Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?
Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.
His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.
For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?
Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.
Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.
Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.
As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.
The apparently motiveless murder of a man outside the home of controversial equalities activist Claud Blackwell and his neurotic wife, Natalie, is shocking enough for a peaceful local community. When it’s followed by another apparently random killing immediately outside Claud’s office, DCI Jude Satterthwaite has his work cut out. Is Claud the killer, or the intended victim?
To add to Jude’s problems, the arrival of a hostile new boss causes complications at work, and when a threatening note arrives at the police headquarters, he has real cause to fear for the safety of his friends and colleagues…
A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This police procedural set in Cumbria has relatable characters, explores contemporary issues using clever plotting and features an immersive writing style. It’s worth reading the entire series.
This story has multiple murders with no discernible motive. The investigation team are diverse, and they have a believable team dynamic. The author creates a fictional world with a realistic balance of personal and professional relationships. The investigation process is relatable and allows the reader their interpretation of the evidence too.
This is classic detecting, with a twenty-first-century edge that makes it addictive and absorbing read.
Jo Allen is the author of the successful DCI Satterthwaite series of detective novels set in and around the English Lake District, where she lives. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.
A large black cast iron range glowing hot, the kettle steaming on top, provider of everything from bathwater and clean socks to morning tea: it’s a nostalgic icon of a Victorian way of life. But it is far more than that. In this book, social historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman tells the story of how the development of the coal-fired domestic range fundamentally changed not just our domestic comforts, but our world.
The revolution began as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when London began the switch from wood to coal as its domestic fuel – a full 200 years before any other city. It would be this domestic demand for more coal that would lead to the expansion of mining, engineering, construction and industry: the Domestic Revolution kick-started, pushed and fuelled the Industrial Revolution.
There were other radical shifts. Coal cooking was to change not just how we cooked but what we cooked (causing major swings in diet), how we washed (first our laundry and then our bodies) and how we decorated (spurring the wallpaper industry). It also defined the nature of women’s and men’s working lives, pushing women more firmly into the domestic sphere.
It transformed our landscape and environment (by the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London’s air was as polluted as that of modern Beijing). Even tea drinking can be brought back to coal in the home, with all its ramifications for the shape of the empire and modern world economics.
Taken together, these shifts in our day-to-day practices started something big, something unprecedented, something that was exported across the globe and helped create the world we live in today.
I received a copy of this book from Omara Books in return for an honest review.
If you have an interest in social history, this book explores an important aspect. The Domestic Revolution began in the late sixteenth century. London’s population started to move towards coal rather than wood as the fuel of choice. Well-researched, this book illustrates how the domestic use of coal changed the fabric of the landscape and society.
The book layout has easy to read chapters with pertinent illustrations. It follows the domestic move towards coal as household fuel and its effects. The engaging writing style brings history to life and shows its importance to environmental issues faced today.
A thought-provoking book that shows that history is important to our lives today.
For the first time, shows how the Industrial Revolution truly began in the kitchen – a revolution run by women
Told with Ruth’s inimitable wit, passion and commitment to revealing the nitty-gritty of life across three centuries of extraordinary change, from the Elizabethan to the Victorian age
A TV regular, Ruth has appeared on some of BBC 2’s most successful shows, including, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Inside the Food Factory and most recently Full Steam Ahead, as well as being a regular expert presenter on The One Show
The critically acclaimed author of How to Be a Victorian, How to be a Tudor and How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
Single mom Vivian has been burned by love once before, and her job as a divorce lawyer has presented enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City.
The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist whose piercing blue eyes and flawless dark hair are just as annoying as his bad temper.
But when Luke starts poaching Vivian’s clients by saving their marriages, she makes it her mission to force him out of the building to save her practice. But it’s Luke who gives her the perfect opportunity when he proposes an unexpected bet.
With their offices at stake, Vivian and Luke play the field of love in a fierce battle of wits that quickly turns hot and personal, especially when Vivian’s daughter gets involved. Now, taking down Luke has become more than business for Vivian. It’s become a pleasure—and soon, Vivian and Luke will realize how pointless it is to fight the laws of attraction.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a lighthearted romantic comedy with likeable characters. The plot is amusing and reassuringly predictable. Vivian and Lucas appear on first acquaintance to be opposites, but with a little help from mutual friends and Vivian’s daughter Teagan they find they have more in common than they thought.
