Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Crime, Extract, Fantasy, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Political Thriller, Science Fiction

Million Eyes 11 C.R.Berry Q&A with @CRBerry1 @elsewhenpress #BlogTour #SFF #SpeculativeFiction #Conspiracy #thriller #Author #Interview #MillionEyes11

TIME IS THE ULTIMATE SAVIOUR

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Elsewhen Press Link Amazon UK Amazon

Q&A with C.R. Berry

How would you describe your books? What genre(s) do they encompass?

I would describe the Million Eyes trilogy as conspiracy thrillers, first and foremost. However, they’re also science fiction books and historical fiction books too. The premise of the series is this: what if certain events in our history weren’t supposed to happen? What if things like Princess Diana’s death, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower and even the extinction of the dinosaurs only happened because of time travellers? The books incorporate themes such as destiny, power, faith, reason and the greater good. 

Time travel, alternative history and conspiracy theories all feature in your stories. What interests you about these themes?

Time travel has always fascinated me. I love the idea of being able to go back and see how things were or go forwards and see how things turn out. You can tell bigger stories with time travel.

My love of history and conspiracy theories sort of go hand in hand. History is full of mysteries, and conspiracy theories are used to try and solve them. I think my interest in conspiracy theories could be traced back to Year 8 History when we learned about the shooting of William II in the New Forest and all the people who may have been involved in a plot to have him offed. I loved learning about that, which is how it made its way into the first Million Eyes.

How do you create your stories? Do you begin with the characters, theme, or setting? Why is this?

I begin with the plot—always. I start with a story I want to tell, and then I choose the best characters I can think of to help me tell it. In the case of Million Eyes, it was a story about a corporation using consumer technology to hide the fact that it was secretly tweaking the timeline. And it was about offering fun, alternative explanations for who Jesus was, what lies in the Bermuda Triangle, why Princess Diana was killed, and so on. I then created characters who are just everyday folk that get dragged into a perilous quest for the truth.

I guess I do it this way round because when it comes to selecting a TV series, movie, or book, it’s the plot I’m most interested in. I can’t stand character-driven stories where there’s zero plot progression.

Which part of the writing process is the most difficult for you? Why?

The historical research! I don’t even want to imagine the number of hours I’ve spent reading about how 1st-century Nazareth might’ve looked, or scrutinising architectural plans of the Tower of London in three different time frames, or the fashions of the Middle Ages and the Iron Age and Victorian times. Historical research has, of course, been necessary to help make the trilogy as authentic as possible, but it has also made the writing process a lot longer and more arduous. 

What is the best and worst part of being a writer?

The best part is when I complete a chapter that I think is great—most likely a dialogue scene where my main protagonist or antagonist is unleashing some serious sass. The worst part is when I have a serious block. There’s been a few of those while crafting Million Eyes, which is why there’s not going to be a shred of time travel in my next book!

What’s next, another book in this series or something different?

I’m two-thirds of the way through the final book in the Million Eyes trilogy, Million Eyes III: Ouroboros. This one is going to spend more time in the future than the past, and it’s also going to reveal the origins of the titular “Unraveller” in the second book. They’ll be a showdown between my protagonists and Million Eyes, and all the loose ends will get tied up with a timey wimey bow.

After that, I’m going to be working on a conspiracy horror called The Puddle Bumps. I want to write something with lots of blood and gunk (well, alright, Million Eyes has some of that, but The Puddle Bumps will have more).

C.R. Berry

C.R. Berry started out in police stations and courtrooms—ahem, as a lawyer, not a defendant—before taking up writing full-time. He’s currently head of content for a software developer and writes fiction about conspiracies and time travel.

Berry was published in Best of British Science Fiction 2020 from Newcon Press with a Million Eyes short story. He’s also been published in magazines and anthologies such as Storgy and Dark Tales, and in 2018 was shortlisted in the Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition. 

