Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

The Village of Lost and Found Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #Media #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds #SelfRealisation #TheVillageofLostandFound

Scandal hit party girl Lucy Conway needs to leave London fast, so she packs her bags and escapes to the sleepy village of Cranbridge to take care of her beloved Uncle Frank.

But the country village isn’t quite as idyllic as she remembers. To make matters worse, her Uncle’s pride and joy, The Cranbridge Times, is close to going out of business.

Editor-at-Large Tom Addison is having a crisis of confidence and needs help if the newspaper is going to survive. 

With time on her hands, can Lucy work some magic and together save the family newspaper?
Over a long, hot summer, friendships are made and hearts begin to heal. And, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps Lucy and Tom can find their very own new beginning…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has an engaging setting with realistically flawed characters. The protagonists are at a low point in their life but want to find happiness again. The Riverside Lane series focuses on female protagonists who need positive change in their lives and hope to find it in Cranbridge. The village needs rejuvenation, but there is an intrinsic community spirit that is attractive to newcomers. Lucy is the latest incomer someone who wants a quiet life and is happy to look after her uncle who she loves to find it.

Village life is under threat, and the newspaper is failing. Lucy has the skills to help, but she is low on self-esteem. This is a story of self-realisation, helping others and finding your true life path. The story is gently paced and is character-led. The simple plot satisfyingly showcases character development.

This is a heartwarming and uplifting read with humour, poignancy and romance.

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

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Extract from The Village of Lost and Found – Alison Sherlock

‘What on earth were you thinking?’ 

Lucy Conway glanced around the hospital ward and was not surprised to see the other male patients staring across at them after the shouting they had just heard. 

She looked back at Uncle Frank, who was sitting up in bed looking extremely agitated. ‘Could you please stop yelling and take it easy,’ she whispered to him. ‘Otherwise you’re going to have another episode or whatever it was.’ 

Frank Conway slumped back against the pillows, his face paling once more as his anger faded. ‘I’m fine,’ he told her with a wave of his hand. ‘And it wasn’t an episode. The tests will confirm that. I just tripped over my own feet and I’ll be back home tomorrow hopefully. So it’s nothing for you to worry about.’ 

‘Great,’ drawled Lucy, rolling her eyes. ‘Maybe we can go out for a ten-mile run later if you’re not too busy.’ 

He gave a grunt of humour in reply before following her gaze to where his heavily swollen foot was resting on top of the covers, covered in bruises. He had fallen badly earlier that day. ‘It’s only a small bone fracture,’ he said. But his sixty-seven-year-old face was etched with pain. 

Lucy glanced at the drip which was attached to his arm and felt a pang of fear. She didn’t know what she’d do if she ever lost Uncle Frank. He was her rock and the only member of the family that seemed to genuinely care about her these days. 

Lucy sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed. ‘I shouldn’t have said anything,’ she said, feeling cross with herself that she had upset him when he was already in hospital. 

Frank looked at her, his hazel eyes softening. ‘You’re my favourite niece. We talk nearly every day. You tell me everything, so why should today be any different?’ 

‘Because you’re in hospital today,’ she said, reaching out to take his hand and hold it tightly in hers. ‘By the way, I’m your only niece.’ 

He smiled at her. ‘You’re still my favourite though.’ 

They were both silent for a moment as Lucy relished the strength she drew from the hand squeezing hers. Her fingers touched the gold band on his third finger. Uncle Frank still wore his wedding ring, five years after losing his beloved wife. The loss of her Aunt Jane still weighed heavily on both of them. What they would have given to have her calming, comforting nature with them that afternoon. Lucy missed her more than ever in that moment. 

‘Jamie Watkins,’ murmured Frank, with a small shake of his head. 

‘Don’t upset yourself,’ said Lucy with a grimace. ‘He’s not worth it.’ 

‘He’s awful,’ said Frank, looking dismayed. ‘What were you even doing going out with someone like that?’ 

Lucy rolled her eyes. ‘Trying and failing to please my parents, as per usual.’ She had spent all of her thirty years attempting to achieve something that might be a kind of accomplishment in her parents’ eyes. Unfortunately being headline news in the tabloids wasn’t quite what they had in mind. 

Uncle Frank squeezed her hand again. ‘I guess they were hoping that your days of being in the news were long over.’ 

‘So was I,’ said Lucy, grabbing the newspaper which had been lying on Uncle Frank’s lap. 

