Friday, 3 July 2020

A Body in the Village Hall - Dee MacDonald - Blog tour

Kate Palmer is more than ready for the quiet life in Lower Tinworthy, Cornwall. But within weeks of
her arrival, a woman is found dead in the village hall, stabbed to death with her own kitchen knife…

The victim is Fenella Barker-Jones: chairwoman of the Women’s Institute, doyenne of the amateur dramatic society, and reigning champion of the WI cake-baking contest. But whilst she may have been at the centre of village life, there were plenty who had reason to dislike her – as Kate is about to find out.

As a practice nurse and one of the first on the scene, Kate can’t help but get drawn into the investigation. Her patients are only too eager to tell her about the victim’s extra-curricular activities and, the more Kate hears about Fenella, the more the list of suspects grows: it seems half the village wanted her dead.

Kate’s sister Angie tells her to leave it alone, but Kate can’t resist piecing together the clues. Especially not if brings her closer to the handsome Detective Inspector ‘Woody’ Forrest, who is near to retiring himself and determined to crack his last case.

But when someone breaks into Kate’s home and leaves a warning note on her pillow, it becomes clear the murderer is prepared to do anything to keep their identity hidden... Will Kate and Woody work out who’s responsible, before she becomes the next victim?

If you love murder mysteries by Agatha Christie, Faith Martin or Joy Ellis, then this page-turning novel will have you reading late into the night!

Author Bio:

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.  

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My Review

Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a nice comfortable murder and this book certainly delivered on that. Kate Palmer, our amateur detective finds herself first on the scene at not just one, but two murders. Of course, she can't help but investigate who is behind the murders and starts to poke her nose into the business of everyone in the community that's connected with the two victims. She also strikes up a friendship/early relationship with the police detective inspector who is on the case.
This book fits neatly into the murder in a British village genre. We have a middle-aged woman who has recently moved to the area. As a relative outsider, just arrived in this little corner of Cornwall, she's ideal to go poking around as she doesn't have any long-standing ideas about who the various members of the community are and as she does her investigating, we can find out about them all alongside her.
I have to admit that I hadn't solved this one. By the time the murder was revealed, there really was only one suspect left that could have done it, but I certainly can't lay claim to any skill in getting there myself. Kate did make a few leaps as she figured things out, but there was nothing too far fetched or unbelievable. Unless, that is you count how willing Woody, her detective friend is to let her go poking around. Then again, he clearly fancies her, so maybe he would just let her crack on.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read that kept me guessing until the end. It's not edge of the seat stuff, but sometimes you just want a murder that's a little bit more gentle. I'll definitely be checking out more in this series if and when they come out.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Mortmain Hall - Martin Edwards

Mortmain Hall (Rachel Savernake #2)Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mortmain Hall is the second Rachel Savernake book. Although Rachel is a main character in these stories and one around whom much of the action takes place, I think that they could just as easily be called the Jacob Flint series. While Rachel sits in almost God-like observation of the action, Jacob blunders through along with us, trying to understand what is actually happening. He's not exactly a Watson to Rachel's Holmes, although he does fill much of that role, it is certainly through his eyes that we see more of the action and mystery.
This second story is again set in the golden again of crime, although as with the first book, there is a much darker edge that is absent from books that were actually written in the period, or at least missing from those that I have read so far.
Mortmain Hall is a complex mystery, not simply a case of a couple of murders and lots of suspects. In fact, it would be more than fair to say that it's not immediately apparent what the crime that we are trying to get to the bottom of is. There is more than one mystery to solve here. It's not as simple as the good guys work out who done it and the bad guys get punished.
I have to admit that while I'd figured out some of the solutions to this, but there were other aspects that I missed entirely. At the end of the book are a number of 'clues' that signposted who was behind various aspects and why, all in the style of some books from the golden age. I spotted some, but missed most.
Overall this was another gripping read from Martin Edwards. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Rachel and Jacob in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The Diary of a late bloomer - L.M.L. Gil

The Diary of a Late Bloomer; A quirky coming of age novel
L.M.L Gil
Publication date: June 29th 2020
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance, Sports

Every wallflower blooms at their own perfect time, but some like quirky Lo, take longer than others.

Lo is a sheltered 20-year-old who loves baking, manga/anime, and octopi. When she spots her college swim team’s tryout flyer sporting her favorite sea creature, an octopus she knows it’s a sign that she must join the Flying Octopi. The only things standing her way are her social awkward nature and the fact that she just learned to swim.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

L.M.L. Gil is a writer, a reader, and a dreamer.

When she is not writing, editing, or thinking about her next story, she is either in the kitchen testing out a new recipe or snuggling with her fur munchkins reading.

