My Blog List

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Hotel by Emily Shiner

The hotel set in a bleak, lonely area may not be everybody’s idea of a vacation but the Rowe’s booking the entire B & B for three weeks was with deadly purpose.  The story is very twisted. Very early on you cotton on to the fact that Mark and the Rowes have a history. A complicated history involving blackmail as Well.

What no one cottons on to is that the simple, hardworking wife is no simpleton. Scheming from the very beginning she is the mastermind who engineers the whole situation in her favour - she wants to get out of the marriage with as much money as possible to safeguard the future of her baby son Henry. Everything works with that aim in mind.

Devious, all the characters were - and this was the story. Their deviousness. Not apparent at the beginning but apparent within a few pages of the story, each chapter giving you another bit of depth to the story.

Very well told, this was a good thriller.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Last Impressions by Laura Martin

 A Regency detective

 story with Jane Austen as our sleuth. 

Jane and her sister Cassandra are invited for dinner to a neighbours house - Mr and Mrs Paulson. The weather has turned and they know they may have to stay overnight but Mrs Paulson is very hospitable and they have no qualms over this.

The evening progresses with music and good conversation, until the body of their host is discovered in the study stabbed. What makes it incomprehensible is that the study is locked, the windows are firmly closed with no access in or out. To add to the quandary, they are all snowbound. It is dangerous to even think of sending someone to fetch the local magistrate and despite objections from one of the men, Jane takes on the role of investigator, preserving the evidence and questioning everyone in the house. When the butler is found murdered the next day the household is in hysterics because everyone realizes the murderer is in their midst. The weather still seems bad and then their hostess is found dead, seemingly a suicide till proven otherwise.

Putting together whatever evidence is available is hard as there is very little and although the tendency is to put the blame squarely on one of the staff, for Jane the solution seems too slick and convenient. 

This was really a very well written detective story which other than the setting would be perfect even in a modern setting.

The author has a new book coming out in October and I am very keen to get my hands on that.

Sent by Sapere Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Murder At The Village Fair by Helena Dixon

Summer of 1935. Kitty and Matt enjoying a delayed honeymoon staying with an Aunt in idyllic and very comfortable surroundings. It is everything that one thinks of an idyllic English countryside, the weather and farmlands all beautiful. 

A fete being held is a highlight of the summer and the entire village is involved. When Miss Crowther is found murdered alias Madame Zara, fortune teller the first dimming of village allure begins. Kitty and Matt are the people who discover the body and their investigation, alongside the local detectives uncover deep secrets, simmering resentments and secret relationships which must be kept secret. The killer seems to be always one step ahead and when another attempted murder happens, followed by another murder we know the killer is desperate and is now reckless.

Kitty and Matt risk personal danger to uncover the secrets in this small village and bring justice for the victims. 

Very pleasant for readers this is reminiscent of more classic mystery murders.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

There’s a plane on fire on the runway by Patrick Langdon

 A travel memoir covering several countries, lots of details of each place and other than a few exceptions everything was dusty, dirty, with piles of garbage, the guides were scammers and cheats and the food was lousy.

The writer accompanied by his wife went on guided tours to Egypt, India twice, then Cambodia, amongst several others. Historical details were faithfully detailed but one did get tired of the slightly condescending tone throughout the read. He did have a couple of good experiences but they seemed to have been overshadowed by the negatives.

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Season of Second Chances by Kristina McMorris

 There were two stories in this book.

The Christmas Collector dealt with the stuff we all collect during our lives. The endless crockery, linen, furniture is one. The mementoes like photographs, certificates, souvenirs with no sentiment for anyone other than the owner is the other. Jenna is a person who deals with all the stuff that is a persons home or estate. Dealing with it sensitively is her forte and in this story secrets unraveled of memories long gone is very evocative.

The second story is Gifted by T Greenwood. Alex is a gifted ballerina wHo just froze during a performance and is now analysing her feelings about her dance, her talent and her life. She realises that driven by her mothers ambition and dreams she has pushed herself to do better, reach an excellence that she is no longer enchanted with. Simone also gifted is eighty and living with senile dementia. How the two meet, unexpectedly is moving. It is a catalyst for Alex to decide how she goes forward.

Both stories deal with forgiveness, love and looking forward to new beginnings.

Sent by Kensington Books for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley

Monday, August 14, 2023

Death at a Scottish Wedding by Lucy Connelly

 I do like the Scottish settings. Bleak countryside all towering hills, desolate moors, dour, strong, manly men and huge castles especially in this story.

