everyone we meet is a fully developed and convincing person, and some of the descriptive imagery in this book is searingly apt and, at times, beautiful.

Sean Richardson is a tough, scarred man but he’s still apprehensive when dealing with some of the ruthless people  he has to. He’s not gung-ho. He’s doing what he’s doing because it’s the right thin to do but he’s aware how dangerous and probably foolhardy it all is.

Melissa Morgan, an investigative journalist who crosses paths with Sean due to their connections with the elusive Alfie Chapman, is another strong character, but she has her weaknesses too. When they combine forces they make quite a team.

Alfie, the would-be mole, is a complex person too. He’s going through mental torture, and isn’t at all the sort of selfish, arrogant person we might consider a whistle-blower to be.

The action is fast-paced, just as it should be, and the plot’s extremely clever, with twists and turns you definitely don’t see coming. Thoroughly absorbing.

There’s a handy glossary at the back so that you’re not puzzled as to what terms such as ‘Great Game’ and ‘Line N’ might mean.

In summary, this is a very accomplished novel. The political and physical background to the action has obviously painstakingly researched, and the author has created some fascinating characters and scenarios for us to relish.

Purchase  Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW

Author Bio –

Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British
Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He
served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence
officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance
disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal
Engineers.

His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and
adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering
and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in.
He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical
Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee
of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.

He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.

The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on
his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it
the spring of 2019.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/FailsafeQuery

https://www.facebook.com/thefailsafequery/

https://www.michaeljenkins.org/

 

Giveaway – Win 5 x PB copies of The Failsafe Query & a spy linkage map (unframed) (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494155/

 

Do visit the other ports of call on the book tour:

 

BLURB:

Tall, dark and handsome, Tom is out to have some fun. Kaisa doesn’t think she’ll ever fall in love again. But when they meet on the snow-capped Swedish Alps, sparks fly.

With his beloved mother passed, Tom is forced to leave his two teenage sons in Milan with his ex and is looking forward to an uncomplicated Christmas skiing in the Swedish Alps.

With her daughter Rosa away backpacking in the Far East, Kaisa decides to take a rare winter break over the holidays with her best friend Tuuli. Now in her late fifties, Kaisa doesn’t think she’ll ever fall in love again. But when she sees Tom after some thirty years, her heart begins to beat a little faster. Kaisa knows, however, an affair with Tom will go nowhere. Years ago, they had a disastrous date, which neither of them wishes to revisit.

Yet, on the slopes and in the apres-ski bars Tom showers Kaisa with his attentions and she finds she cannot resist his intense eyes and passionate kisses.

Can Kaisa trust this European Casanova, and her own sudden infatuation?

The Christmas Heart is a seasonal story of grown-up love set in the beautiful Swedish Alps. It’s the final book in the acclaimed Nordic Heart series, but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

Get this feel-good Nordic holiday romance today!

 

My review

This is a wonderfully Christmassy book and a touching love story. The setting in Finland in the deep snow is beautifully festive, with people skiing and then enjoying warm wine in the evenings in the cosy bars and restaurants.

The cover gets you into the mood beautifully. There’s obviously going to be romance with that loving couple, and there are hints of hygge happiness with the knitted hats and Christmas decorations. Or so I thought until I did some research. Hygge isn’t a Finnish thing: they go for the more down-to-earth pantsdrunk, which is relaxing by drinking alcohol in your undies! However, a warm, enticing Nordic atmosphere is created. All the little details of life in Finland that you find in this book are fascinating.

Our characters are mature, in their fifties and early sixties, making this a work of boomerlit, if you want to give it a label, but it will appeal to younger readers just as well. However, I think the elements of the story that deal with past regrets and loss will resonate more strongly with those of us with a few more years under our belts. Tom and Kaisa were attracted to each other at university, but never acted on that. They met briefly later and had a short fling, but went separate ways again. But now they’ve been set up. Tulla and Ricky, their best friends, have arranged this skiing holiday, not mentioning to either Tom or Kaisa that the other would be there.

Despite herself, Kaisa is instantly attracted to Tom again, but she’s wary. He was a ‘Rich Boy’ back in uni days, and still is, somewhat entitled and extravagant. Is that really the sort of person she wants to be with? And she discovers after a passionate night with him that he has a younger girlfriend. What a mess she’s got herself into. Never again.

But you should never say never…

Tom takes a little longer for the reader to warm to. He’s recently suffered death in the family, and so that wins our sympathy, but like with Kaisa, he has to work to win our affection. He’s a nice guy but, as he admits, he’s no saint, so we’re all going to have to get to know the real him to make our final judgement.

The author tells an engaging story of attraction, stubbornness, misunderstandings and happiness. It’s a gentle story but that’s not to say it’s without emotional tensions, and highs and lows. There’s a nasty accident too, and whilst the outcome of that has long-term consequences, they aren’t necessarily bad…

But I mustn’t give too much away! You must read this atmospheric, sweet yet powerful short novel for yourselves. You’ll be so glad you did! And who can resist the work of someone who confesses to dancing to Abba in secret. I mean, don’t we all?

