Blog – Jane Hunt Writer

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Mystery on Hidden Lane Clare Chase 4*#Review @bookouture @ClareChase_ #MurderMystery #cozymystery #Suffolk #Village #Writer #amateursleuth

Meet Eve Mallow: an American far from home, a professional busybody… and an amateur detective?

Seasoned obituary writer Eve Mallow has a new assignment: to tell the life story of famed musician Bernard Fitzpatrick. A chance to spend a few days in the sweet little village of Saxford St Peter, walking the country lanes with her beloved dachshund Gus and meeting new people sounds like a dream. But it turns out that Bernard’s life was much less interesting than his death. On the day she arrives, news breaks that the charismatic cellist was the victim of a grisly murder. Could this quaint English village be hiding a dark secret?

As Eve starts to interview Bernard’s friends and colleagues, she finds that he’d ruffled a few feathers. In fact, from the keepers of the Cross Keys Inn to his own staff at High House, there’s barely a person in town who doesn’t have some reason to hate him… is one of the friendly villagers a cold-blooded killer?

Eve hoped Saxford St Peter would be the perfect escape from her busy city life. But there is darkness even in the most sunlit of settings. And when a second body is found, Eve becomes certain that one of the people she’s met must be the murderer. She has never done any detective work before… but is there something in her notes that can crack the case?

An unputdownable page-turner

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The essence of a good British murder mystery is an intelligent amateur sleuth. Good observational skills, an unassuming manner, which encourages confidences and an unbridled fearlessness, to confront, potentially dangerous people, and situations head-on. Writer Eve Mallow has these qualities.

Eve Mallow writes obituaries. An American, living in London, she is divorced, and her twins are now grown-up. She takes a job writing an obituary for a famous cellist and visits the Suffolk village where he lives to find out more about him.

Observant, she soon realises that this is not a straightforward death. Finding out her subject was murdered, draws her further into his previous life, to find the truth. She quickly endears herself to the villagers and begins to uncover some surprising revelations.

The setting is perfect for a murder mystery, unspoilt, picturesque, remote, with many unobserved places, perfect for committing murder. The cast of characters is complex, eccentric, and flawed. They are the sort you may find in any English village, which makes them relatable. The plot has twists and misinformation. and many suspects. The first victim had many unpalatable traits and so there is a veritable queue of people who may want him out of the way.

Eve is relentless in her investigation and willing to put herself at risk, unsurprisingly she solves the case. There is lots of scope in this series, both in terms of the protagonist and the setting, and I look forward to reading the next book.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance, Saga

The Girl From The WorkHouse Lynn Johnson 4* #Review @LynnJohnsonJots @HeraBooks @rararesources #Saga #Family #20thCentury #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

#TheGirlFromTheWorkHouse

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again? An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

Good historical family sagas require believable and complex characters who are easy to empathise. Detailed historical knowledge of the place and time, which filters into the story, making it authentic, and allowing the reader to share the sights, smells and sounds of the era. Finally, angst and hardship that allows the protagonist’s character to develop positively, giving hope that they will find a way out of their plight. ‘The Girl From the Workhouse’, encompasses all of the above and is a heartrending, heartwarming and motivational story.

Ginnie is a young girl who has always grown-up in poverty. Sadly, life becomes increasingly difficult and she and her parents have to go on Poor Relief and live in the workhouse. The family are split up and the first part of the story explores Ginnie’s experiences as a girl in the workhouse environment. Her motivations and emotions are in keeping with her years, and you feel for her, she is so alone. Despite, this she works hard and makes friends, and forms a new family which makes her days bearable. Her life continues to be dogged by hardship and tragedy until she finally leaves the workhouse to live with her older sister who is married and needs an extra wage coming into the household.

The second part of the story follows Ginnie’s transition into a young woman, how she copes with coming of age, and her reacquaintance with her workhouse friend Sam. At this point, you hope for some genuine happiness in her troubled young life, but WW1 draws Sam into its conflict and once again her future and happiness is uncertain.

The setting in ‘The Potteries’ gives the story its authenticity and richness, the author’ connection and feeling for the area make this fictional story more believable. The saga is enriched with historical detail and events, and its characters are authentic to the period and very engaging.

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Crime, Excerpt, Extract, Friendship, Gangland Crime, ganglit

The Trouble Girls @MysteryCreator #Extract @LoveBooksGroup #GangLit #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #LoveBooksTours

It’s in her blood…

Camille O’Brien’s father was an Irish gangster who was betrayed and murdered.

Violet McCarthy has inherited control of the Irish mob.

The two women were once friends, but the exposure of the past has made them enemies, and Camille believes that what Violet has should be hers.

