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

Hattie Goes To Hollywood Caroline James 4*#Review @CarolineJames12 #cozymystery #HattieGoesToHollywood #AmateurSleuth #FemaleDetective #Rurallife #VillageLife murdermystery #cumbria #Giveaway #Drake @rararesources

A Cumbrian Village…
Three suicides…
A red-hot summer…

Join super-sleuth Hattie as tempers and temperatures rise in the Cumbrian village of Hollywood. With mischief and shenanigans aplenty, will Hattie discover the truth?

A funny and intriguing mystery – the first in a new series by Caroline James

When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born. During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?

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

My Thoughts…

A good cozy mystery should have the following attributes. A cast of complex characters, some of which must harbour dark secrets. Plenty of opportunity for humour, but despite this, the potential for a heinous crime. An enigmatic, quirky amateur sleuth, and an idyllic setting that seems at odds, with what happens there.

‘Hattie Goes To Hollywood’, has all of the above. The residents of Hollywood village are quirky and not necessarily what they seem. The plot has lots of comic moments and humorous dialogue. There are three suicides, but are they suicides, or something more sinister? Hattie a recent widow, returns to her native Cumbria, to live in the rundown cottage, her aunt left her. She needs something to do, and being friendly, inquisitive, observant and tenacious, making a career out of private investigation seems feasible. The village of Hollywood is delightfully rural, but its beauty hides darkness.

Hattie is a complex forthright woman whose no-nonsense manner attracts confidences and indiscretions. She has a positive outlook on life, has a good heart, and a weakness for attractive men. I loved her. The writing is full of vivid imagery, so you can easily imagine the village and its occupants. The mystery is well-plotted, and the humour tempers the severity of the crime effectively. The characters are realistic, full of eccentricities and flaws, and bring the story to life. Like many cozy mystery amateur sleuths, Hattie has an animal companion. Not what you’d expect, but Drake does have intuitive detective skills.

A clever, comical cozy mystery, making this a wonderful escapist read.

Giveaway to Win a cuddly Drake toy! (Open INT)
Be in with a chance to win Drake, Hattie’s faithful pet duck! Tall Drake & Handsome – A gorgeous soft toy who will be your friend for life.

Click on Giveaway link to enter here

*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 the fulfilment 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.

Caroline James

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Books by Caroline James:

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me

Coffee Tea the Chef & Me

Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me Jungle Rock

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Hattie Goes to Hollywood

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Posted in Book Review, Romance

Secrets of His Forbidden Cinderella Caitlin Lewis 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @megancrane #CaitlinCrews #MillsandBoonModern #OneNightWithConsequences #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #Secrets #Cinderella

#SecretsofhisForbiddenCinderella

Cinderella’s scandalous secret

Their forbidden passion had consequences!

Overwhelming. Irresistible. Off-limits. Teo de Luz was all those things to innocent Amelia. Until she attends his opulent masquerade ball, and they share a deliciously anonymous encounter! Now Amelia must tell this brooding Spaniard he’s the father of her unborn child.

Teo can’t forget his runaway Cinderella, but discovering her true identity stuns him. His loathing of Amelia’s family means he cannot dismiss her deception! He will marry her. He will claim his heir. And he’ll exact a sensual revenge on Amelia, one pleasurable night at a time…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Amelia is such a capable character, constantly sorting through the debris of her mother’s constant affairs and marriages. She doesn’t have time for weakness, especially now when she’s finally claimed her life back and is contently living in San Francisco.

Teo, her older now ex-stepbrother, has always been her weakness, something she decided to exorcise by visiting his family’s Masquerade ball a few months earlier. She wore a mask and a heavy disguise, and when the inevitable happened, ran away like Cinderella, into the night. Now, she’s back at the fairy tale castle, forced to share the consequence of her out of character mistake, and reveal that she was his mysterious passionate partner that night.

It’s impossible not to like this modern-day Cinderella and her humour. She truly ruffles Teo’s stern outward facade, in more way than they both imagined possible. His solution is more of a punishment for Amelia, but she finds a way to get under his skin, and soon his heart rebels against his head, but will it be enough for a happy ending?

The chemistry changes from caustic to molten, the more time the couple spend together. There are many conflicts to overcome, but like all good fairytales, this one has a happy conclusion

Great characters, a wonderful modern adaptation of a fairy tale classic and a lovely balance of sarcastic banter and charming romance.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Copycat Diane Saxon 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @Diane_Saxon #CrimeFiction #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #PoliceProcedural #DSJennaMorgan #psychologicalsuspense

IS HE STILL OUT THERE?

Brand new psychological crime from the author of The Keeper.

When a beautiful, red-haired nurse’s body is found mutilated in her house in Lawley the morning after a date with Detective Constable Ryan Downey, all eyes turn to him.