In 2021, he bought his first house with his girlfriend, Katherine, in Clanfield, Hampshire, discovering whole new levels of stress renovating it (not helped by a rogue builder running off with most of their budget). The couple are now in the fun stage, going full-on nerd and theming all the rooms—their bedroom is a spaceship, their kitchen a 50s diner.  

Now that the dust is settling, Berry is refocusing on the final book in the Million Eyes trilogy and getting back to writing his first collaborative novel with Katherine: a space-set adventure with aliens, terrorists, a mysterious wall that surrounds the universe and—of course—conspiracies.  

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Million Eyes: Extra Time is available for FREE download

Extract from Million Eyes 11 C.R. Berry

[Excerpt taken from Chapter 1 – the two main characters in this chapter are Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower]

66 Million Years Ago

“So how do we get back to 1483?”

Edward thought about this for a moment. He remembered the first time they travelled in time. He remembered being in the realm of ghosts, after swallowing the pills, feeling like he was floating. Their bedchamber was suddenly filled with strangely dressed people—transparent people—walking through, literally through, one another. He could see through the walls, through the furniture, through the floor to the room below. He could see beyond the Tower to the river. Everything and everyone were eerily ethereal and blurred together in front of his eyes. And Edward remembered that when he concentrated on one thing amid the haze, it sharpened into focus, all the other ghosts falling away. There was a painting. A painting that looked like it was of him and his brother. It was transparent at first, like everything else. But as Edward stared at it, it became clear, and everything else started to fade. A moment later, they were back in their bedchamber and all the ghosts had gone, but it was four hundred years later.

Things happened in much the same way when they ate the second pill only minutes ago, standing on the streets of London in 1888. Edward remembered returning to the realm of ghosts, the streets filled with shiny horse-less carriages, people in eccentric clothes and giant structures all around. All transparent of course. Ghosts, like before.

Only Edward couldn’t remember fixing on anything that time. He couldn’t remember seeing anything shift into focus while the rest fell away.

So how did they get here?

He told his brother his theory on how they ended up in 1888, that his focusing on one thing in particular seemed to pull them out of whatever it was they were actually in and into a specific period in time. But he admitted he couldn’t remember what he had focused on before they arrived here.

“That’s because it wasn’t you,” said Richard after a moment’s thought.

“What?” said Edward.

“It was me. I looked at something. I focused on it. It became clear, like you said. Everything else—all the ghosts—started fading away. We were holding hands at the time. A moment later, we were here.”

It was presumptuous of Edward to think that he was the only one with the ability to plot their journey, as though time itself was only going to respond to him. Richard had brought them here.

“So what did you see?” said Edward. “What was it you focused on?”

It was like two tiny flames went out in Richard’s eyes. His face paled and his throat bulged with a swallow. An aura of fear had come over him like a deep shadow.

“What’s wrong?” said Edward.

“I saw… a monster,” replied Richard, looking down at his feet. “It was coming towards me. Charging at me like a bull. I was terrified. Did you not see it?”

“I saw creatures. I saw a lot of things. None could see me, though. What did the monster look like?”

Richard sighed, raised his head and looked at Edward. He opened his mouth to answer, then the direction of his gaze shifted slightly and his whole face dropped.

“That,” he whispered, rigid.

Edward spun round, following his gaze.

Lord have mercy.

Not far from where they stood, standing partly shaded beneath a cycad and trampling a large patch of hornworts, was a creature three times as tall as them, with dark green, brown-flecked skin that was scaly like a snake. Dangling from its bulbous middle were two small arms with three-fingered hands ending in sickle-shaped claws. Its two legs and feet were similar, only much larger and longer, and along its back was a row of tall, bony spines linked by skin. It waved a long tail that was as thick as a tree at the base and tapered to a point, and looked like it could propel a carriage into the air with a single whack. Its long head bore two horns and a tapered jaw, the hot sun gleaming off multiple, tightly packed rows of ravenous-looking teeth.

Edward’s heart was pounding as they watched the creature lean forwards, its two eyes—like yellow billiard balls—staring straight at them.

