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Death in Foxrock: Valerie Keogh

Happy book launch to Valerie Keogh. Death in Foxrock is available to purchase here 

Book blurb

When Garda Sergeant Mike West and his partner, Garda Andrews, are called to a suspicious death they are shocked to find the small body of a child abandoned in a suitcase. Who is she? No child has been reported missing. Their search reaches outside Ireland involving other forces but without success and soon another dead body takes their attention. There is a surfeit of suspects this time but as the case evolves, the two detectives are stunned where it leads . 

Meanwhile, someone is making trouble for Kelly Johnson, and she is forced, eventually, to ask West for help.

Can West sort personal problems and professional cases and restore peace to Foxrock?

My review 

This is the next in the series featuring surprisingly normal Garda West, an Irish cop without any hang ups. In fact he’s normal. What an idea. To depict a policeman in literature that is someone that you might actually like, that you might relate to, that would be as happy with a coffee as a pint…

The cop TROPE is well known from TV shows to thrillers and to break this mould is indeed brave. Jonny Geller, that doyen of literary agents recently said on Twitter that

 ‘Plot is key, but not at the expense of character. We’ll go anywhere with a full character but question every move with a thin one.’

To write a character that is as well rounded as Garda West, but without the usual hooks of this genre needs both talent and guts. There is a plot but not just one. Subsidiary plots abound but with none of the loose ends that can cause a decent book to fail at the last hurdle. I loved the on-off nature of Garda West’s relationship with Kelly but also admired the way Ms Keogh kept a tight rein on the romance. When readers pick up a crime novel that’s what they want – crime. That’s why there’s a romantic suspence genre. I wait to see what’s next from this author…

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New Guernsey kid (writer) on the block: Lara Dearman

It is truth universally acknowledged that writers support other writers…

And if they’re from the same rock it’s a cert… In fact I’ve just spent the last five minutes stalking Lara to see if I recognise her from her photos – Guernsey is so small we all know someone who knows someone. Rest assured, Lara, you’re a stranger and I’m too busy to stalk anyone unless they have chocolate… 

Lara has recently had her debut published by Trapeze, a new imprint of Orion (one of my favourite houses on NetGalley). I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my TBR pile, which is leaning like Pisa. Here’s the blurb and links x


Book blurb

The six drowned girls stared up at them from the photographs. All young. All attractive. All dead. ‘It is a lot of dead girls. And it’s a very small island.’

* * * * *

AN ATMOSPHERIC NEW CRIME SERIES SET IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer Dorey has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected. But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

Available from Amazon here 

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The Little Village Christmas, Happy Publication Day


Book blurb

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…

My review

This is my third read by Ms Moorcroft and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact I’d go as far to say that she’s the queen of this genre. Barney is inspired and soon had me thinking of Hedwig from that other book and, just like that book, this also held magic between the pages. Ben and Alexia both have something to prove to themselves and relationships that ignite from first meet are my favourite kind of reads. Last year we had hats, then a car called pig and now we have Angel – My review is finished – go buy the book here

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Christmas at Corwenna Cove, Happy Publication Day

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Book blurb

When Grace Phillips travels to Conwenna Cove to help her parents move there 30 years after their honeymoon in the village, she sees why they fell in love with the place. The festive decorations, carols in the air and constant supply of delicious mince pies certainly make it hard to leave. Grace soon meets local vet Oli Davenport and initially finds him rude, but learning about his passion for animals and how much he cares for his two kids helps Grace to see a softer side to Oli.

It’s been two years since Oli lost his wife to cancer. Though he loves eleven-year-old Amy and five-year-old Tom more than anything it’s hard to be mum and dad. He has no interest in romance until he crosses paths with beautiful and kind-hearted Grace. The sparks fly but both Oli and Grace are holding onto fear about letting someone into their heart.

As the snow falls and Christmas wishes come true can Conwenna Cove work its magic and help Grace and Oli find the happiness they both deserve?

My thoughts

Ah now there’s a thing, a book with strands of personal truth as I too spent my honeymoon in Cornwall, not 30 years ago, only 25.

Ms Boleyn’s support of greyhound rescue dogs is well known and I just love the way she’s been able to weave this into the storyline. A widower, a writer, a magical place that embodies all the best parts of Christmas and lots and lots of animals. Quod erat demonstrandum…

Thank you, NetGalley for the ARC, this review is mine though – you can’t have it.

