Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

If Clouds Were Sheep Sue Andrews 5*#Review @ShepherdessSue @CrumpsBarnStudio #AutoBiography #memoir #sheep #farming #motivational #BookReview #Paperback #IfCloudsWereSheep #Cotswolds #Dreams @MsLornaGray

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If Clouds Were Sheep…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This honest and humorous memoir gives a unique insight into sheep farming in the Cotswolds.

When their friendship leads to love, Sue is happy to share Aubrey’s boyhood dream of farming sheep. Sue shares life experiences, people who influenced their lives and the characterful animals integral to their farming dream.

It’s an engaging and immersive read, sharing life’s ups and downs, of farming sheep. Their dedication and respect for the animals are evident, and the reader soon realises that farming is a way of life rather than a job. Humorous and poignant anecdotes, fill the pages of this memoir. There are lots of interesting facts about sheep farming.

An inspiring and motivational memoir that proves dreams can be chased and won.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

A Country Dilemma Sasha Morgan 5* Review @Aria_Fiction @SashaMorgan_ #Romance #Village #Rural #Relationships #SecondChance #BlogTour #BookReview

For Christie Newbury, moving to the Cotswolds as the new owner of The Templar, a quaint countryside inn, was supposed to be a dream come true. But then her husband drops a bombshell that turns her life upside down.

Architect Daniel James has just one month to find the perfect home. When his search takes him to the village of Treweham, his instant attraction to the Templar’s beautiful – and newly single–owner is a distraction he can’t afford.

Christie needs an expert’s eye. Daniel needs a place to stay. It’s only a business deal – but it has never been more tempting to mix business with pleasure…

Welcome back to Treweham, a village of scandal and secrets.

Amazon UK Apple GooglePlay Kobo

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series, and ‘A Country Dilemma’, is a fitting ending to the trilogy. In many ways, this is my favourite book, perhaps because I am familiar with many of the characters, yet still, get to enjoy a new story, with new characters too. The story is standalone, and you are given the necessary backstory to enjoy it, but it’s such a good series, for those who like country life, with all its peculiarities. Treat yourself, and read all three books.

The main focus of this story is Christie the new owner of The Templar, and Daniel, a soon to be single dad who wants a good place to bring up his daughter. The attraction is instant, but the conflicts are many, and there is much angst and a veritable roller-coaster of emotions before the resolution.

The style of this story is a fusion of romance and bonkbuster romance. The romance is sensual, rather than gentle, but it fits with the contemporary storyline, and works well, especially for those, like me, who enjoy Zara Stonely, Fiona Walker and Jilly Cooper books.

Believable, complex characters, who fit the setting, without becoming stereotypical. A picturesque, recognisable, rural setting. Coupled with a simple, but effective plot, make this an enjoyable, escapist read, written in an easy to read style full of visual imagery.

Writing a series – Guest Post by Sasha Morgan

The beauty of writing a series is that you can really allow your characters to grow and develop.  You’ve more scope, without the boundaries of just a single novel.  Very often ideas spring from one story, which can nicely lead into the sequel, and so on.

I think it’s good to have some form of continuity.  When picking up a book from a sequel, it’s like reacquainting yourself with old friends and re-connecting.  Familiar places, events and characters give a sense of reassurance and help the reader settle into a pleasing read; because if you liked the first story, then chances are you’ll also enjoy the ones that follow.

I think it’s important though for each book to also read as a stand-alone in its own right.  As sequels aren’t always read in the right order, it could prove rather confusing and a touch disorientating if the story was relying on the reader to have read the previous books.  Very often readers aren’t even aware that a certain book is in fact part of a sequel, as reviews have proved.

It’s crucial to pitch the right amount of background knowledge.  Enough to fill in the reader, but not appear too repetitive.  Also, this enables the reader to want to read all the books in the series – they’ve grown attached to the characters and want to discover their own storylines.

The only downfall in writing a series is having to say goodbye to the characters when you’ve finally completed writing it.  I’ve just finished the last, ‘A Country Dilemma’ is the final book in the Treweham Hall series.  I’ll so miss Tobias Cavendish-Blake and the goings-on at Treweham Hall, not to mention slipping into The Templar for a glass of fizz and spying on the locals.  They’ve become real to me!

I’ve just started a new book, this time set in rural Lancashire where I’m from.  Hopefully, this will be the bedrock for a whole new series.