Neither boy moved. Richard whispered, “What do we do?”

Edward swallowed hard. He plunged his hand into his satchel and pulled out the pot of red pills.

“We have to—” started Edward.

“Edward!” his brother screamed.

The creature stooped low and launched into a run.

“Run!”

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, New Books

A Lesson in Murder Verity Bright 4* #Review A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book @BrightVerity @bookouture #Historical #1920s #cozymystery #MurderMystery #ALadyEleanorSwiftMystery #BookReview

When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Lady Eleanor Swift’s latest murder investigation takes place in her old boarding school. The suspects are numerous, and Ellie and Clifford pose as school staff to find the murderer. The school setting is atmospheric and evokes classic murder mysteries. The engaging characters and twisty mystery plot make this another addictive read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books

The Man Who Died Twice Richard Osman 5*#Review @richardosman @VikingBooks @PenguinBooksUK TheThursdayMurderClub #BookReview #TheManWhoDiedTwice #MurderMystery #cozymystery #friendship

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK-Viking via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second book in this cleverly crafted series is an engaging read. The club members vow to seek justice for Ibrahim after a brutal assault and are pitted against organised crime when someone from Elizabeth’s past returns.

The main characters are distinctive and easy to like. The well-paced plot has humour and poignancy with a positive view of ageing, which is refreshing and uplifting. The downside of getting older is explored but not seen as defining the characters.

An engaging mystery with entertaining characters makes this story well worth reading.

Read my review of The Thursday Murder Club

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Murder in the Village Lisa Cutts 4* Review #BrendaPenshurstMystery @LisaCuttsAuthor @bookouture #MurderMystery #cosymystery #Village #England #BookReview #MurderintheVillage

Nothing ever happens in Little Challham… until the local pub owner is drowned in his own ale. Belinda Penshurst, owner of Challham Castle, is on the case!

Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.

Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…

Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?

A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. 

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

My Thoughts…

Belinda Penshurst lives in the castle that overlooks the village. An active participant in village life, she uses her finances and influence to rejuvenate local businesses. Naturally, she is perturbed when the landlord of the pub she’s invested in is murdered. Harry is an ex-detective, working as a dog food delivery driver who uncovers a dog knapping plot. The two join forces to investigate. There is an intriguing dynamic between Belinda and Harry. Their dialogue is humorous, and they are both vibrant characters with pasts and secrets. The mystery is well-written, with multiple suspects and twists.

The intricate world-building is relatable. The characters and setting are easy to imagine, and an immersive writing style draws the reader into the village world. It’s an easy and entertaining read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Death at Candlewick Castle Emma Jameson 4*#Review @bookouture @msemmajameson #MurderMystery #JemimaJagoMystery #Mystery #IslesofScilly #BookReview #ADeathatCandlewickCastle #cosymystery

Off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are a balmy haven with never-ending beaches and aqua-blue sea. But unbeknown to the happy tourists and cheerful locals, someone is about to commit a terrible crime…

Librarian Jemima Jago’s summer is off to a delightful start. By day she works on cataloguing the oldest library in Cornwall, and by night she can be found catching up over tea and chocolate biscuits with her old friend Pauley Gwynn.

When the body of Hermie Castleberry is found on the beach at Candlewick Castle, Jem’s perfect summer is turned upside down. Jem doesn’t want to get involved, but when somebody close to her is arrested for murder, she springs into action to clear their name.

Jem soon discovers that Hermie had already ruffled a few feathers in St Morwenna and she’s worried that the police seem to have overlooked other suspects. Could Jimmy the scorned salesman or Seth the shifty scout leader have killed Hermie? As she hunts down more leads, she butts heads with the handsome Sergeant Hackman. If their relationship is purely professional, why does Jem blush every time she catches his eye?

The discovery of another victim, this time in the island’s picturesque harbor, leaves Jem reeling. Can she catch the culprit before the sun sets on summer in St Morwenna?

A charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Although this book’s setting is English, the writing style is reminiscent of American cozy mysteries with an eclectic collection of characters and an enigmatic main protagonist in Jemima. This time a body is discovered on a small island in the Isles of Scilly that is the setting for Candlewick castle.

The characters are unique and have a good friendship dynamic that allows them to be successful amateur sleuths. The romantic tension between Jemima and Hack, the police detective, intensifies, which she struggles to understand. Their fledgling investigative relationship flourishes, as Jemima’s knack of seeing things from a different perspective, proves invaluable to Hack’s inquiry.

This is another engagingly quirky book in a series that is well worth reading.

Read my review of A Death at Seascape House

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books, Suspense

Death Comes to Bishop Well: The Shires Mysteries Anna Legat 5*#Review @LegatWriter @AccentPress # #CrimeFiction #Wiltshire #DeathComestoBishopWell #TheShiresMysteries #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.

But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?

With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?

Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This book, the first in The Shires Mysteries’series is a fusion of cosy and murder mystery with a twenty-first-century twist. Set in a small Wiltshire town, the inhabitants are ordinary but beneath the respectable exterior are the secrets that lead to murder.

Sam, a retired barrister, relocates to the town to escape the memories of his dead wife, which haunt him. Maggie is his neighbour with an unusual talent for seeing the dead. The unlikely couple, drawn together as amateur sleuths when one of the town’s celebrities dies in suspicious circumstances.

Intricate world-building slows the novel’s pace, but it’s essential to create a believable setting for this type of story. Excellent characterisation, so vital for this genre, draws the reader into the story. The suspects are numerous and the motives plentiful, and it’s fun to work out the perpetrator and motive. Authentically flawed characters, many with less than politically correct views, make this relatable. The older protagonists will appeal to many cosy mystery fans, but the story has a contemporary edge that widens its reader appeal.

Anna Legat

Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

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Posted in Adventure Fiction, Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, New Books, Young Adult

Earthlings : The Beginning Ray Star 5*#Review @RayStarBooks @chronospublish @midaspr #Earthlings #ReadGreen #SavethePlanet #magick #dysotopian #animals #BlogTour #BookReview #AuthorInterview #QandA #MondayBlogs

A twisting tale of elemental magick and a broken ecosystem, Earthlings is the spellbinding debut from Ray Star exploring family, friendship and the intrinsic value of nature

Peridot Watkins has always lived a very sheltered life. Raised on a remote island by an over-protective mother, she has never spoken to anyone outside of her family.

Until one day, a strange boy Euan knocks on her window, mumbling about escape from captivity on the mainland and Peri quickly learns that the world isn’t safe for people like them. It isn’t safe for Elementals, those who have the power to control earth, air, fire, water and spirit.

On her quest to learn the truth, Peri escapes the island to discover that the world is worse than she could have possibly imagined. Humans are slaves, animals can talk and the world is run by unruly chickens.

Peri is thrown into a world she barely understands; caught in an ongoing battle for freedom and struggling to command her magick whilst trying to find Euan, who is entangled with people who may not be as straight forward as they seem. Peri’s abilities may be what is needed to save humanity but at what cost?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Earthlings is intended for the young adult fantasy age group, but it explores issues that affect everyone. There is something in this story to capture most people’s interest. It envisages an alternative world where the balance of power shifts from humanity to the animal world. Whether you are an advocate of animal welfare or not, it’s hard not to see that current practices using animals are likely to harm not just them but humans too.

Peri’s sheltered life leaves her unprepared for her exceptional skills and the real world she encounters. This story is about how she copes and the difference she can make. It’s a coming-of-age fantasy story, but its setting and the world-building gives it a dystopian ethos. The inhumanity shown to animals is reversed in this world with humans as the farmed captive creatures. The story has a serious message that is impactful because of the quality of the storytelling. Adventure, friendship, family and relationships are all explored. Magickal practices feature strongly in this story through the main protagonist and as a major plot strand giving this story an engaging vibrancy.