Buy me here  😉

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Happy Publication Day: Jane Linfoot 

Jane Linfoot is what I’ve coined one of my favourite Chocolate Writers. When I’ve had a bad day and writing just isn’t for me I have a group of go-to favourite authors that I know can be relied on to give me that essential word fix and, do you know what? Her words are just getting better and better.


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Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop:

Book Blurb

The charming fourth book in the best selling `The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ series Christmas arrives at Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s enchanting and most adorable little wedding shop. There’s nothing more magical than a winter wonderland wedding, and the girls are determined to make this festive season their most romantic yet. The champagne is on ice while the mistletoe is hanging from every nook, and the exquisite lace and pearl-encrusted dresses, glistening like the frosted shop windows, are waiting to be chosen. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and romance is most definitely in the crisp winter air- with promises, proposals and Christmas kisses aplenty… What will the season bring, in this enchanting fourth book of `The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ series? Available here

My review

I adore Holly and the way her life needs a large kick of Christmas sparkle after a bumpy year of bereavement and horrid relationships. But Rory – OMG… it was also lovely to catch up with Jess, Immie, Sera and Poppy although this can be read as a standalone. Is this good bye to this series? I hope not…

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Christmas reads: Jane Linfoot, Darcie Boleyn, Sue Moorcroft

Yep, it’s that time again when I start thinking about the man in the red suit burning his bum on the wood burner.

With my first Christmas book launch, looming on the horizon I’ve decided to treat myself to some festive reads so here are three additions to that ever heaving TBR pile. I’m particularly keen to see what Sue has done with her interior designer because my book has one too, but no owls. Reviews to follow…

 

 

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Map of the Heart: Susan Wiggs

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Book blurb

An accomplished photographer, widow, and mother, Camille Palmer is content with the blessings she’s enjoyed. When her ageing father asks her to go with him to his native France, she has no idea that she’s embarking on an adventure that will utterly transform her.

Returning to the place of his youth sparks unexpected memories—recollections that will lead Camille’s family back to the dark, terrifying days of the Second World War, where they will uncover their family’s surprising history.

My review

Short: buy this book, you won’t regret it

Long

I’m not sure I can even begin to tell you how much I loved this book. Susan Wiggs has long been one of my favourite writers but she has surpassed herself. As a writer, and I suppose you could say a fellow connoisseur of words, I appreciate good writing, well-rounded characters and extraordinarily plotting. For a book to grab me and glue me to my chair to the exclusion of all else it has to also have an extra dollop of magic – this book has it all. It’s a romance. It’s a mystery. It’s a YA. It’s an historical thriller.

Finn, trying to work out what happened to his father ropes in expert photographer, old film developer and widow, Camille. But the story quickly switches to war torn France and the mystery that surrounds Camille’s grand- parents. This is well-rounded, well-worded and totally engrossing. If you fell in love with The Letter (Kathryn Hughes)  then this is for you.

PS,  I adore the cover

Available here

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Cover reveal: Englishwoman at Christmas

 

Book blurb

Holly Branch has it all. She’s rich, famous and beautiful but, after a disastrous early marriage, she’s also deeply distrustful of men, all men…

Lord Oliver Ivy has it all. He’s rich, titled and handsome. He’s also a world renowned plastic surgeon, or he was… Now he’s an emotional wreck seeking solace in the bottom of a whiskey bottle.

When fate decides to play a trick on these two strangers, by dumping them in Cornwall in the middle of a snow storm, fate gets a shock…

Out 31st October and available to pre-order from Amazon for 99p here

About this book

I’m delighted to be revealing the cover of my next book on such a special day, my twins birthday. When they asked me a couple of months ago if they could have a book dedicated to them, of course I agreed. But they probably didn’t realise I’d fill it with as many twins as I could…

In a way I’m going back to my roots with Englishwoman at Christmas because it’s does have a strong medical slant with Lord Ivy being a plastic surgeon.  But he’s not just any old plastic surgeon, he’s a reconstructive surgeon and his speciality? Conjoined twins. He heads up a specialist unit with someone you may have heard of? Professor Mitch Merrien – the male lead in my first romance, Ideal Girl – a book that will always be special.