  • Format:Kindle Edition
  • File Size:3959 KB
  • Print Length:134 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:Newhurst Press (25 Oct. 2018)

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Heart-feel-good-holiday-romance-ebook/dp/B07HRMQ3PZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538763247&sr=1-1&keywords=the+christmas+heart+helena+halme

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A prize-winning author, Helena Halme writes contemporary fiction with a hint of both Nordic Noir and romance. She’s a former BBC journalist, bookseller and magazine editor. Originally from Finland where she gained an MSc in Marketing, she also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes in English.
Helena acts as Nordic Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and helps other writers publish and market their books.
Helena has published seven fiction titles, including The English Heart, a best-selling Nordic romance, which won an Awesome Indies badge on publication. The bittersweet 1980s love story between a Finnish student and a British Navy officer is now a series, including a prequel novella, The Young Heart, the sequels The Faithful HeartThe Good Heart and Helena’s latest title, The True Heart, book four in The Nordic Heart Series. Helena has also published a non-fiction title, Write Your Story: Turn Your Life into Fiction in 10 Easy Steps.

Helena is addicted to Nordic Noir and dances to Abba songs when nobody’s watching.

Website: http://www.helenahalme.com/
Twitter :
@helenahalme
Author page on
Facebook
Instagram
@helenahalme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

A quiet English village where nothing ever happens.   Until…..

After her boyfriend runs out on her with the contents of their joint bank account, Kat Latcham has no choice but to return to the tiny Somerset village of Much Winchmoor where she grew up.  A place, she reckons, that is not so much sleepy as comatose and she longs for something to happen to lessen the boredom of living with her parents.

But when she and her childhood friend, Will Manning, discover a body and Will’s father, John, is arrested for the murder, Kat suddenly realises that she should have heeded the saying “Be careful what you wish for”.

Much Winchmoor is a hotbed of gossip and everyone is convinced John Manning is guilty.  Only Kat and Will believe he’s innocent.  When there’s a second murder Kat is sure she knows the identity of the murderer – and set out to prove it.  But in doing so she almost becomes the murderer’s third victim.

Readers of Sue Grafton might enjoy the Much Winchmoor series of cosy murder mysteries spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.


My review

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable cosy with an added splash of romance – definitely my favourite combination in a book! Kat makes for a lively and very likeable heroine. We really feel for her, forced to return to the mothership for a while and, in so doing, having to relinquish some of her independence. It also means she’ll run into a few people she’d far rather avoid…

Kat sets to and makes the best of things. She helps her mum in her hair salon at first, but then, thankfully for her sanity, gets another job helping out in the local pub. This is what puts her into close contact with what turn out to be some rather dangerous people.

We get a nice portrait of village life in the novel, and the way that everyone knows everyone else, the petty and more serious rivalries, the different personalities. It mays seem stereotypical to have a village busybody, but if you’ve ever lived in a rural setting then you’ll know these people are real! Folk really do talk about each other and it’s a major source of interest what neighbours get up to. Kat uses this knowledge as she begins her hunt for the real killer out there. She’s courageous, but a bit foolhardy at times, but then she’s only human and she’s the sort of person who’ll always give her all.

Paula Williams has a sharp eye for detail, and especially quirks. Her characters all come with foibles and that’s what makes them so real and interesting. The settings are atmospheric, from the bustling, gossipy hair salon to the cosy pub to the strained parish council meetings.

Loads to enjoy in this impressive start of a series.

 

Purchase Linkmybook.to/murderservedcold

About the author 

Paula Williams is living her dream.  She has written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it is only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but also now writes novels.  A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always sprinkled with humour and spiced with a touch of romance.

She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum, and has a blog at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com.  Her Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author . And she tweets at @paulawilliams44.

Not only that, but when she’s not writing, she’s either tutoring, leading writing workshops or giving talks on writing at writing festivals and conferences and to organised groups.  She’s appeared several times on local radio – in fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

But, as with the best of dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook.   https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author

Blog. paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com

Twitter. @paulawilliams44

Synopsis

Is Max Fabien the loyal secretary and faithful lover of the marquis de Miremont? Or a handsome trickster who regards lying as an accomplishment and any sexual quarry as fair game?

Miremont’s heart tells him one thing, his jealousy another. But his obsessive passion for Max must remain a dark secret. And, when his estranged wife brings their eighteen- year-old daughter to Paris to make her debut, the strain begins to tell.

The once-calm atmosphere of the Hôtel de Miremont swirls with gossip, mistrust and danger and Miremont is faced with an impossible choice.

Meanwhile the secrets of Max’ past continue to haunt him. Has the time has come for him to claim his not-so-rightful destiny?

That Deplorable Boy is the second part the Miremont series, charting the course of a gay love affair between an aristocrat and a former servant in Belle Époque France. Rich in period detail and set in the grand châteaux of Paris and Burgundy, the novels explore the suffocating social codes of the time and the conflicts and perils they bring for those who must live outside them.

 

My review

If you’ve read the first book in this series, The Second Footman, you’ll know what to expect: complex characters, rich imagery and a tale that’s intriguing as well as full of intrigue. And if you haven’t, you’ll soon work out for yourself that Jasper Barry is a fabulous novelist who drags you through many different emotions as you read. This novel works as a standalone since you soon pick up who’s who and what’s what, but it’s a richer read if you’ve read the first novel.