The characters are believably crafted and draw the reader quickly into a world that should defy belief but doesn’t.

Q&A with Ray Star – #Earthlings

When creating your story, which comes first, the characters, plot or setting? Why do you think this is?

I am going to be completely honest with you, I have no plan of action when it comes to writing. The words find their way to me when I’m in the moment, and I rarely, if ever, know what I am going to write.

The Earthlings story came to me bizarrely when I was at lunch with my mother, a few weeks after my dad’s funeral. We were seated next to a small tropical fish tank, and I remember feeling so sad for the fish that would inevitably spend their lives swimming round in circles, never experiencing freedom.

I remember vividly, turning to Mum and saying quite out of the blue, “I’m going to write a book about animals that can talk.”

She stopped eating, put her fork down and said with a smile, “Well, why not?”

“Yes,” I thought, “why not indeed?”

I looked down at my dad’s ring that I wear always, and as the green gem twinkled back at me, Peridot’s tale came to life from there.

What are the inspirations for Earthlings – The Beginning, your debut fantasy novel?

Animals and the environment were the reason behind the creation of the Earthlings trilogy. As a practising eclectic green witch, I have a deep love for the natural world, and it pains me to witness how humanity neglects our home and its inhabitants.

I wanted to write a book that had a conscience to the narrative, enabling readers to contemplate how life could be if we were no longer the dominant species on the planet.  

World-building is an essential component of fantasy novels. How did you create yours?

This was surprisingly the easiest part of writing Earthlings, I looked at modern day society and without giving too much away, reversed some of the roles.

I remember thinking another writer might have a similar concept and beat me to it, itching to publish the book so I didn’t miss the opportunity to share the Earthlings tale.

Did you set out to write a book suited to the young adult market? If so, can you share why you believe they are your target audience?

I knew from the moment I wrote the first chapter that I wanted the story to revolve around teenagers, finding their inner power and trying to make positive changes for the planet. It’s a concept I believe we can all relate to.

Deep down, everyone wants to make the world a better place.

I also wanted to incorporate some of my daily practises as an eclectic witch into the novel, as an avid YA Fantasy lover, giving Peridot magick (yes – magick with a ‘k’), was too tempting to resist.

This was the only aspect of Earthlings that I debated – whether to include magick. In the end, it was my love for YA Fantasy that made it an easy decision to make.

 Is this book part of a series? If so, what aspect of elemental magick and the ecosystem does the second book explore?

Earthlings includes genuine magickal practises that I use in my own rituals, from herbal lore, crystal healing and invoking the elements to following moon cycles – I wanted to include practical magick that works and that we can use in our lives today.

Earthlings is book one of a trilogy as the story has many depths that I wanted to cover, and I physically could not cram them all into one book, as much as I wanted to!

The following book in the trilogy (Dominion) is in the editing process due for release this festive period, with the final instalment (Land of hope and glory) to be released next year.

A little inside secret for your followers; I will be writing a prequel (The Changing) which will be Peridot’s mother’s story explaining how the Earthlings world came to be, and I plan to have a spin off series from this once that book is complete.

Readers can sign up to my newsletter on raystarbooks.com for more details on this to come next year!

 What five words summarise your story. Can you explain why?

Unexpected. Intriguing. Disconcerting. Moving. Magickal.

Earthlings is the world we live in today, reversed, and with a hearty helping of magick added to each page.

Ray Star

Ray Star is a Fantasy author from Essex with a passion for animal rights and eco-living. She can often be found writing, exploring nature and occasionally stargazing underneath a full moon with a tarot deck in one hand and a strong cuppa in the other.

Earthlings was conceived from a love for the environment and inspired by her father, whose passing was a catalyst in leading a greener lifestyle.

Ray’s dream is to one day open an animal sanctuary and wildlife reserve in memory of her father. Earthlings is Ray’s debut novel and the first book in the Earthlings trilogy.

