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A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy

A Messy Affair

The only way is murder…

 Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.

 

My review

This is a wonderfully enjoyable cosy mystery. Hungarian immigrant Lena is a likeable and very interesting character. Her situation as something of an outsider lends her sharper observation skills and she has a keen eye for the ridiculous that only someone not part of a certain society can clearly see.

There lots of humour as well as a riveting mystery to solve, set around the very modern topics of reality TV and online dating. We meet more of Lena’s relatives in this story (it’s the third in a series) and all the characters we encounter are fascinating in one way of another. There’s plenty of drama and suspense – never a dull moment. This author delights in delighting her reader with her imagination, tight plotting and top quality writing skills.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Messy-Affair-Lena-Szarka-Mysteries/dp/1472126394

US – https://www.amazon.com/Messy-Affair-Lena-Szarka-Mysteries/dp/1472126394

Author Bio – Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. She writes the Lena Szarka Mysteries, featuring a Hungarian cleaner as detective.
www.elizabethmundy.com

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ElizabethEMundy

www.elizabethmundy.com

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Chickenlandia Mystery by Daisy Pettles: just brilliant!

Synopsis

Pawpaw County, Indiana, is all atwitter about Ma and Peepaw Horton’s annual Chickenlandia Festival. The mood turns dark though when the Horton’s prize-winning rooster, Dewey, and his best laying hen, Ginger, vanish, leaving behind no clues except for a trail of tail feathers. Also missing: Gertie Wineagar, local sourpuss, and BBQ chicken cook-off queen. Odder still: the festival’s reigning chicken dance champion, Billy Bob Burris, is run down by a speeding pickup truck with suspicious out-of-state plates. Senior sleuths, and lifelong gal pals Ruby Jane Waskom and Veenie Goens suspect Hiram Krupsky, Pawpaw County’s self-proclaimed Chicken Wing King, of launching the crime spree as an attempt to sabotage the Horton’s free-range chicken ranch. The senior sleuths, who need a way to spy on Krupsky’s chicken empire, and search for clues, get an unexpected “in” when Hiram slips into his best leisure suit and commences to court Ruby Jane. Follow the Hoosier snoops as they attempt to sort the good eggs from the bad in this hilarious smalltown crime mystery.

 

 

My review

This is another book of lovable nonsense from our pair of senior sleuths Ruby Jane and Veenie. I use ‘nonsense’ in an admiring way in that it’s all larger than life, a little bit nuts and over the top, but with this pair of characters any less just wouldn’t cut it! It’s a fast-paced, laugh-aloud read packed with wit and clever writing. It’s wonderful entertainment from start to finish.
And it features chickens which, being something of a crazy bird lady, means it’s pretty much perfection.
The characters are all eccentric in one way or another, which makes them memorable and fascinating. It also reflects real life, even though there’s a touch of exaggeration. I mean, how many totally normal people do any of us know?
The plot is tight and exciting. A brilliant read.

Published by Hot Pants Press. Available at Amazon.

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The Cottage in a Cornish Cove by Cass Grafton

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove

A heart-warming tale of discovering all you never wanted is exactly what you needed.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by indifferent relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the quaint village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars are finally aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she finds herself living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, who will be there to hold her hand?

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in an uplifting series of romances from Cass Grafton. Get to know the locals, wallow in the quaintness of Polkerran, and fall in love with romance all over again.

Pre-order Links:

UK –

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083H2Q5V9

 

Publication Date: 11th February

 

Cass Grafton – Bio

An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.

 

Blogs

www.cassandragrafton.com

www.tabbycow.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/cassie.grafton

Twitter

@CassGrafton

Instagram
@cassgraftonauthor

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In the Heart of Windy Pines by Holly Tierney-Bedord

Synopsis

From the author of Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women comes a new novella featuring characters from Murder at Mistletoe Manor, Carnage at the Christmas Party, and The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club!

Klarinda Snow is the innkeeper of Mistletoe Manor in beautiful, remote, Windy Pines, Idaho, where she brings her unique brand of hospitality to the tiny mountain town.