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

Deadly Whispers in Lower Dimblebrook 5* #Review @juliebeewriter @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #VillageLife #Detective #Friendship #DeadlyWhispersinLowerDimblebrook

When Isabelle Darby moves to the delightfully cosy village of Lower Dimblebrook, she’s searching for peace and quiet as well as a chance to escape from heartbreak. After making friends with Fiona Lambourne, another newcomer to the village, Issie is left reeling when tragedy strikes and Fiona is murdered, the second wife Anthony Lambourne has lost in unfortunate circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local gossips insist that Fiona had been embroiled in an affair before her death, something which Issie knows not to be the case. Determined to clear her friend’s reputation and solve the mystery of the rumours, Issie takes on both the gossips and the handsome but stern DI Wainwright, making both friends and enemies along the way!

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

My Thoughts…

Issie is a character that you quickly like. A kind woman who is still recovering from a betrayal. The loss of a close friend is not something she can easily cope with, and the range of emotions she experiences are authentic and relatable.

There are lots of villagey characters, a multi-layered plot and a taciturn and sexy detective. He and Issie frequently clash over the murder investigation. Madeline Issie’s landlord and neighbour is an enigmatic character who disperses advice humour and alcohol in a china teapot throughout the story.

The plot keeps its secrets well and has lots of false leads. The ending is climatic and revealing in lots of ways and worthy of such an engaging tale.

Julie Butterfield

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Christmas Wedding At The Castle Eliza J. Scott 4*#Review #LifeontheMoors @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #RomCom #Festive #Weddings #Castle #YorkshireMoors #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

Do you believe in fate? Livvie Weatherill does…

This time last year, if anyone had told Livvie Weatherill she’d have fallen in love and would be making plans for her Christmas wedding to Zander Gillespie, she would have laughed in their face. If they’d gone on to say they’d be planning to have their wedding at the imposing Danskelfe Castle, she’d have laughed even louder!

But it would seem fate had plans for her…

Since moving to the pretty moorland village of Lytell Stangdale Livvie is happier than she’s ever been. She’s living with Zander and she’s working at her dream job as a wedding dress designer at Romantique with her friends, Kitty and Violet. It’s fair to say, she’s enjoying immersing herself in village life, from romantic walks in the countryside, to meeting friends at the quaint Sunne Inne. And she can’t think of anything better than rounding off the day cosying up with Zander.

Life is sweet.

Her blossoming friendship with Freda Easton, the endearing but reclusive elderly lady who lives down the lane, has taken everyone by surprise. But Freda has a secret and, in a turn of events no one could predict, she finds herself grateful for Livvie’s fierce loyalty, cementing their friendship further.

Just when things seem to be running smoothly, a face from the past arrives on the doorstep casting a shadow over Livvie’s wedding plans. Adding to the drama, an icy blast of Arctic air brings heavy snowfall to the village, covering the moors in a thick blanket of snow.

Is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges thrown at them? Will they get their magical Christmas wedding?

Join Livvie and Zander – and all the usual characters – for a sparkling Christmas full of love and laughter in Lytell Stangdale.

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

My Thoughts…

This is my first encounter with the villagers of Lytell Stangdale, and they certainly made me welcome. Great friendships, community-spirited and gossipy villagers, and an invitation to a romantic wedding at a castle.

The romance, and wedding planning and festive touches make this an easy and enjoyable read, but reality kicks in with a mystery to solve and conflict between the engaged couple. There’s a wonderfully portrayed labrador, adding to the story’s heartwarming quality.

If you haven’t read the others in the series do because I felt that I was missing out.

Eliza is proud to be a member of the RNA. She lives in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.

When she’s not reading or gardening, Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Her biggest weakness is ginger biscuits dunked in tea.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. She enjoys exploring the dynamics of female friendship, with a key feature of her books being how women pull together and support one another when things get tough.

Eliza’s novels will always have happy endings.

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

Death Remembered K.E.Coburn 4*#Review #ASleuthingClubMystery @KeCoburn @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #1950s #VillageLife #historical #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

Summer 1952.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

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

My Thoughts…

This 1950s village is the perfect setting for a naive but intelligent amateur sleuth and a slew of nasty letters and murder. Charity, the vicar’s daughter is desperate to leave the quiet village where she lives, nothing ever happens. The highlight of her week is the sleuthing club where they discuss crime fiction. Then her lovely father received a poison pen letter, and she decides to find out who has sent them.

Murder makes the investigation a police matter. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Charity has a tense relationship with the police detective that you suspect may improve with acquaintance and results. Full of clues, false leads and suspects this engaging story reflects the characters, society and village life in the 1950s well.

This first book is an entertaining and promising start to the Sleuthing Club series.

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on social media

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

The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds

A feel-good story of new beginnings set in a gorgeous country village


After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Jetting in from New York, Amber finds a run-down village, a heartbroken owner and a son at his wit’s end. Amber has her problems too. She’ s without a home and out of work but still feels she can help.

A sense of community pervades this story which deals with loss and learning to let go. There are gentle romance and second chances and plenty of drama too.