As a glutton, she equates a good novel to a scrumptious dessert, which leaves your heart a little lighter and a smile on your face.

She hopes her novels provide a sweet treat without the calories


My Review

The Diary of a Late Bloomer took me a little while to get into, possibly partly because it's been a while since I last read a diary-style book. I've long been an Arian Mole fan and more recently Bridget Jones, so once I was back into the swing of things, I was away. 
I did think to begin with that Lo, our heroine was quite young, only 16 or so and a young 16 at that. Even with the title being 'Late Bloomer' I hadn't expected anyone who was 20 to be quite so immature in their outlook. It didn't help that her mother was overprotective to the point of being abusive, but fortunately, Lo overcame that in the end.
This is quite a sweet story. It's obvious to everyone (including us) who Lo will end up with and when she finally realises what her feelings have been telling her, it is very satisfying. I really enjoyed some of the support characters in this. 
This was a great read that I managed to get through in one day. If you feel like something fairly light-hearted, not too taxing and sweet then I suggest you read a bit more about Lo and her life. 

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Hate Crush - Angelina M. Lopez

A fake relationship could help Princesa Sofia save her kingdom. Only problem: She’ll have to fake it
with the man who broke her heart.

Ten years ago, wild child Princesa Sofia Maria Isabel de Esperanza y Santos fell in fast crazy love with heartbreaker Aish Salinger during one California harvest season. Now, all grown up and with the future of her kingdom on her shoulders, she hates him as passionately as she once loved him. Even if her body hasn’t gotten the hate memo. Faking a relationship with the now-famous rock star for the press and public will ensure the success of her new winery and prosperity of her kingdom. All she has to do is grit her teeth and bear his tattooed presence in her village and winery—her home—for a month. Trying to recover from his own scandal, fallen superstar Aish Salinger jumps at the chance to be near Sofia again. Leaving her was the biggest mistake he’s ever made, and he’s waited ten years to win her back.
He never counted on finding a woman who despised him so much she didn’t want to be anywhere near him. A war of wills breaks out as the princess and rock star battle to control their fake relationship. She wants to dictate every action to keep him away from her. He wants to be as close as he can be. She’s already lost so much because of Aish, he won’t be the reason her people lose even more. But he also won’t make her break her life’s most important vow: To never fall in love again.

Read Filthy Rich Book One, Lush Money, available now from Carina Press!

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About Angelina M. Lopez

Angelina M. Lopez wrote 'arthur' when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she's been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. Finally, she found her way back to 'author.'
Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it's not true. She's a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn checkboxes. She checks them with glee.
You can find more about her at her website,

Connect with Angelina M. Lopez

My Review

This is the second book in the Filthy Rich series, but as it works well as a stand-alone, you don't need to have read the first one before you read this. Hate Crush is a second chance romance with an almost romantic suspense element. There's certainly something else that this couple has to face and get to the bottom of.

Sophia and Aish fell in love ten years ago, but when it came to choosing between their relationship and his career, Aish left Sophia behind. They haven't seen each other in all this time, but now both faced with needing to resurrect their images, they need to work together and appear as a couple in front of the media. 

Aish is quite a sweet character, he's obviously had a checkered past, but it becomes clear as the story unfolds that all might not as it might first appear on this front. There were a number of things that were revealed as the book unfolds, I don't think that they were hugely obvious, but I did guess what more than one of them might be before it happened. It didn't stop me from enjoying the story though.

Sophia is a very strong female character. She has a wild past, something that is often avoided in romances, which is a shame, I liked the way that she was a character who knew what she wanted and had had plenty of fun in her past. Aish and Sophia worked well together, complimenting one another and having plenty of room for their characters to grow as they start to come together as a couple.

I really enjoyed this read, there was plenty going on and much more depth than you often find in a romance novel. I'd certainly be keen to read more in this series if I get the chance. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Jagger - Amanda McKinney

Jagger: Steele Shadows Investigations
Amanda McKinney
Publication date: June 18th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Secrets, lies, deceit… A former Navy SEAL turned homicide detective has met his match in this new *standalone* addition to the number #1 Bestselling Steele Shadows Series…

He found her covered in blood.
She promises she’s innocent.
The question is… Can he trust her?

Feared just as much on the streets as at a crime scene, Homicide Detective Max Jagger has dedicated his life to one thing—speaking for the dead. Everyone and everything else be damned, including his own demons. During one of the most oppressive heat waves to hit the small, southern town of Berry Springs, the former Navy SEAL is called to a scene where a real estate heiress is found standing over a dead body, holding the murder weapon. The local cops immediately dub it a slam-dunk case, but if Jagg has learned anything from his days running special ops, it’s that nothing is as it seems… including this suspect.