When she finds her inn unexpectedly fully booked on a snowy Tuesday night in November, it brings back memories of a tragedy years before. Before she knows what hit her, she and her trusty team of employees (Myrtle, Pierre, and her new night manager, Josephine), have found themselves back at the task of solving another mystery at Mistletoe Manor!

While this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novella, if you plan to read the books in the Windy Pines Mystery series or The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, it’s highly recommended you read those first, as this book contains spoilers that could affect your ability to enjoy them.

My review
This is a quick and delightful read. The guests at Klarinda’s full-to-bursting hotel Mistletoe Manor get snowed in, and things take a turn for the mysterious. A familiar trope but one that it most certainly not stale when in the hands of this author.
We have a wonderful assembly of personalities that interact in good and bad ways. All very believable, and with emotional depth.
The plot is clever with enough tension to keep you riveted to the action. There’s complexity and cleverness in it and it makes for plenty of enjoyment.
There’s not just a mystery and a seasonal, wintry atmosphere, but also romance, which is a nice little extra!
The book is part of a series, but it works as a standalone although there’s more to gain from reading the whole series in order.

 

 

Purchase Links

About the author
Holly Tierney-Bedord lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the author of over twenty books including The Woman America Loves a Latte, The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, and Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women.
For more information or to subscribe to Holly’s newsletter, visit www.hollytierneybedord.com.

www.amazon.com/Holly-Tierney-Bedord/e/B00M3C9W3E
www.instagram.com/authorhollytierneybedord/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/6433388.Holly_Tierney_Bedord
www.bookbub.com/authors/holly-tierney-bedord
www.facebook.com/HollyRecommends/

Giveaway to Win a $5 Starbucks card (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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494322/

Giveaway to Win a complete collection of Holly Tierney-Bedord audiobooks (Open UK / US Only)
Only open to those who have a UK or US Amazon Audible Account.
Prize includes these audiobooks – https://www.audible.co.uk/search?keywords=holly+tierney-bedord&ref=
*Terms and Conditions –UK and US 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494323/

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Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield: festive franticness and fun!

 

Synopsis

Working for a department store where Christmas arrives in August, Eve prefers her own festivities to be low key with nothing more complicated than an oven ready turkey and frozen peas while she spends the day in her pyjamas. Unfortunately, this year her husband has invited his best friend to visit, the glamorous and sophisticated Abby, and Eve reluctantly decides that she needs to inject a little sparkle into their laid back and slightly shabby Christmas. So the celebrations are upgraded to include champagne and canapes along with homemade gravy and organic turkey and plans are made for a Christmas that looks as though it has emerged from the pages of a glossy magazine.
But even the best laid plans can go wrong and as Eve struggles with her mini Yorkshire puddings and an interfering cat, she is suddenly faced with an unexpected guest and an explosive secret that threatens to put her vision of a perfect Christmas in jeopardy.

My review

This is a delightful, funny novel but also acts as a cautionary tale about getting too would up about Christmas, and also the dangers of keeping up with the Joneses. It’s far better to be true to yourself and not put on an act. But that’s hard to stick to when the pressure’s on.

Eve is a fabulous character – warm, loving and loyal. Her daughter Alice is a lovely reminder that not all teens are moody and unhelpful!

There’s everything you expect from a family Christmas, that will never go as smoothly as hoped, and that’s even less likely when there’s an unexpected and generally unwelcome guest. This adds tension, misunderstandings and posturing. It becomes an emotional maelstrom!

The writing is deft and clever, and the novel is wonderfully entertaining and festive.

 Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Amazon US

Giveaway

Win a Paperback copy of Eve’s Christmas (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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

About the author

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

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Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

Synopsis
When life goes downhill… head to the snow-capped Alps for roaring fires, apres-ski and festive romance.
Lily Jackson loves Christmas. She also loves her childhood friend Jamie, but when her plan to kick-start their romance goes drastically wrong and her job gets her down, Lily decides it’s time to make changes. A job opens up in snowy Chamonix and egged on by her best friend Imogen, Lily decides to go for it.
As Lily settles in with the eccentric Devereux family at their gorgeous boutique ski hotel, she starts to confront her past. But when she meets handsome ski instructor Luc, who hates Christmas, Lily might have taken on more than she can handle.
Can Lily make a new life – with or without skis? And can she get Luc to see how truly romantic Christmas can be?
A heart-warming, feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Carole Matthews and Tilly Tennant.