This is a character-driven story with relatable characters. Amber is immature in some ways, yet she is courageous and used to working outside her comfort zone. Josh is loyal but also resentful of his situation. Together they find a way forward that helps those they care about, the village and find love too.

This book is a heartwarming and uplifting start to a promising series. I can’t wait for the next one

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

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

A Village Murder Frances Evesham 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @FrancesEvesham #AHamHillMurderMystery @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #villagelife #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #AVillageMurder #BookReview #Somerset #RachelsRandomResources #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayMotivation

An English village can be deadly, when your past catches up with you…


In the beautiful rural Somerset village of Lower Hembrow, crammed full with English eccentrics, something is amiss…

Landscape gardener Imogen Bishop has spent the last thirty years trying to forget one fateful school night but when her estranged husband Greg Bishop is found dead in the grounds of her fathers Georgian hotel, danger threatens to overwhelm her.

Retired police officer Adam Hennessey, hoping for a peaceful life running his traditional Somerset country pub, finds himself drawn into the unfolding drama in the hotel across the road.

Imogen, Adam and Harley the stray dog form an unlikely partnership as they try to untangle a knot of secrets, solve a murder mystery, and bring a killer to justice.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I have to admit that cosy and murder mystery is my ultimate escapist read. This first book in ‘A Ham Hill Murder Mystery has an engaging village ethos, authentic characters and an intriguing murder mystery plot.

The mystery plot is layered and full of twists. The main protagonists are relatable and easy to like. The dog is the star of the show for me. The dynamic between Adam and Imogen is believable and promises to be a gripping series.

The rural setting contains all the recognisable village nuances. The people are equal parts nosy and supportive.

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. Boldwood plan to republish the complete series with the next new instalment due in Autumn 2020.  Frances is also starting a new cosy crime series set in rural Herefordshire with thefirst title being published in June 2020.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

A Perfect Cornish Escape Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #PorthmellowHarbour #Cornwall #Romance #UpLit #mystery #APerfectCornishEscape #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love Nate for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Escape to Cornwall with this emotional, uplifting read. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a lover of this series or are reading this as a standalone, it’s a great read.

Marina’s husband Nate disappeared at seas seven years ago. She has learnt to live again by focusing on her teaching and volunteer work. Having her cousin Tiff to stay as she runs from her imploding London life is just what she needs. Meeting Lachlan is unexpected and lovely, but both have painful pasts, which they need to overcome.

Tiff’s reputation is in ruins. After her lover’s betrayal, she’s sworn off men too. Dirk dislikes journalists, but he is irresistible at least physically. This is a tumultuous relationship full of anger and passion.

The main protagonists are likeable, and the romance is diverse and lovely. The community is full of colourful characters, some familiar. The Cornish setting is stunning and wild and provides the location for, the wave watchers and the lifeboat rescues.

There is plenty of conflict and twists, and even if you guess the main one, I did, it’s still an engaging, exciting romantic read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Sing Me A Secret Julie Houston 5*#Review @JulieHouston2 @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #guestpost #BlogTour #BookReview #SingMeASecret #Westenbury #WednesdayMotivation

The four Sutherland sisters have all had very different paths in life, but one secret and a slighty tense production of Jesus Christ Superstar are about to bring them all back together again…

When the news that pop-superstar Lexia Sutherland is returning to Westenbury, not everyone is thrilled by the news – including Lexia. There are too many memories she doesn’t need to face – or need re-surfacing. Meanwhile, Juno Sutherland just wants a little peace and quiet.

As the local village doctor, she’s got her priorities in order; kids, job, husband, tenacious pony, a role in the village musical… So when the sexy new locum turns up – and steals her office – the last thing she needed was to be hit with rising temperatures and an over-active imagination.

Will these sisters be able to uncover the past, deal with the future and put on the performance of a lifetime?

Return to Westenbury this spring and find out.

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

My Thoughts…

Relatable characters in an authentic village setting make this story captivating, humorous, poignant and romantic.

The Sutherland sisters grew up in the village and have gradually returned. All except for Lexia the youngest. Their family ripped apart by their parent’s infidelity and mental health issues, has a chance to heal with Lexia’s return. This story explores the sisters’dark secrets, mental health issues, and relationships sensitively.

The balance of laugh out loud and tear-jerking moments are perfect in this realistic story. Character-driven it’s absorbing, you believe in the characters and care what happens to them.

I loved the risque romance, the lovely Tilda and her quirky pets. Lexia’s story is sad and resonates. Thankfully the ending is positive for all the sisters.