With a very specific modus operandi, Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan and her team know exactly who the offender is, the trouble is he’s currently serving a life stretch in HMP Long Lartin.

It soon becomes evident to DS Morgan and her team that there maybe a copycat killer is on the loose.

In a race against time, they need to track down the copycat and discover who is pulling whose strings?

Amazon UK

#boldwoodbloggers

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

My Thoughts…

The second book in the DS Jenna Morgan series is even better than the first. This book is a mix of police procedural and psychological suspense, and the author fuses them expertly, to produce an adrenaline-fueled story, coupled with an authentic investigative theme.

The police team are believable and full of interesting complex characters. Jenna is a skilled detective, who puts her career first, she is a good leader and a reliable partner, Her relationship with Mason is complex and realistic, and very effective. Romance is not high on her priority list, but it does shimmer in the background, with a past acquaintance. The romantics are given a little hope, as this story progresses.

The crimes are detailed and grisly. The author uses just enough graphic description, to let the reader appreciate the evil of the antagonist, and the horror of the crimes. The plot is well thought out and has intriguing twists. I did work out the solution, but it is well hidden.

The level of psychological suspense and menace the story has is powerful and makes this a real page-turner.

Looking forward to Jenna’s next case, hope its soon.

#DianeSaxon

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Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to write psychological crime. The Keeper is her first novel in this genre and introduces series character DS Jemma Morgan.  It will be published by Boldwood in October 2019. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

Read my review of The Keeper, the first book in the DS Jenna Morgan series here

Posted in Book Review, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy

Dirty Devil Jackie Ashenden 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @JackieAshenden #Dare #MillsandBoonDare #Billion$Bastards #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview

#DirtyDevil

Damian Blackwood is hot as hell!

And no one can resist this devil’s allure…

I didn’t make billions letting others rob me blind. So when I catch Thea Smith stealing a priceless necklace, I can’t release her. Not before the mystery woman spends a few nights in my bed! But what started as a sexy distraction is becoming a dangerous liaison. And if I’m not careful, this fiery little thief may steal my most guarded possession—my heart.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I loved this sexy, scandalous story.

Complex, emotionally damaged characters, passionate, sensual love scenes. and an original meeting between the two main characters. All factors, which had me turning the pages to see what would happen to Thea, the streetwise but vulnerable heroine, when she meets, sexy as sin playboy Damian, who hides his generous heart well.

The emotional connection between Thea and Damian matches the passion, although it does have to play catch up. Their first encounter is purely intrigue and lust based. Thea’s career, as someone who steals stolen items for the true owners, brings her into direct conflict with billionaire, Damian. The attraction is strong, and her quiet self-possession draws Damian in and threatens the walls he’s built around his heart.

Both the characters are likeable. Although outwardly different, both have emotional scars. You want them to overcome their past issues, and find happiness together. The conflicts are many, both external and internal, but love finds a way.

Hot, hectic and heartwarming, this is a great start to what promises to be a memorable series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Five Wakes and a Wedding Karen Ross 4* #Review @0neMoreChapter_ @ComedyKaren @rararesources #romcom #humour #noirhumour #Undertaker #Wake #Wedding #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
 
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.
 
When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.
 
Because, after all, it’s her funeral…The perfect antidote to all those  books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry.

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#FiveWakesAndAWedding

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

My Thoughts…

Death is often deemed life’s only certainty. It’s something we often avoid talking or thinking about until its inevitability creeps upon us.

Fusing romantic comedy and death needs certain skills to work. Firstly, the ability to inject humour into a sad event. Secondly, creating a vivid setting, so that the reader can visualise the humorous events, as they read. Finally, the creation of believable, vibrant characters, who the reader can relate to. The author manages all of this, and the result is funny, poignant and surprisingly romantic.

The plot is simple, an ambitious young woman encounters unexpected local resistance, which threatens her venture’s success. Using the ‘four weddings and a funeral’, format, which works so well, we follow Nina’s experiences as she tries to make a success of her business, keep on the right side of neighbours and cope with an enigmatic stranger.

There are five wakes and a wedding, and each is full of conflict, humour, and poignancy. The business of death and funerals is well researched and has intrinsic interest. Not as darkly comical as the US show’Six Feet Under’, it does have the same noir comedy appeal, with distinctly British humour.

An original twist for the romantic comedy, which has wide audience appeal.

Karen Ross

As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction.   Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads:  the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony

Karen has been self-employed for many years and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur.  By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stock market, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.

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#RachelsRandomResources
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Suspense, Travel

The House By The Sea Louise Douglas 4* #Review @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldwoodBooks #FamilyDrama #Ghosts #Secrets #grief #loss #Italy #Sicily #Villa #Crime #Suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #MondayBlogs

#TheHouseByTheSea

When Edie’s mother-in-law, Anna DeLuca, dies, she is relieved. Edie blames Anna for the accident that destroyed her family. So, when her will lures Edie to Sicily and the long-abandoned Villa Della Madonna del Mare, she sees through Anna’s games.

