Tuesday Mooney loves a puzzle. So when an eccentric billionaire drops dead, leaving behind a fiendish treasure hunt – open to anyone – to his fortune, Tuesday can’t resist.
Although she works best alone, she soon finds herself partnering up with best friend Dex (money manager by day, karaoke-zealot by night) and the mysterious Nathaniel Arches, eldest son of a wealthy family who held a long-running feud with the dead man.
As the clues are solved, excitement across the city reaches fever pitch – but nothing is as it seems, and the puzzle-within-a-puzzle holds something much darker than a vast fortune at its heart…
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to read a Gothic horror story when reading the opening chapter of this story. ‘A dying house’, ‘a strange man’, and a ‘dark, menacing ethos’ that grips you as open the door to the house. This story is more than that. Whilst, it is noir, there are ghosts, both spiritual, and those which inhabit your psyche, there is also a strange puzzle to solve, and a quirky heroine whose keen intelligence is the match for any ghost.
Tuesday Mooney is a loner, yet she resonates with those she comes into contact with, whether they be work colleagues, or her few friends. As a lover of the eccentric, she is a hit with me, and I enjoyed the magical, mystery adventure she undertakes with her self-appointed best friend, Dex and Nathaniel, the heir to a vast fortune.
The plot is full of vivid imagery, that brings the mystery hunt to life. The pacing is perfect and the characters authentic and richly described. Boston, the arts and various literary figures feature spectacularly, as you are treated to a spectacle of mystery, horror and dark humour.
Perfect for those who love quirky, surprising, satirical literature.
A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.
Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.
Jan has not. In his long search, he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?
Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heartwarming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).
For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The imagery in this book is clever and enhances the everyday occurrences, making them something special. The description of the beach and its users seen through Manjan’s eyes is the first example of this. The people and the cow, all have an opinion and a purpose, as they share events from their lives. The animals’ actions and thoughts mirror the people throughout the book.
Manjan’s story is poignant and serendipitous. The author makes many of his astute observations through the man who has spent much of his life waiting. There is a balance of humour and sadness, which lets the reader appreciate the emotion and comical aspects of the story. Retrospectively, you learn how Jan ends up the beach in Goa. The people he meets along the way are diverse, and all add to his life journey. The characters are well written, they are authentic and relatable, and make this character-driven tale interesting.
Even if like me, you haven’t visited the places in the book, or didn’t live through the late twentieth century, which I did. the immersive story lets you experience each place and time, through its animal and human characters, and vivid imagery.
The hopeful ending encompasses the quirky nature of the story, whilst achieving a sense of completeness.
Tim Ewins has enjoyed an eight-year stand-up career alongside his accidental career in finance.
He has previously written for DNA Mumbai, had two short stories highly commended and published in Michael Terence Short Story Anthologies, and enjoyed a very brief acting stint (he’s in the film Bronson, somewhere in the background). He lives with his wife, son and dog in Bristol. We Are Animals is his first novel.
Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…
Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap, she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?
Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
An excellent multi-generational look at friendship, romance, career, self-esteem, self-realisation, seen from 30 something, Ginny’s point of view. The writing style is contemporary, referencing current events and issues. It’s easy to read and focuses on the lives of Ginny and Cassie, who is in her fifties and experiencing the sharper end of being a media star.
It takes a while for us to meet Cassie, and to begin I wondered where the title ‘The Neighbours’, related to the story. When the two do meet, both women are experiencing all-time lows in their lives, and consequently are lashing out. Any kind of friendship seems unlikely, but Cassie needs someone to promote her positively and Ginny needs a job, so they start there, and out of a professional need, a worthwhile. mutually beneficial friendship grows.
Ginny is lovely but flawed, and meeting Cassie forces her to look at herself, and see how she can achieve her life goals. The relentless, unforgiving nature of modern life is explored, with its consistent toll on mental health, and self-worth. Like many good friendships, the two women are different in many ways, and this draws them together because they both have something positive to offer the other.
Humorous and poignant, this is a relevant story about life in the twenty-first century and the importance of friends, who care about you, and not your career or financial status.
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?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
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 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.
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.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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.
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.
There’s nothing sexy about her humdrum life as a mum. But is her husband’s crazy scheme a bit too exciting?
Sarah’s mind-numbing housewife existence is turning her brain to mush. With her third bun in the oven, this British mum is drowning under a mountain of playdates, bills, and head lice checks. But her man’s get-rich-quick idea of writing steamy novels isn’t her ideal way to dial up life’s passion.