Max and Arnaud enjoy a rather one-sided relationship, but Max never promised loyalty or exclusivity. He puts Arnaud through torture as the older man wants to believe that Max wouldn’t cheat on him, although he knows deep down that he would. He’s on an emotional rollercoaster, exploding with rage at Max, and then full of remorse for acting that way. He’s quite justified, as he’s being given the runaround. But, is the last laugh on Arnaud because for all that Max tells himself he can take the older man or leave him, it’s not actually that simple whenever he tries to leave.

Max isn’t the only one giving Arnaud a hard time. His estranged wife Aline swoops so that their youngest daughter Juliette can have her season in Paris. She proceeds to trample all over Arnaud, gradually getting her way in almost everything. She fills the house with her awful friends, fires faithful servants regularly and spends her husband’s money like water. She begins to monopolise Max too.

Then new troubles surface for Max too that preoccupy him and then take him away from the Miremont home, and shadows from his dark past loom tall over him. He faces some difficult choices.

Max is as absorbing as ever. He’s our hero but he’s a very heroic one. He’s self-centred, self-promoting and will always put his own best interests first. That deplorable boy. But, aptly in his case, deplorable rhymes with adorable. He’s flawed but empathetic, exasperating but fascinating, and the reader will love him one moment but be quite shocked the next. However, for every weakness he shows he has a redeeming feature. He’s a truly wonderful, challenging character.

This novel is very much about jealousy and choices. Arnaud is jealous of Max, who in turn is jealous of Aline’s power over Arnaud, and also Juliette’s. Aline is jealous of her husband’s prestige, and so challenges him when she can. Arnaud is jealous of Max’s friends, and some of them are jealous of each other, and it becomes quite a web. Past and present choices are seen to have long-lasting and drastic consequences for several of the characters we meet.

This novel is another rich tapestry of high society life in France. It appears so elegant and fine on the surface but that’s only a thin veneer over ugliness, hypocrisy and sordidness.

I could go on forever about this totally enthralling novel but I won’t. Far better you start reading it for yourselves than read any more from me!

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Author Bio –

 

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in

advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three

obstreperous cats.

Social Media Links –

http://jasperbarry.co.uk

https://twitter.com/jasperbarry2?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/jasper.barry.1

 

Do follow the rest of the tour:

 

Homicide in Herne Hill

Beth Haldane, SE21’s premier – and only – single mum amateur sleuth, is really pleased to find a new friend at the school gates, in the shape of irrepressibly bouncy Nina. As well as a way with words, Nina has a puzzle she wants Beth to solve, centred on the solicitor’s office where Nina works in Herne Hill.

But as the mystery thickens, threatening to drag in not just Nina and her boss, but the yummy mummies of Dulwich, too, Beth is about to find out just how far some people will go to keep up appearances.

Join Beth in this fourth instalment in the London Murder Mystery series for her toughest case yet.

 

My review

I have to admit that I’d expected a rather darker mystery from the cover, but this is a very lively and subtly amusing novel. It’s one in a series but you don’t need to have read the preceding books, although that would be the ideal scenario. You get enough info to work out who’s who and what’s what, and can pick up on the running themes.

The writing in this cosy is wonderful. You’re riveted from the word go by the author’s light, engaging style, her sense of comedy and her ability to tell a really good story with excitement, tension, gung-honess, what-am-I-doingness, and plenty of other emotional highs and lows.

There’s a lot of wry humour and merciless character portrayals. Author Alice Castle has a sharp and unforgiving eye when it comes to people’s foibles and idiosyncrasies. We thus meet a fabulous cast of complex characters, many of them remarkably like people we’ve probably come across – the snob, the bubbly person, the stand-offish one, and so one.

Beth is quite a whirlwind, even though she feels that the irrepressible Nina leaves her standing. Beth is energetic and tenacious (although not in her official job), and courageous. She knows she’ll get into trouble from her policeman boyfriend Harry, but she can’t help rushing in where angels fear to dread. This isn’t always sensible, but Beth is impetuous once she’s got her teeth into a mystery.

So in summary, a novel that’s polished to a high shine with a sympathetic, very human heroine and which will keep you totally entertained from start to finish.

 

Purchase Link  – myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GPGBSC6

Author Bio

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice grew up in south London and, after a brief stint in Brussels (where her first novel, Hot Chocolate, is set) she is back where she belongs, dreaming up adventures for her heroine, amateur detective and single mum Beth Haldane. Alice is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats. Find out more about her London Murder Mystery series on her website, www.alicecastleauthor.com. Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books and was #1 in the Amazon Satire/Detective charts in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. The Girl in the Gallery came out in December 2017 and the third in the series, Calamity in Camberwell, was published on 13th August 2018. Revenge on the Rye will follow in 2019, with more books in the pipeline.

Social Media Links – http://www.alicecastleauthor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy books: http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery.

myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich, myBook.to/GirlintheGallery, myBook.to/CiC myBook.to/homicideinhernehill

 

 Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Homicide in Herne Hill (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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