Suspecting Anna is meddling from beyond the grave to try to reunite her and her ex-husband, Joe, Edie is determined to leave Italy as soon as possible. But before she can, the villa starts to shed its mysterious secrets.

Who are the girls beside Anna in her childhood photos, and why has one of them been scratched out? Why does someone, or something, want them to leave the past untouched? The villa is a place where old ghosts feel at home, but does their legacy need to be laid to rest before Edie and Joe can move on…

Bestselling author Louise Douglas returns with a captivating, chilling and unforgettable tale of betrayal, jealousy and the mysteries hidden in every family history.

Amazon UK

#boldwoodbloggers

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

My Thoughts…

‘The House by the Sea’, is an atmospheric, emotional family drama, with ghostly and menacing elements. On one level, it is a poignant family story, of loss, and the emotional damage losing a child wreaks to the parents left behind. Another level brings a story of forgiveness, new beginnings and learning to live again. Within this, there are dangerous secrets and strange supernatural influences entangled in the old villa and its gardens.

Set in Sicily, Edie and Joe are forced together, to claim and decide what to do with their inheritance from Joe’s, recently deceased mother, Anna. Edie blamed Anna for the death of her son Daniel, and Joe and Edie’s marriage disintegrated with his death. The villa is a character in its own right, in this story. Rundown, it still has a powerful appeal and draws Edie and Joe gradually together. There are many hidden secrets, some supernatural elements and mysteries to solve before Edie and Joe can begin their healing together.

The plot has many levels which are cleverly intertwined to reveal past secrets. Edie and Joe, are understandably complex damaged people, still grieving their lost son. This story has many poignant moments, but ultimately it is heartwarming and uplifting. The suspense builds as the story progresses, leading to an adrenaline-fueled climax, tinged with a tender, supernatural moment, which is both believable and necessary for the story to reach its positive conclusion.

The cast of supporting characters are authentic and although the story is gently paced, it is absorbing and you keep turning the pages wanting to know what next.

A lovely, poignant tale of love and loss and forgiveness.

Louise Douglas

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – an RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction, Travel

Walking Back To Happiness Penelope Swithinbank 4* #Review @minstriesbydsgn @malcolmdown @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #Motivational #Walking #Travel #Relationships #Marriage #Memoir #Faith #nonfiction #BlogTour #BookReview @LoveBooksTours

Two vicars, their marriage in tatters with wounds reaching far back into the past, set out on a journey to find healing and restoration. Their route will take them from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, but will it help them find their way home? Along the 320-mile route across rural France, burdened by backpacks and blisters, Kim and Penelope stumble across fresh truths, some ordinary, others extraordinary. But will they be defeated by the road ahead or triumph over the pain of the past? Is there a chance they’ll find themselves in France and walk back to happiness? In this simple but enchanting book, part travelogue and part pilgrimage, Penelope invites you to walk with her and her husband on their epic journey as they encounter new faces and new experiences, and reconnect with each other and with God. Every step of the way, you’ll discover more about yourself and what’s really important to you.

Amazon UK

Goodreads

#WalkingBackToHappiness

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

My Thoughts…

An interesting, motivational travelogue, full of honest reflection and astute observation.

Even if, you are not religious, there is something important to take away from this book. The author’s shared experiences show that marriage is a journey in itself. Like the walk they embark on, it is punctuated by happiness and sadness, hope and despair, and courage and fear.

The description of the walk, the people encountered and the places visited has intrinsic interest for those familiar with this region and those, like myself who are not. The statistics at the end of the story and the highlighted moments rounded off the book well.

Using an arduous physical walk, as a way of making sense of, and coming to terms with a couple’s emotional and spiritual journey works well. Both in a literary sense, and thankfully, in reality for Penelope and Kim.

Worth reading on many levels, whatever your marital status or religious belief.

Penelope Swithinbank

Penelope is an avid walker and spends a lot of her time stomping in the hills and valleys near her home outside Bath. She is a chaplain at Bath Abbey and a spiritual therapist and counsellor for clergy (and some normal people too). Since becoming a vicar nearly 20 years ago, she has worked in churches in the UK and the USA, and has led pilgrimages in the UK and in Europe. She and her husband Kim have been married for more than 40 years and have three children and six grandchildren. Penelope rarely sits down, loathes gardening and relaxes by reading, going to the theatre or playing the piano. She is the author of two books, Women by Design and Walking Back to Happiness and is currently working on her third, due out in 2020: Scent of Water, a devotional for times of spiritual bewilderment and grief.