Sasha Morgan

Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one

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Read my reviews of the other books in the series:

A Country Scandal (Formerly Scandal), A Country Rivalry

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery

The Vicarage Murder Faith Martin 5*#Review @FaithMartin_Nov @JoffeBooks #MonicaNobleDetective #MurderMystery #CozyMystery #VicarsWife #TheCotswolds

IN A QUIET COTSWOLD VILLAGE ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE Monica Noble is throwing a party to welcome the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret and her cheating husband Sean, who’s a celebrity chef. Also on the list are an Oxford university professor, a 40-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms.

Then as the drinks are flowing, a shotgun blast rings out. One of the guests is found dead.

DCI Dury and Sergeant Jim Greer are soon on the scene and discover that the victim had many enemies. Almost all the guests harbour secrets and motives for murder. Even Monica’s daughter comes under suspicion. When another villager is strangled to death nearly a week later, the stakes are raised. Can Monica help the local detectives save her daughter and solve the murders before anyone else pays the ultimate price?

MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I read so many books, but I do love a good murder mystery to escape and relax with. This revamped series from Faith Martin, (formerly published under the pen name Joy Cato), is a perfect example.

Monica, the vicar’s wife has left her high-powered advertising career and the glamour of London because she fell in love with a country vicar. It has to be said that the vicar is charming, clever and compassionate, and even though there is an age difference, they are compatible in every way.

The garden party is the perfect setting for a murder, and the author doesn’t disappoint. The cast of characters are flawed and in some cases unlikeable, but they are relatable. It’s not hard to spot the most likely person to be murdered. Finding the murderer is not so easy, as the detectives and later Monica discover. The plot twists again when it seems resolved. making the ending a surprise.

A lighthearted, cosy style murder mystery, with a clever, unassuming amateur sleuth and a vibrant, twisty plot. No wonder ‘The Cotswolds’ is so sought after.

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

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime

Death at Beacon Cottage – A Sukey Reynolds Mystery Book 3 – 4* #Review @bookouture @BettyRowlandsFP #PublicationDay #CozyMystery #Crime #SOCO #SukeyReynolds

The sun breaks through the clouds to shine on a little cottage where a mossy path leads to the front door, but inside something terrible has happened…

Police photographer Sukey Reynolds is looking forward to a quiet weekend gardening at home when she gets a call that there has been a shocking break-in at a local manor house. Once she begins to gather evidence, Sukey realises that this is the latest in a spate of well-crafted burglaries in the Cotswolds. Someone is targeting expensive houses with valuable art collections…

Thankfully, the police soon have a suspect in custody. But, during questioning, he suddenly catches a glimpse of Sukey, turns deathly pale and calls out to her. Sukey is sure she has never met this man before… Is this a bizarre joke, or is there a stranger out there who is Sukey’s perfect double in every way?

Just as Sukey begins to suspect she’s being followed, the police are baffled by a spate of local murders. With the body count rising, and the police unsure of where to turn, is Sukey herself a clue in this strange case? Can she unmask the killer before she becomes the next victim?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I missed out on the second book in the Sukey Reynolds series, but no matter, this third book reads well as a standalone and is an enjoyable read.

Sukey comes to the fore as the main protagonist in this story. Art thefts and murder spoil the idyllic Cotswold’s setting, and Sukey becomes an integral part of the mystery when a suspect thinks she is someone else. This leads Sukey and her family into the direct line of fire and makes this an exciting story.

Again cozy mystery and police procedural are fused together to produce an intriguing, well-characterised story, set in the late nineties. The retro setting adds to the story’s ambience.

Looking forward to more adventures in Book 4.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery

Murder in a Country Garden – 5* Review – Betty Rowlands @bookouture @BettyRowlandsFP #MurderMystery #cozymystery #MelissaCraigMysteries #publicationday

A perfect country garden is full of flowers and gently buzzing bees… But the man lying dead beneath the trees can no longer see the beautiful scene.

Melissa Craig is thrilled that summer has arrived. She has decided to give up her career as an amateur sleuth and enjoy a quiet life in her beautiful cottage. The only digging in Melissa’s life now happens in her garden.

However, when a keen beekeeper is found dead, covered in multiple stings, her new resolve is tested. As she gets to know the family of the dead man, she realises he was no saint. Could someone have possibly wanted him dead? Could this be a very clever murder?

As Melissa starts to probe the victim’s friends and acquaintances, another member of the family is also stung to death. Who could have turned the bees against their keeper? And when will they strike again?