Now they must fight against each other as Camille strives to gain control of the mob in any way she can, no matter how brutal, and Violet struggles to keep it.

Love and loyalty are tested as they push each other to the edge. 

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#TheTroubleGirls
Excerpt from ‘The Trouble Girls’.

When Camille O’Brien was a girl her mother liked to tell her that her father if he had lived, could have been the king of New York City. Camille never knew her father. Colin O’Brien had been murdered when she was just a baby, in the early 1960s. It was the 80s now and Camille was in her twenties. Her mother Sheila had raised her alone after Colin’s death until she remarried when Camille was in high school. Camille’s stepfather was a high up Italian mob guy named Vito Russo, and she hadn’t liked him ever since he made a pass at her when she was a teenager, something she never told her mother.

Still, her mother talked about Camille’s father all the time and Camille knew that he had been a gangster, but he was still her father, and every day she had a desire to avenge him, because she was, after all, her father’s daughter. Her father’s absence in her life had affected her profusely and she’d started taking an antidepressant medication a few years ago to help her cope.

Camille and her mother had coffee in the diner around the corner from the church, as they did every Sunday after attending morning mass together. Camille had always known her mother to be a devoted churchgoer, but her mother had told her that Colin’s death had brought her closer to the church.

Best-selling crime author E.R. Fallon knows well the gritty city streets of which she writes. She studied criminology and was mentored by a leading advocate for the family members of homicide victims. E.R. is currently writing a book about living with autism and also working on her next gangland book, The Trouble Legacy, with her writing partner, KJ.KJ Fallon is a former reporter with Time magazine who currently works as a freelance writer for numerous media outlets.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Adult Romance, Romance, Travel, Young Adult

Fateful Coincidence Lasairiona E. McMaster 4*#Review @QueenofFireLas #LisaMillar #BlogTour #Romance #Friendship #NewAdult #Relationships @rararesources #RachelsRandomTours #BookReview

Five thousand miles from her ex, Lisa is living with her decision to call it quits and leave both AJ and Alabama behind. She believes she’s finally ready to put her broken heart back together and move forward with her life as a single woman. But when she meets a seemingly too-good-to-be-true doctor, she feels both unsure of herself and guilty for moving on so quickly from her engagement to AJ. Lisa finds herself at a crossroads, does she give up all hope of ever reconciling with AJ and take a chance on love again with someone new? Or is her heart destined to be forever entwined with the married man she met on the internet?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third book in ‘The Lisa Millar series’ keeps the faith, it is emotional, fast-paced, and full of life’s lows and highs. Lisa is tired of being the ‘other woman’, after her loss, she is broken, and compromise is not on her agenda. At this point, knowing she loves AJ, and he loves her, is not enough, she needs them to be together. without obstacles, mental or physical.

Like all the books in this series, this is a page-turner, it seems Lisa is moving on, but aren’t soulmates meant to be together? Even though I am not in the intended audience group for this story, I appreciate its portrayal of what it’s like to be young and in love. The possibilities, the seemingly insurmountable lows, and the feeling that on some level, you are invincible, whatever life throws at you.

There is lots of interactive dialogue, which is part of this author’s style, drama and love. The conclusion leaves you feeling that whatever went before, this was always how it was supposed to end.

Lasairiona E McMaster

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

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Read my reviews of the first two books in the series by clicking on the links

Intimate Strangers

The Good In Goodbye

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Killer Inside Cass Green 4* #Review @carolinesgreen @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #CrimeFiction #FamilyDrama #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense #BookReview

You love me. But do you really know me?

A perfect childhood
You were the golden girl. The apple of your parents’ eyes. My beautiful, clever wife.
 A perfect marriage
I would do anything for you. But some things about me must stay hidden.
 A perfect liar
One summer afternoon, it all begins to unravel. Because I’m not the only one with terrible secrets to hide.
 And when the truth comes out, it seems we both have blood on our hands…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The beginning concentrates the mind wonderfully. The reader knows something bad has happened, but not what. The remainder of the novel charts events up to that point. About three-quarters of the way through, I knew the outcome, but this just increased the menace and poignancy of the last part of the story.

The characters are multi-layered. Told from multi-points of view, in the past and present. There are two distinct plot threads, seemingly unconnected, but integral. Persevere, with the seemingly unconnected beginning, all will become clear.