The New York setting is vibrant, and the battle of wits full of hilarious twists. This is the perfect book to escape with.
Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.
She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the giveaway link above. 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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for thebfulfilment 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.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
One Night in Beartown, set in Congleton, locally known as Beartown, is a lovely story aimed at young children. It explores bullying, being apart from someone you love and the life’s magic that’s always there if you look hard enough.
The illustrations are bright and engaging and illuminate the text in a way that appeals. The story is an easy read, perfect for reading to younger children or for older children to read by themselves. There is a magical feel to the story and a lovely twist at the end.
In December 2017, I tried something different: a children’s picture book about a girl who loses her shadow. Illustrated by the super-talented Si Clark, Sarah’s Shadowhas proved popular with kids and parents alike. In 2018 it won Best Children’s Picture Book in the 2018 Book Awards on international book review site Readers’ Favorite. My claim to fame is that the same award was previously won by none other than Jim Carrey, the Hollywood actor-cum-children’s author! Sarah’s Shadow also won Runner-Up in the Book Excellence Awards and received a Purple Dragonfly Book Award as one of the best picture ebooks for children aged 6+.
In 2020 I ran a Kickstarter campaign during lockdown to fund my next book, One Night in Beartown. It was inspired by the Bearmania event that took place in 2011. Thanks to amazing support from businesses and individuals in Congleton and beyond, I raised £4,000 to illustrate and print the book. It was published on 1 December and you can buy it on my online shop, on my publisher’s website or as an ebook on Amazon. For updates, please follow me on social media or subscribe to my newsletter!
Alice Lang was wearing her favourite scarlet dress when she disappeared twenty-five years ago, and her memory still casts a long shadow.
‘The past was like water. Once the tide turned, you couldn’t hold it back.’
In the long, hot summer of 1995, twenty-two-year-old Alice Lang rents a caravan on a holiday park on the outskirts of the lively holiday resort of Severn Sands. She befriends Marnie, a shy, damaged little girl whose father is the park’s caretaker and whose mother died a few months earlier. Will, whose mother runs the bar, falls in love with Alice, and is unbearably jealous of anyone else she sees. Tensions rise until one evening Alice disappears from her caravan. She’s never seen again, and only her scarlet dress is found washed up on the shore.
A quarter of a century later, the town is run down and nobody comes there anymore. Mr and Mrs deVillars, former owners of the holiday park, have passed the failing business onto their son Guy, who promptly sells the land for development. Builders clearing the land to create an expanse of executive homes uncover human bones. It has to be Alice.
Will and Marnie’s lives were entirely shaped by what happened that summer, and now Alice has been found, they must struggle to pin down their memories, to escape the secrets of the past, the lies they told and the unbearable guilt they’re both carrying.
They need to find out what happened to Alice. Who killed her? And why?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story is wonderfully complex. Character-driven, it draws the reader into a world of decay, deceit and death. The discovery of human bones years after a young woman disappeared reopens old hurts in a town that is a shadow of its former self. Marnie, a child at the time of the disappearance, still bears the emotional scars. Will, obsessed with the missing girl Alice, is drawn back to the dying town of his birth, feeling there is unfinished business.
The story gives up its secrets as it unfolds and undulates between the present day and 1995. There are unexpected twists, emotional moments and relentless tension that builds to the story’s end. The setting is well created and complements the plot perfectly. This is a compelling story with many emotionally damaged characters, of which Marnie is my favourite.
This is an immersive story about ordinary people and extraordinary tragedy. It reads, like a Nordic noir set in the English seaside, an engaging balance of introspection and action it’s a page-turner.
Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of novels including The House By The Sea and Missing You – a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country.
A lively wind danced across the estuary flatlands, shimmying the feathered heads of the reeds that lined the rhynes. Marnie Morahan headed back down the track with the dogs: her own beloved Tessy and the foster dog, a monstrous-looking animal that Jenna at the rescue centre had named Mister. He had short legs and a chest so barrelled that he waddled rather than walked. His head and neck were covered in scars and old wounds from his days as a bait dog, one ear almost completely gone, the other with chunks missing like a leaf got at by snails. His grizzled snout was encased inside a Silence of the Lambs-style muzzle designed to protect him from himself. If another dog came too close, Mister might try to kill it and he was already on his final warning. His next aggressive bite would be his last.