Despite her name, Sunny Harper is as beguiling as a fallen angel. Clever, cunning, completely unwilling to cooperate, and, perhaps his least favorite quality—mind-numbingly intoxicating. When evidence from the scene suggests an accomplice, Jagg begins to believe that Sunny is both innocent and in danger, despite the towns’ uproar to lock her up. Torn between his growing feelings for his suspect, he takes Sunny to a secluded lake house where he discovers there’s much more behind those enchanting green eyes… including secrets that could take them both under.

With his career on the line and the clock ticking, Jagg must decide if he can trust Sunny… before they both get burned.

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten steamy romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance.

Her books include the HOT new bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series and BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES.

Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 to receive Amanda’s newsletter and get the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub

My Review

I have to admit that I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy this one. Although it's a romance, really that takes second place to the mystery element of this book. To begin with, we didn't really even meet Jagger's potential love interest and his investigation and rookie sidekick Darby took centre stage. Jagger isn't actually that likeable, he has an aurora of the old gumshoe detectives, the fact that much of the story is told from his point of view gives it an almost Raymond Chandler like feel. I think that it was this that made me wonder if we were going to get on. Not that I don't enjoy that kind of read, it was just not what I had been expecting.
Sunny is an interesting character. She's clearly got a lot of baggage and history. I think that it mentions that she's in her late 20's, but in many ways, she seems to be an older character than this. Perhaps simply because of what she has been through. 
For me, the suspense side of this book was the winner. Although there is romance here, it wasn't the main part of the story and I wasn't really that invested in their relationship. I did want to know what was going to happen and who was behind it all though. I think that it was that that made this ultimately a very enjoyable read. 

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Monday, 22 June 2020

High Heat - Annabeth Albert

High Heat (Hotshots, #2)High Heat by Annabeth Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading High Heat, I didn't immediately realise that I've actually read the first book in the Hotshots series Burn Zone. Although we did meet one of the main characters from this book in the previous book and the two main characters Lincoln and Jacob also make a cameo appearance this time around, it really doesn't matter if you have read the first one or not.
Garrick is coming to terms with the accident that he suffered while doing his job as a smokejumper. He broke both legs and injured his spine. Although there has been a huge improvement, he's still not as well as he would like to be and is trying to do everything that he can to get back to full fitness, learning to walk again without his crutches or wheelchair and even hoping that he may be able to rejoin the crew at some point. When a stray dog helps him to meet his elderly neighbour's grandson, it leads him on a that makes him question what he really wants out of life. Rain has always been quite directionless but meeting Garrick helps him start to think about what he really wants out of life.
I liked Garrick and Rain's relationship. They were both eager to please one another and although neither was sure where the relationship was going to go, I liked their journey to get there. I also really liked Garrick's Dad and the way he dealt with his son's situation and relationship.
Alongside the romance angle, there is also the question of Garrick coming to terms with the changes in his life. Although he is determined, sometimes that isn't enough. I liked the way that he adjusted to his new normal. Having said that, the idea that his treatment might be stopped not simply because the clinical team decides that it's not in his best interest but because the insurance refuses to continue to pay is hideous. Makes me more glad than ever that I don't live in a country where we have to rely on insurance for healthcare.
This was a good read and I also enjoyed having a little glimpse of Jacob and Lincoln from the previous story. I'm pretty sure that there's more to come from the Hotshots and I'm looking forward to reading more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Sunday, 21 June 2020

Dirty Tactics - Emma Salah

Dirty TacticsDirty Tactics by Emma Salah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dirty Tactics is the first in a new series featuring a family of sports stars. This first book deals with the only sister in the family, Reagan. Unlike her brothers, she doesn't actually play sport but instead is an agent for sports stars. She's also been in love with one of her brothers' best friends since she was 15.
Zac has huge chemistry with his best friends sister, but she's off-limits. Not only if she the youngest member of the family that he's seen as his own after they took care of him when his own parents were less than ideal. He believes that he can't love, having only his father's abuse and his mother's acceptance of it to base relationships on. If only he could stop the passion that explodes with Reagan, then he'd be fine.
I do enjoy friends to lovers romances and this one certainly falls into that. Although Zac is best friends with Reagan's brother, it's clear that their own relationship is very close before anything romantic happens between them.
There are issues for both Reagan and Zac to deal with and although there isn't some big romantic gesture between them, I still liked the way that this one unfolded and played out. I really enjoyed the book and having met Reagan's brothers, I'm looking forward to reading their stories in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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