#Earthlings

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Mystery at the Church (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 6) Clare Chase 5* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #Location #BookReview #EveMallowMystery #TV #MysteryattheChurch #SaturdayMorning

When a TV drama crew descends on sleepy Saxford St Peter, Eve Mallow joins the excited throng of extras in a funeral scene. But then a real body is found… and Eve gets a starring role as sleuth!

Eve Mallow is looking forward to her fifteen minutes of fame when Saxford St Peter is chosen as the location for a new drama series. A devoted people-watcher, Eve is thrilled to learn that TV stars are just as glamorous – and tempestuous – as she’s always imagined.

But then someone delivers a bouquet of poisonous flowers to the director Rufus Beaumont, making Eve worry that some of the rivalries she’s noticed are deadly serious. And when Rufus’s body is found in the church where the funeral scene took place, it’s clear that someone’s out for the kill in real life.

Eve and dachshund Gus have been on the ground from the start, and now they’re on the case, interrogating the suspects one by one. Is it the devastating diva whose relationship with Rufus was far from professional? The cameraman who caught Rufus doing something he shouldn’t? Or the groupie groundskeeper who’s in the background of every shot? One thing’s for sure – Eve must catch the killer before she stars in their next murderous production… 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

As a devoted follower of this series, it definitely gets better with each new book. Eve Mallow, the part-time obituary writer and tea shop helper, is a lovely character. The perfect amateur sleuth being courageous, kind, nosy and quirky. Her latest role as a film extra provides lots of opportunities to use her keen observational skills. A dangerous gift and an unexpected death lead to a new commission and the chance to investigate a murder.

I love the methodical way she draws up a timeline to solve the murder. With her useful police contacts and her opportunity to interview potential suspects in her obituary writer role, she soon has lots of clues, motives and suspects, to consider.

The characters are relatable. The potential suspects have secrets that Eve and Robin discover as the story unfolds. It’s a good balance of action, deduction and investigation. The immersive writing style invites the reader to draw their conclusions too.

The perfect read for lovers of classic mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel – Read my review

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Horror Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Dog Rose Dirt Jen Williams 4*#Review @sennydreadful @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #Fairytales #Folklore #horror #psychologicalsuspense #DogRoseDirt

A convicted murderer with a story to tell

Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.

A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth

Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.

A hunt for a killer ready to strike again

When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.

If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has many elements which make it absorbing and addictive reading.

Heather returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. She is not in a good place in her life and struggles to accept her mother’s apparent suicide. Heather, an unreliable protagonist, finds copious correspondence between her mother and a serial killer, ‘The Red Wolf’. Unsure what to make of it, and in the light of similar recent murders, she sends them to the police and begins an unorthodox investigation of the past and present crimes.

Atmospheric, and horrifically graphic in parts, it intertwines fantasy, folklore, horror and psychological suspense. The settings are cleverly crafted and provide a menacing ethos. It uses folklore and fairytales, drawing out their darkness, fusing them with psychological suspense and noir characters. It’s about good and evil, but the lines are blurred.

This story delivers the shocks of horror fiction, with the illusions and secrets of folklore, making this a creepy, disturbing and often grisly read.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Extract, Friendship, Giveaway, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Cornish Gold at Summer’s End Laura Briggs 4*#Review #Extract @PaperDollWrites #ReturntoCornwall #humour #friendship #community #Ghosts #Mystery #Halloween #Cornwall #BookReview @rararesources #PublicationDayPush #cozymystery #Giveaway #CornishGoldatSummersEnd


Rumours of a ghostly presence haunt Julianne’s Cornish autumn in the series’ charming fourth instalment.

What began as a bit of teenage mischief in the village quickly became stories of spooky lights and ghost sightings in the wood. Being sensible, Julianne is more worried about whether she can finish her kids’ costumes in time for the annual Halloween contest—and whether husband Matt and his eager assistants will be selected for the exclusive Brookshire Garden Design Competition. So when everyone in town begins flocking to the local ‘ghost walk’ tours Julianne assures her wide-eyed children it’s just a case of imagination run wild…until she experiences her own brush with the supernatural, that is.