Marnie loved all animals, even difficult-to-love ones like Mister; especially ones like him. It was people she struggled with. It was a two-way street. Marnie didn’t trust people and most people thought she was weird with her old black clothes and boots, her piercings and tattoos, her hair shaved close to her skull, her sullen expression and downcast eyes; her reluctance to be involved with anyone except for her immediate family, Jenna and her dog-training clients. Her muteness. Marnie knew people called her a misfit, and worse. It didn’t hurt because she was used to it; she’d been the odd one out all her life. Sometimes she worried that her oddness would become an embarrassment to her daughter, Lucy, or worse, that bullies might target Lucy because of her, but fortunately Lucy was a sunny, friendly girl, popular at school. She accepted Marnie as she was and expected others to accept her too. Lucy understood that Marnie could no more change than the sun could rise in the west: she didn’t need to be close to people and people didn’t need to be close to her.
The track was stony. Gritty puddles had formed in the potholes. The grass that grew in shabby green strips was submerged in the wet. The hedgerows on either side had lost their leaves months earlier and were black and twiggy, and the branches of the wind-worn trees above were jagged, mistletoe growing like ragged hair in the pits of their joints. Deep ruts made by ploughs in undulating stripes across the fields were full of water that reflected the light.
Clouds raced across a high, wintry sky that morning; a flock of lapwings banked steeply into the air, flashing white then black. Tessy stopped to sniff at a pile of dung and Mister looked up at Marnie with bloodshot, prize-fighter eyes, confused because he did not understand the joys of sniffing.
Marnie put her hand in the pocket of her ancient coat and pulled out a handful of dried pilchards. She offered one to Mister through the muzzle, but the dog backed away, believing it to be a trick, expecting to be punished. Marnie dropped the treat on the ground. Mister stared at it, but made no move to eat it.
A broken heart, an island escape, a boy from the past. Will Lottie’s search lead to love?
When a special anniversary takes Lottie on a journey to find the little boy she once knew, it’s a chance to put heartache behind her.
Lottie’s search takes her to Greece and a family who have known about her for decades. A warm welcome gives her some much-needed time out and the chance to reflect. Yet an emotional revelation and two handsome but complicated brothers make her question her past decisions.
Learning to love herself and be content on her own is the first step. But will Lottie be able to follow her heart and find lasting happiness?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Lottie’s emotional journey takes her to the Greek Islands to look for someone she once knew and to repair her shattered self-worth. This is a book with vivid descriptions that brings the places Lottie visits to life. Character-driven, it focuses on Lottie’s travels, the people she meets and how she rebuilds her life. It’s a poignant read but uplifting with a lovely conclusion.
The writing is descriptive, and the characters relatable you empathise with Lottie and want her to be happy. If you are looking to escape from wintery England, this book will immerse you in the Greek Islands and a lovely positive story.
Kate Frost is the author of character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.
Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. She feels very lucky to spend her days writing, but when she’s not working on a novel, she’s the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative.
Alice thought her future was set in stone, until her past came knocking…
Alice Butler starred in a successful US sitcom until tensions in the cast and crew caused the show to be cancelled. Now, five years later and working towards her dream job in art history, she’s called back for a revival of the show. It can only end in disaster, surely?
Flown to a villa in Chianti to meet with the rest of the cast, Alice must decide where her future lies – with her boyfriend, David, who laps up the Hollywood company, or with the mysterious Matt, who shies away from public attention?
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Alice enjoyed her life as a TV star in a hit romantic comedy serial until there was more drama in real life than on the screen. When the series got cancelled, she returned to her university life and found academia suited her. The chance to rekindle the past is too good to ignore, so she accepts the invitation to Chianti, not sure what her decision will be.
Set in charismatic Chianti, this story allows you to escape to a place full of history. As always, this author writes using vivid imagery that brings the locations to vibrant life. This is a story where celebrity meets the past. The romance is full of conflicts but always gentle and real. It is a stark contrast to the superficial glitz and glamour of the celebrity world.