But that’s not all that’s special, or should I say personal about Englishwoman at Christmas. When I was looking around for a setting I was heavily influenced by thoughts of my own romance as it’s coming up to our 25th wedding anniversary soon. We spent our honeymoon in Polruan, a small village just across Fowey on the estuary. Polruan was the perfect honeymoon idyll. It’s not touristy simply because it’s not the easiest of places to get to unlike its more popular counterparts. But, for us, that made it all the more special, after all, three’s a crowd on a honeymoon.

 

 

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Moonlight Over Manhattan: Sarah Morgan

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Book Blurb

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi’s temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Available from October here

My review

Sarah Morgan has long been one of my favourite writers. Her ability to weave words on a blank page is renowned and it wasn’t me that coined the phrase magician with words, but it could have been.

Moonlight over Manhattan is a charming tale of strength over adversary. Harriet and Fliss are twins: we have already found out Fliss’s tale in holiday in the Hamptons, a summer hit for Sarah. Now, it’s Harriet’s turn. Harriet is the shy twin, she also suffers from a speech dysfluency, or stammer if you like.  Now this, for me is where the story got a little freaky. As a parent of twins, one of whom suffers from a speech dysfluency I think you’ll agree that I wasn’t able to view this from a position of neutral.  I was all for being super critical but I was left eating my words (no pun intended) and can only comment on the indepth level of research that has been undertaken. The story grabbed me from page one and, although I didn’t finish it in one sitting it did only take two.

Now the big question is: this my favourite Sarah Morgan of all time  and the answer would have to be no. That would be Miracle On 5th Avenue, which was last years Christmas story. However as this also appears in my top favourite five books of all time I think you can allow me some largessse especially when you take into account that this list includes  Wilkie Collins The woman in white and, of course, Jane Austen’s Pride  and Prejudice. In fact, I think I’m going to snuggle up under a cat or two and read all three again…

 

 

 

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Marc Levy: PS from Paris and Those Things We Never Said

 

OK so I have a thing for French writers. It’s not a disease, or even a virus – more of an obsession. Living of the cusp of this wondrous Isle, and lucky enough to spend 6 weeks a year emerged in all things French, their culture sort of grows on one and it’s no coincidence that words like chic originate from the French – something to do with a little man called William in 1066. Last year I literally fell in love with two Frenchmen, well on paper at least, and Black Water Lilies has moved from my favourite book of 2016 to my top ten of all reads, with Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook on my shortlist.

Marc Levy is French, but lives in New York (or so I’ve heard 😆) and this mix shows up in his writing. He’s an architect/ writer and has published now in double figures, the only sad thing being I’ve only read two, but all the more to look forward to then.

All Those Things We Never Said (out November, but on pre order – here’s his author page for more).

Days before her wedding, Julia Walsh is blindsided twice: once by the sudden death of her estranged father…and again when he appears on her doorstep after his funeral, ready to make amends, right his past mistakes, and prevent her from making new ones.

A cross between Cecelia Ahern and Carrie Hope Fletcher. To have to bury your father on your wedding day is bad enough, especially as you didn’t even like each other let alone love. And then you find he’s reinvented himself as a robot, a robot that for 7 days tries to make amends while on the road trip of a life time. Suddenly her fiancé, waiting in the wings isn’t such an attractive proposition. Such an unusual premise. Paranormal fiction isn’t usually my bag but this is done with style and panache. If you like odd (in a good way) but well written…

PS from Paris

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

I can’t tell you just how much I loved this book (oh yeah, I just have, duh!) It’s only August and already, let me tell you, this is my favourite read of 2017 ( not so easy when, already I’ve read 211 books). Reading is a very personal endeavour. It’s the only way one can ever truly know what’s going on in someone’s head at any one time (knowing when your partner wants a cuppa doesn’t count). For me this book ticked all my personal boxes with regards to what a good read should be. It had a strong beginning. A good voice. Page turning quality and a flawless ending. Because I read so much it’s rare an author gets to surprise me ( I’m the irritating best friend that’s guessed the plot of a The Sixth Sence ten minutes in) but there’s a huge surprise here that was handled beautifully.

Finally, a huge congratulations to Marc, No 1 US charts is a huge achievement. Continue writing, dear sir – enchanting… IMG_2378