Real or imagined, Julianne can’t shrug off what she saw, or even bring herself to confide in sympathetic Matt for advice. Best friend Kitty is on hand to help, despite her usual family battles, including that of her cousins’ shady new scheme to profit from the town’s ghost mania. But even Julianne’s friends can’t fully understand her need to find a solution this time, one that leads her on a quirky quest from local lore, to meetings with the village’s ragtag paranormal club, and even a creepy abandoned cottage hiding secrets in the woods.

Join Julianne for suspense, surprises, and (of course) heartfelt moments as book four in the series brings an autumn like no other to sleepy Ceffylgwyn.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Having read Wedding Vows and Cornish Ribbons, I didn’t manage to read books two and three in this series, but it is lovely to reacquaint with Julianne and the villagers of Ceffylgwyn.

Halloween is approaching, and Julianne is engaged in creating appropriate costumes for her children. The village’s ghost walk is gaining popularity, and the village is the victim of vandalism or something more sinister? This story is full of quirky characters, gossipy villagers and community spirit, which this author does so well. In addition, this story has a cosy mystery feel to it, which the Cornish setting and folklore suit.

Family life in Julianne’s household is moving on, and there is a lovely relatability about this. This story is a balance of humour, mystery and poignancy. The plot has twists that keep you turning the pages until all is revealed.

Another heartwarming and humorous book in this series with a touch of supernatural.

Extract From Cornish Gold at Summer’s End Laura Briggs

A huge thank you to Jane for letting me stop by and share an excerpt of my newest release with all her lovely readers! The book is titled Cornish Gold at Summer’s End and is the fourth installment in my new stories about American event planner Julianne Rose’s adventures living ‘across the pond’. In the scene below Julianne and her friend Lady Amanda Harbury discuss the village’s growing interest in a local ghost walk now that Halloween is almost upon them.

The Fisherman’s Rest had a lively lunch crowd, but Amanda had the table nearest to the pub’s little window, sending a quick text as she waited for me. The shopping bags around her were from the local market, with baby Charles’ diapers and bottles of shampoo peeking over their rims.

“I’ve had a busy morning — one of the Cornish tourism sites wants to feature the ghost walk for its monthly calendar,” she said. “Of course, it would be when half our posters were either blown away by the wind or replaced by the paranormal investigators’ fliers. What do you think of that?” she asked, sipping her mineral water.

“I think it’s the last thing I expected to hear of in Ceffylgwyn,” I answered, cutting into my mini cheese and mushroom quiche. “I didn’t know there were secret ghost hunters among us.”

“It’s all to do with that television program, I imagine,” said Lady Amanda. “You know the one — they’re ghost documentarians, or something like that. Youth are always fascinated by a rebel with a camera.”

“If the tourism site wants to feature the ghost walk, it must be pretty popular,” I remarked. “I counted at least twenty people the night I ran into you following along.”

“It’s going splendidly,” said Amanda. “I don’t know what Gerard’s book requires, but I certainly hope it takes him a year or two to finish it. Even locals from Falmouth and Par have come, and half the tourists at that new hotel near Aval Towan — there are even some from the hotels as far as Penzance.” She nibbled her chicken salad sandwich. “We posted an online guestbook on the little website I made, and the reviews are coming from all over the place. Not an army of them, it’s true, but enough that I feel it’s very promising. We can coax people into coming for the day soon, taking a cruise around the coast, having an oggie or two, window shop, then gather at the pub. If we reverse course every other night and start at the inn, it will toss a bit of business to the Silver Perch — Lily Hammond is very excited about that prospect.”

“I’ll bet,” I said. The local hostess’s posh tea houses were the last word in elegance locally, and generally cozy and cute in the eyes of tourists down from London. I could easily imagine the number of trays of cucumber and watercress sandwiches and lemon drizzle cake that would be consumed by hungry patrons ahead of a brisk nighttime ramble.

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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