Believable characters, a location full of heat and history and a dog character who steals your heart, the perfect book to lift your mood.
I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.
Once accused of witchcraft Martha Spicer is now free from the shadow of the gallows and lives a safe and happy life with her husband, Jacob. But when Jacob heads north to accompany his master, he warns Martha to keep her healing gifts a secret, to keep herself safe, to be a good wife.
Martha loves Jacob but without him there to protect her, she soon comes under the suspicious eye of the wicked Steward Boult, who’s heard of her talent and forces her to attend to him. If she refuses, he promises to destroy the good life she has built for herself with Jacob.
Desperate and alone, Martha faces a terrible decision: stay and be beholden to Boult or journey north to find Jacob who is reported to have been killed.. The road ahead is filled with danger, but also the promise of a brighter future. And where her gifts once threatened to be her downfall, might they now be the very thing that sets Martha free…?
The brilliant follow-up to Eleanor Porter’s first novel of love, betrayal, superstition and fear in Elizabethan England. A story of female courage, ingenuity and determination.
I received copies of these books from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.
The Good Wife is the sequel to The Wheelwright’s Daughter but readable as a standalone. Martha is married to Jacob and happy. He is her world, but it starts to crumble when he follows his master north. Jacob is worried about leaving Martha, who attracts attention for her healing skills. She is intelligent and wise in natural healing but naive when facing the world’s evils. When Jacob doesn’t return, her world implodes. Forced to flee her long journey is one of danger and self-discovery. She matures with each encounter and every problem she faces.
The historical details make the journey atmospheric and immersive. The characters are vibrant, with intriguing relationship dynamics. I love the understanding she has with her horse. The evil she faces is difficult to read but necessary to the story. There are many poignant and tragic moments, but ultimately the journey is a positive experience for Martha.
Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter was her first novel.
My Review of The Wheelwright’s Daugther – Eleanor Porter
This story is set in Elizabethan England in the late sixteenth century when religious persecution was rife and witchhunts common. Martha is a young woman raised by her grandmother and father. Educated, intelligent with independent ways that make the villagers’ distrustful of her. After her grandmother’s death, there is no one to protect Martha from her father’s drinking, and she is vulnerable to the dangerous, pious priest and the villagers’ superstitions.
Martha experiences coming of age in a dangerous world with little sympathetic support and much superstition. The story is claustrophobic and immersive, as the reader experiences the danger, superstitions and treachery of this historical period from Martha’s point of view.
Authentic, often unlikeable characters draw the reader into this story. Martha is easy to empathise with, and you want her to survive.
The raven cawed at him, craning its neck unnaturally. As it dug its hooked beak into the mess of dried grass and twigs that made up its nest, a shiny glimmer reflected off a low-hanging bulb. Kjeld edged closer to get a better look. It was a human tooth. With a silver filling.
Detective Kjeld Nygaard wants nothing more than to forget his family and Varsund, the small mining town he once called home, even exist. But while on suspension after his last case went disastrously wrong, his estranged father Stenar leaves a message on Kjeld’s phone claiming he’s seen a murder.
But with no evidence and Stenar suffering from Alzheimer’s, the local police think he must have imagined it. Kjeld can’t stop himself from investigating what actually happened, and soon discovers a body. But when the police start to suspect Stenar, it’s a race against time to discover the truth before it’s lost forever.
But will uncovering the truth expose family secrets that are best left buried?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Atmospheric, claustrophobic and noir, this story set in Northern Sweden brings Detective Kjeld Nygaard home after more than a decade. Finding his father, in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, and his sister furious is not what he wants with his career is imploding, estranged from his family, and his relationship in tatters.
This is an intense story with some noir elements, both in terms of crime and relationships. The Ravens provide excellent visual imagery that gives the story an eerie ethos. The plot is pure Scandi noir with complex characters, dysfunctional relationships and a forbidding and oppressive setting that immerses the reader into Nygaard’s world.
The plot unfolds with several twists and poignant moments. Backstories, weaved into the text, illuminate the main protagonists’ motivations and keep the reader interested.