Powerful, poignant psychological suspense, merged with family drama, it’s believable and intense. There is a deeply ingrained sadness to this story, as well as the disturbing compelling elements. Whilst the ending isn’t a surprise, its inevitability does resonate.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

The Secrets of Lord Lynford Bronwyn Scott 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @Bronwynscott #TheCornishDukes #MillsandBoonHistorical #RegencyRomance #HistoricalFiction #Cornwall #Secrets #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview

#TheSecretsofLordLynford

He’s destined never to marry
She might change his mind…

Eaton Falmage, Marquess of Lynford, is an expert at distracting himself from the painful truth which means he’ll never wed. Seducing mining widow Eliza Blaxland seems the perfect diversion. Until he learns Eliza guards her heart as fiercely as her hard-won independence. He longs for more, but that would mean confessing his secret…and risk losing her forever!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A lovely start to what promises to be a riveting romantic series about the heirs of the Cornish Dukes. Eaton has a secret, which in his eyes means he can never marry, so he fills his days helping others with his philanthropy, and taking lovers who never invest their hearts, only their bodies. Losing his mentor, the father of one of his dearest friends hits him hard, and he returns to Cornwall to ensure the school, his mentor believed in, comes to fruition. There he meets Eliza, who is nothing like he expected and he starts to wish his life could be different.

Eliza an independent widow, with a young child, mourns the death of her much older husband, but relishes in the control of her destiny, something she vows, never to give up. Her encounter with Eaton is unsettling, and soon she begins to wonder if she can have him, and her independence.

A tale of emancipation and treachery, this Cornish romance has intrigue, seemingly insurmountable conflicts, deceit and danger for Eliza and Eaton. The chemistry builds steadily, and believably. The romance keeps pace with inevitable requiting of their passion. Eaton and Eliza are complex, relatable characters, and you soon begin to root for them, and their love.

The interesting plot has a good cast of characters and a definite thread of intrigue and danger. It portrays well, the misogynous views of the male-dominated ruling class, at this time. Reflecting how emancipated and enlightened Eliza and Eaton are. The romance is heartwarming with many passionate encounters and the ending is exciting and ultimately happy.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Humour, Paranormal

Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace 4* #Review @OlgaWojtas @SarabandBooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Humour #HistFic #cozymystery #BlogTour #BookReview

The intrepid librarian Shona McMonagle, erstwhile Marcia Blaine Academy prefect and an accomplished linguist and martial artist, finds herself in an isolated French mountain village, Sans-Soleil, which has no sunlight because of its topography. It’s reeling from a spate of unexplained deaths, and Shona has once again travelled back in time to help out.

Forging an uneasy alliance with newly widowed Madeleine, Shona is soon drawn into a full-blown vampire hunt, involving several notable villagers, the world-renowned soprano Mary Garden – and even Count Dracula himself. Will Shona solve the mystery, secure justice for the murder victims and make it through a deathly denouement in the hall of mirrors to return to present-day Morningside Library?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Shona McMonagle is an enigmatic and decidedly quirky character, which is just as well, because ‘Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace’, is a strange tale. It takes a little getting into, especially if this is your first encounter with the talented librarian, a former prefect of Miss Blaine’s academy, and now intrepid time traveller. The adventure is standalone but would be more immersive if you were familiar with the character, and the reasons for time travel. Read the first book if you can. before embarking on this.

Set in the ominous-sounding French village Sans-Soleil, Shona has to extricate herself from a coffin and a room full of mirrors before finding out, where she is. The first people she meets are frankly strange, and she soon finds typical of the village. The story is a complex blend of history, historical characters and mind-blowing fiction, and it works. To enjoy this you have to accept the intricate world-building and immerse yourself in the adventure, and acerbic very witty humour, both verbal and visual.

The plot is absorbing, full of historical facts and historical characters, who are cleverly blended with the fictional ones. Shona is certain of her capabilities, and she is undoubtedly intelligent and well-educated, the perfect advertisement for Miss Blaine’s academy, However, she is not the most intuitive of amateur sleuth’s and there are many examples of dramatic irony in this story. The reader knows more than the protagonist, or at least understands, what they are reading. This makes for many humorous moments.

Shona’s thought processes and dialogue with her fellow characters are witty and enjoyable. The distinctly Scottish humour can be appreciated wherever you hail from.

The story is well-paced and written with visual imagery, that lets the reader enjoy the period and setting, as well as the relentless adventure.

If you enjoy an original, unique reading experience, this is something you should read.

Olga Woitas

Olga Wojtas is an unconventional – and very witty – writer of postmodern crime fiction whose surrealist humour has been compared to the likes of PG Wodehouse, Jasper Fforde and the Marx Brothers. Her debut novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, has been published in the UK and US to great critical acclaim – being longlisted for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019, shortlisted for a CrimeFest Award, and named as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year by Kirkus. A journalist for more than 30 years, Olga was Scottish editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement before she began adding creative writing to her portfolio. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015 and has had numerous short stories and several novellas published. Olga lives in Edinburgh, where she once attended James Gillespie’s High School – the model for Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which appears in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that inspired the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series.