My review
This is a fabulously festive story with skiing, snowy mountains and delicious food. We have two strong, interesting and attractive lead characters in Lily and Luc. The setting in Chamonix is beautifully described. You can feel the chill in the air and smell the scents and hear the sounds of a busy resort.
There’s added depth to the novel with the fact that it’s more than romance. Lily faces real fears and learns to overcome them, something that is never easy. She has to deal with a huge disappointment too, but she’s courageous, resourceful and determined. She develops before our eyes as the story progresses.
There’s lots that fun in the novel. Lily loves Christmas, but Luc doesn’t so there’s some interesting tension there. Luc is another very rounded and deep character. He’s charming, patient and he too develops along the way.
The pace is steady and the plot captivating, tantalising and ultimately very satisfying.
This is a super Christmassy, uplifting and romantic book to while away the hours until Father Christmas comes down your chimney.

Purchase link

Author bio
Sasha Wagstaff learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Sasha started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer. She also writes under the pseudonym of Ella Harper.

Social media links
twitter @canelo_co
@Ella__Harper
facebook.com/canelobooks/

 

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Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green

When Jess Thornton’s dad was lost at sea, the family coped in different ways, alone in their grief. Now, her mum seems to be going off the rails and her sister, Isla, who moved to France, is now back and determined to get their old family home on the market. But the last thing Jess wants this Christmas is for renovations to start on the house. It’s sure to stir up all sorts of memories she’s desperate to avoid. And to make things worse, Isla appears to have hired the most obnoxious builder in the world to do the work. Jess could ignore the fact that women seem to be putty in his hands. But what she finds harder to ignore is the frisson she gets every time she squeezes past him in the mess that is now their beloved old home! Can the family finally start talking and find a way to move on from the past this Christmas?

My review

I am such a fan of this author! Her books are always beautifully written and uplifting, but not always plain sailing. There’s lots of emotional ups and downs – Rosie Green knows how to tug on our heartstrings!

This novel sees love, loss, friendship, family loyalty and tensions, and that’s just for starters, so combined with a versatile and interesting plot you never know what the next page will bring.

Jess and Isla are wonderful characters, very different and neither of them perfect, but they muddle through. Isla perhaps takes a little time to warm to, whereas Jess, with her heart on her sleeve, is someone we would like as a friend as soon as we meet her.

This book is easy and totally delightful to read. It has a festive background and setting and makes for a perfect read in the run-up to Christmas.

Purchase Links

UK –

US – https://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-over-Moondance-Cottage-sparkling-ebook/dp/B07XGDZ4Z2

Author bio

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Watch out for ‘A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, which will be published Christmas 2019.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

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The Case of the Reincarnated Client by Tarquin Hall

When a young woman comes forward saying she’s the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, a wife and mother who vanished during the bloody 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Vish Puri is dismissive. He’s busy enough dealing with an irate matrimonial client whose daughter is complaining about her groom’s thunderous snoring. Puri’s indomitable Mummy-ji however is adamant the client is genuine. How else could she so accurately describe under hypnosis Riya Kaur’s life and final hours?

Driven by a sense of duty – the original case was his late father’s – Puri manages to acquire the police file only to find that someone powerful has orchestrated a cover-up. Forced into an alliance with his mother that tests his beliefs and high blood pressure as never before, it’s only by delving into the past the help of his reincarnated client that Puri can hope to unlock the truth.

 

My review

I’m kicking myself that I’ve only now discovered this fabulous series. But better late than never!