With the residents of Upper Benbury now fearful to open their windows to the summer air, and the police treating the deaths as accidental, Melissa must solve this case herself. To find the killer with the sharpest sting, she may have to delve deep into the hive…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

After reading book one in this series ‘Murder at Hawthorn Cottage’, I said in my review’ that the book is ‘The quintessential cozy mystery… the storyline is fast-paced and engaging… builds to an adrenaline fuelled ending, full of action and powerful imagery. An enjoyable, escapist read that I suspect may become my secret addiction.’.

Now, after reading book twelve ‘Murder In A Country Garden’ the end of the series, all these things are still true, and since I have read twelve books in under eight months the stories are addictive.

If you enjoy dastardly crimes, committed in beautiful country settings, with larger than life characters, who all have secrets, but are not all murderers this series is for you.

Melissa Craig is the perfect reluctant detective, with sound knowledge of crime, and how its perpetrators are motivated, from her career as a crime novelist. Melissa is perfectly placed to discover the truth behind the crimes she discovers.

The last book in the series can be read as a standalone, as the story is complete and the main protagonist and characters are well described. The plot is clever and full of twists and the family where the deaths have occurred very mysterious. For fans of the series, we get to enjoy the final instalments of developments in Melissa’s private life, which adds depth and authenticity to this likeable retro cozy murder mystery.

This is an enjoyable end to a lovely series.

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

Murder in the Dining Room – 5* #Review – Betty Rowlands @bookouture @BettyRowlandsFP

A grand old house soaks up the golden summer sun… but inside the dining room, something dreadful has happened.

Melissa couldn’t be happier that summer has arrived. She’s delighted to have her mother back by her side, and she is extending her beloved Hawthorn Cottage so her new family can live together.

Meanwhile, Melissa’s mother Sylvia is back in good health and enjoying a brief stay at a stately retirement home. She loves getting to know the residents, until first a dog and then his owner are both found dead in the dining room. Like mother, like daughter, Sylvia decides to do a little investigating of her own.

Convinced that the deaths are suspicious, Sylvia starts probing her fellow residents, trying to find out who might have wanted the dog and its owner dead. Could it be the once-married couple, or the glamorous actors or the harassed manager of the home?

When one of Sylvia’s friends falls ill in suspicious circumstances, Melissa realises her mother has rattled someone, but who? And what happens if the killer realises they’ve been rumbled? Will Sylvia find herself meeting a villain in the dining room? And can Melissa find the culprit before another life is taken?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

It seems that Melissa’ Craig’s talent for becoming embroiled in murder mystery may have been inherited from her mother Sylvia. Whilst convalescing in a retirement home, Sylvia is certain that the death of a beloved pet and then its owner is not from natural causes.

This is quirky murder mystery is set in a retirement community, Melissa’s mother like many there is a temporary resident but she soon makes her presence felt. The plot is fast-paced with many possible suspects and shows older people in a refreshingly positive light.

It is Sylvia, Melissa’s mother who is the main sleuth in this story, which gives it an added dimension. Melissa worries about her mother’s emotional state, can her revelations be trusted or are they the result of her recent surgery?

This is an enjoyable read with cameos from favourite characters and a rekindling of the mother and daughter relationship for Melissa and Sylvia. A lovely escapist read, which lets you test out your detective skills.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery

Murder In Langley Woods- 5* Review -Betty Rowlands – @bookouture @BettyRowlandsFP

A body is found near a picture-perfect Cotswolds village… but the upstanding local residents couldn’t possibly be involved, could they?

Murder is the very last thing on Melissa Craig’s mind when one of her neighbours pops in to complain loudly about a minor local robbery. She’s far too busy thinking about her next book…

But when the evening paper lands, there is a shocking headline. A young woman’s body has been found in the nearby woods, and it seems the local robbery may offer a crucial clue. Suddenly the whole village is talking about the murder, but none of Melissa’s neighbours has come forward to say they know who the victim is.

Convinced that the police have got the wrong end of the stick, Melissa can’t resist doing some more digging. When she finds a photograph of the dead girl at her former family home, she realises this is the clue she needs, if only she can find out who took the picture…

Melissa finds an exciting new lead and rushes to follow it. But might she be walking into a trap? Can she work out the truth before she puts herself in harm’s way?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

So lovely to be back in The Cotswolds with Melissa Craig and a cast of wonderful characters. The murders get darker and more menacing and even though this can be read as a standalone story. If like me you’re addicted to this cozy mystery series, you’ll enjoy the developments in Melissa’s life too.