Drew desperately wants a break from Sarah’s whinging. And if that means researching how to write racy books all by himself, then he’ll make the sacrifice. But as he finally warms Sarah up to the sultry side hustle, their R-rated private project gets publicly exposed…
With an office scandal brewing, it’s only a matter of time before gawking workers and a perfectly nosy PTA president turn them into social pariahs. Can Sarah and Drew earn some extra income from sizzling lit without falling prey to stiff gossip?
Erotic Fiction is a charming comedy for fans of humorous fiction. If you like sweet love stories, endearing characters, and dry British humour, then you’ll adore Kindle Storyteller Award Winner Hannah Lynn’s delightful tale.
Buy Erotic Fiction to slip into something a little more lovable today!
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed this very British romantic comedy, full of laugh out loud moments, poignant interludes and witty retort.
Sarah is a stay-at-home-mum, expecting her third child, and wondering if she will ever see beyond the sleepless nights and tantrums. Drew loves his family, but wants to give them more, he wants Sarah to smile again, and quite by chance he finds an unusual avenue to improve the family bank balance.
This is a well-paced, easy to read, tale about children, financial struggles, marriage, parenting and relationships. It is written with vivid characters and events, that lets you visualise what is happening, it’s almost like watching a quintessentially Britsih sitcom, familiar, funny and farcical.
The plot is simple but effective and provides the perfect foil for the excellent characters. Sarah and Drew are relatable and easy to like, the cast of supporting players are noteworthy and give the story, authenticity and quirkiness that is appealing.
If you enjoy finding the humour in everyday life, with just a touch of fantasy, this story is recommended.
Hannah Lynn is an award-winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015, she has since gone on to write the multi-award-winning The Afterlife of Walter Augustus – a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist, Fiona and the Whale – a thought-provoking romantic comedy and the delightfully funny and poignant Peas and Carrots series.
While she freely moves between genres, her novels are recognisable for their character-driven stories and wonderfully vivid description.
She is currently working on a YA Vampire series and a reimaging of a classic Greek myth.
Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she has spent twelve years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia and Europe. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Jordan.
Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.
Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.
Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.
Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Book 4, and the final one in the Willow Tree Hall series can be read as a standalone as Lily and Jack’s story is the focus. There are some familiar faces, for those of us who have read previous books in the series. and it’s good to reacquaint with those and see how their lives have moved on.
Lily and Jack, both have emotional baggage from their past to come to terms with, both individually and together. Their connection gives the story its slow-building sweet romance, with plenty of angst and anger to overcome.
The perilous state of the hall and the need to secure its future remains a perennial problem. Jack’s a catalyst in this, but friendship proves stronger than financial reward and makes you like him even more.
The authentically crafted, complex characters, and the delightful rural setting make this a lovely escapist story, perfect to read when you need a little me time.
Guest Post – Alison Sherlock – The Willow Tree hall Series – Inspiration
Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall is the last book in my Willow Tree Hall series. All of my previous books had been standalone but the idea for this series is to discover the lives and loves of those who live at Willow Tree Hall throughout all four books.
The idea for Willow Tree Hall actually came from watching Downton Abbey! I watched the programme and wondered what it would be like to live in a grand stately home in the present day. As I researched the subject, I realised that many of our country estates had fallen into disrepair due to the high running costs. And thus became the ‘eureka’ moment that began the plot for Book 1 in the series, Love Begins At Willow Tree Hall.
The renovation and transformation of Willow Tree Hall continue with Summer Secrets at Willow Tree Hall, A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall and finally with Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall, although you don’t need to read them in any particular order.
I was a tiny bit worried about writing a series but it’s actually been great fun to write as I loved having the chance to catch up with my characters each time I began a new book.
This time, the story concentrates on Lily who is the head gardener’s grandaughter. Lily has been living in London so when she is forced to head back to the local village, it’s all a bit of a shock for her!
The hero is Jack, Lily’s very first love and cause of some major heartbreak in her past. They haven’t seen each other for almost a decade and so Lily has a huge shock when, as her new role of housekeeper, they bump into each other at Willow Tree Hall!
But it’s not just Lily and Jack who need to find their happy ever after. This time, the whole of Willow Tree Hall itself is in danger …
In fact, I am heartbroken to be leaving the Harris family and all their friends behind with this last book. Will I be able to leave the village of Cranley and Willow Tree Hall behind me forever? Never say never is my motto!
Alison Sherlock enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Alison lives in Surrey with her husband and a daft golden retriever. TwitterFacebook