Angie is the bride to be, a Gothic bride at that. The castle fits the theme. Owned by Ewan the local laird,plus being the law of the area he knows everyone and everything that happens in his little world. The doctor who has taken over the local practice has dealt with one murder, and hopefully believes that this wedding will go without a hitch. When a man, not an invitee of the wedding is found murdered, Ewan and Emilia the doctor, acting as Coroner hope that they can find out who the victim is and solve the crime, because they are snowed in. No one has a way in or out. However it is not as easy as it looks. The pointers are to several suspects but they all fall by the wayside and the informal investigation continues with murder attempts several times on several key guests including the bride and Doctor Emilia.

This was a good mystery murder - good characters and very scenic settings.

Sent by Crooked Lane Books for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley 

Friday, August 11, 2023

So Late in The Day by Claire Keegan


A short story looking over what ‘may have been’ if you played your cards right, or if you said something different. Cathal with a bottle of champagne thinks of how Sabine could have been his wife if - there were many ifs here.

Cathal is troubled from the beginning - did the relationship spin too fast, did it get out of his control. The cracks appeared with his frugal ways - with feeling as well as money. Cathal seemed to be his own enemy . He said the wrong thing at the wrong time, did not think through what he said, or it was omission on his part of saying nothing when he should have said something.

The book was contained and seemed just right for this story. Anything more would have been too much.

Sent by Grove Atlantic for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Husband Criteria by Catherine Kullmann

The year 1817 the setting the London debut of young ladies mainly intent on securing a catch. In the matrimonial stakes that is. Three of them good friends have slightly loftier ambitions. They have within themselves set guidelines which they will stick to. The criteria would hold good even today other than the need for a comfortable lifestyle (they’ve not known anything else) . They are loyal to each other and when one of their group is refused vouchers at Almacks (a necessity of approval from the social powers that be)they take the highly irregular step of all three boycotting events hosted there.

Cynthia finds herself drawn to the very eligible Earl of Marfield and finds that she is very much in tune to his own views and ways of life. Chloe finds herself drawn to Thomas Musgrave but is hesitant, andAnn must decide whether music as a career is more important than marriage however impecunious the circumstances she may find herself in.

The book was a pleasant read for those who like romance in an uncomplicated manner without too many twists and turns.

Sent by Books Go Social for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Beginning French by Les Americains

 I always envy any nationality that can decide to go buy a property in another country. With the hoopla that Asians face (not all) with just getting a tourist visa, this kind of story for me is almost magical.

Eileen and Marty had a French ideal. They took French lessons, Eileen was more successful than Marty then they bought a 400 year old farmhouse with a barn, redid it, came back to find it ruined due to a burst pipe. Started all over again. Got entrenched into the village life enjoying the food, the wine, the brocantes and the neighbours. Took French bureaucracy in their stride and as we would say boxed on.

I loved the vivid descriptions of life in this part of France, warts and all. The good overshadowed the inconvenient, the hard bits and being a foodie, Sarah s cooking encompassed it all. Liked the recipes at the end of the chapters. It added so much flavour to the stories.

Thank you to Les Americains for sending me the book, courtesy of Netgalley.

This is a re read by me. I enjoyed it so much.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Murder at the Inn ( AJulia Bird Mystery. No 4)

A pub quiz should be fun and entertaining. In this village it is quite a serious one and everyone taking part wants to win. The teams are quite level, there are all sorts of people taking part and all of them are experts in one field or another. The problem begins when one of their more distinguished panellists are found murdered, and then the numbers seem to increase with murders and attempted murders abounding.

Julia and DI put their heads together to sort out random unconnected clues. Even the hit and run where the DI was injured in hindsight, does not look accidental so the need is immediate before more murders take place.

This murder streak in this small village in the Cotswolds is jarring for the inhabitants as well as the serenity of this village. The end was not surprising for me, though the reasons unraveled were.

A good cozy mystery.

Sent by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The presidents wife by Tracy Emerson Wood

Edith Bolling was living a contented life. Turning a failing business around was a huge achievement for the time and she had good friends. She did not plan on the relentless romancing of a recently widowed President, who fell in love deeply just months after his wife passed away.

Their courtship restrained by Edith, eventually they did marry but what followed was different. Woodrow Wilson began to depend on the judgement and views of his wife, and she began to have enormous sway over all matters of state as well. This was in the midst of America being drawn into WWII. Edith was against  the suffrage movement (which in view of her other views was different) but when Wilson became incapacitated, she excluded all but the very minimum number needed to attend to the President, decoded messages, summoned people, gave decisions and was literally the force of the Presidency.

Utterly devoted to the man she loved, Edith’s entire focus was to protect him and her country. A powerful, emotional story but would have liked to read how she adapted after leaving the WhiteHouse and when she was widowed again.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for sending me this book for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.