The Case of the Reincarnated Client is the fifth novel featuring Vish Puri as its hero. Or rather anti-hero, since he’s an unassuming, kind man who much prefers the quiet life and really doesn’t want to be called on to do heroic acts. He is very much at the beck and call of Mummy-ji, who is actually the driving force behind this novel in that she insists that Vish takes this case on. Poor man, he has no choice!

The setting is modern-day Mumbai and the atmosphere is one of endless noise, colour and activity. The pace of life is frenetic, yet somehow it doesn’t sweep Vish along with it. He takes his time, especially over meals, and remains sedate, almost ponderous, but resolute.

Not only are we thoroughly entertained in this book but we learn some Indian history and get a revealing glimpse of its modern culture too.

All the characters we come across are fascinating, most of them borderline eccentric if not beyond, and they are all a joy to encounter. There’s lots of humour and quirkiness in the novel and it’s one that really gets under your skin and won’t give you any rest until you’ve finished it. You just have to know what unexpected thing is going to happen next!

An excellent book that I wholeheartedly recommend.

 

Purchase Links

UK –


US – https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0727888781

About the author

Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey. He now divides his time between the UK and India and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand. He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries and The Delhi Detective’s Handbook.

Social Media Links:

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Happy Christmas Eve by Jackie Ladbury

Happy Christmas Eve

A heart-warming Christmas story to put you in the mood for the festive season.

All I want for Christmas is you … or you?
Eve Halligan is back in her hometown for Christmas after a whirlwind few years touring with her band, the Molotovs. A lot has changed since she left, but two things have stayed the same. One: Eve is head-over-heels in love with Lucien Malikov, the Molotovs’ bad boy lead singer. Two: Lucien is completely indifferent to her.
Still, Eve dreams that this could be the Christmas where she convinces Lucien that they’re made for each other. But when childhood friend and local caterer Theo Wright comes back into her life bringing with him festive cupcake and sausage roll conundrums, Eve begins to question whether her Christmas dreams have been wasted on the wrong man …

 

My review

This is an energetic and uplifting romcom, peopled by interesting and rounded characters, although one of them really isn’t very nice!

The atmosphere is very festive with seasonally icy and snowy weather and sledges. We’re surrounded by all things Christmas with lots of delicious food and beautiful decorations, a lovely nativity play and a general, palpable excitement reflecting the build up to the big day.

There’s another build-up going on – Eve is starting to realise she needs to make a very important decision… Amongst all the fun there’s a more serious element in the story.

It’s one of those books that reads itself because the writing is so beautifully done and the story so entertaining. Absolutely one to read in the run-up to Christmas.

 

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Christmas-Eve-Jackie-Ladbury-ebook/dp/B07WF8PK88/

 

Author bio

Jackie Ladbury writes heart-warming contemporary and historical women’s fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.
To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out these pages:

https://www.facebook.com/jackie.ladbury
https://jackieladbury.com
https://twitter.com/JackieLadbury
https://thewriteromantics.com/

 

 

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My Christmas Fake Fiancé by Linda West: wonderfully uplifting!

Synopsis

Snowflakes are falling on Kissing Bridge Mountain, and Devlin is going home at last. But he can’t go home without a fiancé, even if it has to be a fake one! When he meets small-town girl, Allie, who has a Christmas crisis of her own, they strike up a deal. Soon, the fickle snow flurries of fate send them down a destined road they never expected…

 

My review

This is a bubbly, festive, witty romance, which gives you lots to laugh and groan about on the way through!

The theme of needing to supply evidence of a stable relationship to critical slash despairing relatives at Christmas time is a popular one, but never becomes old, especially when in the hands of this author.

Allie and Devlin spar with each other to begin with, being, surely, far too different to ever be compatible. Allie is the sparkiest of the two lead characters, and she’s immensely likeable even if she leaves you breathless with her endless energy and activism. But that’s not to say Devlin is bland – far from it. He’s every bit as developed and fascinating as is Allie.

This is a short, sharp read that rivets your attention from start to finish. As well as the great characters, the setting and action really grip you.

Wonderfully uplifting!

Purchase Links



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/