Guest Post – Sing Me A Secret – Julia Houston

SING ME A SECRET returns to the village of Westenbury in West Yorkshire where Pandora Boothroyd, the self-appointed First Lady of the village, has put forward an application to The Really Useful Group – an actual organisation that gives permission for local rep. companies and choirs to perform the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The story was somewhat inspired by my own venture into musical theatre.

About fifteen years ago, the choir I’d sung with for several years, was given permission by The Really Useful Group to put on a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in Leeds Town Hall, the several hundred-strong choir taking the part of the chorus waving palm leaves and belting out the many songs, while Jesus and Judas were drafted in from another part of Yorkshire to strengthen the ranks.

And what a Jesus! I can’t even remember his name now but he was gorgeous, and at every weekly rehearsal we’d be asking, ‘Jesus, just look at Jesus. Is Jesus here yet? When’s Jesus going to do his bit? No Jesus tonight?’ We were all a little bit in love, starstruck even, by this talented young man who, during the day, was possibly a painter and decorator, a postman, a teacher – I really have no idea – but at every Monday rehearsal night was transformed into the son of God.

Similarly, when the characters from SING ME A SECRET are first introduced to their Jesus, there is much wide-eyed oohing and aahing amongst the women:

Everyone…’Pandora trilled, holding out an arm before kissing Jesus as if she were compering the Oscars. ‘Everyone, I want you to give a warm welcome to Brett Bailey. Brett is from Barnsley – he’s just finished a run of Joseph in Sheffield – but has agreed to travel over every week to be with us.’

‘Brett Bailey from Barnsley?’ Ariadne, at Juno’s side, who up until then had said very little throughout the proceedings, gave a loud bark of laughter and then started giggling, unable to stop.

‘Oh, but look at him,’ Izzy sighed. ‘Look at Jesus. Jesus, he can lay his hands on me anytime.’

At our actual rehearsals in Leeds, it appeared that someone was missing: seemingly we didn’t have a Herod. During rehearsals, at the point where Herod should be going for his one big number – historically camped up and wearing an over-the-top costume – our musical director, Gary, would simply pass over Herod’s entrance and go on to the next. It wasn’t until the dress rehearsal, when we’d almost forgotten that Herod even existed in the musical, that he made an appearance, flamboyant in yellow suit and purple wig. To begin with, we couldn’t quite work out who was hiding under the wig until he started to sing and we realised it was Gary, the musical director himself. He was brilliant, really superb, and I’ve recreated this scene in SING ME A SECRET when the village have lost their first Herod and a new manifestation then makes an appearance in yellow suit and purple wig, the rest of the choir at first unable to work out just who it is up camping it up on the stage.

What was so great for me, when writing this story, was losing myself once again in the many fantastic numbers in this musical, almost waving a virtual palm leaf as I wrote, remembering not only our very own gorgeous and brilliant Jesus, but my eight-year-old son constantly singing around the house:

Jesus Christ, Superstar

Six feet tall and he wears a bra.

Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle bestseller top100 general, and a Kindle bestseller Number1. She is married, with the two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

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

Burying Bad News Paula Williams 4* #Review #Much Winchmoor Mysteries @PaulaWilliams44 @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #cozymystery #MurderMystery #VillageLife #Somerset

One severed head, two warring neighbours – and a cold-blooded killer stalks Much Winchmoor. There’s the murder made to look like a tragic accident, and a missing husband. Could he be victim number two?

The tiny Somerset village is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country, and once again, reporter/barmaid/dog walker Kat Latcham finds herself reluctantly dragged into the investigation.

Things are looking bad for Ed Fuller, the husband of one of Kat’s oldest friends. Kat’s convinced he’s innocent – but she’s been wrong before.

Has Kat come across her biggest challenge yet?

Fans of Janet Evanovich could well enjoy this “funky, modern day nosey detective” transported to the English countryside. The third Much Winchmoor mystery is, as always, spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Much Winchmoor, is a quirky, country village in Somerset. It’s full of eccentric, gossipy characters, and more murders than you would expect in such a sleepy village. This is the third in the series, but there is sufficient narrative on the inhabitants, for it to be enjoyed as a standalone read.

The characters are relatable. The picturesque setting at odds with the heinous crimes. The insights into village life are astute and accurate. The plot has a multitude of suspects and false leads and an intelligent, likeable and an unlikely amateur sleuth. This is a winning mix, for an English murder mystery, and it works well here.

Paula Williams

Paula Williams is living her dream.  She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her various plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it and she has sold over 400 short stories and serials both in the UK and overseas.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but now writes novels as well.  She is currently writing the Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries, set in a village not unlike the one she lives in –  although as far as she knows, none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies.

A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.

She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum.  And she blogs about her books, other people’s books and, quite often, Dalmatians at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com. 

She gives talks on writing at writing festivals and to organised groups and has appeared several times of local radio.  In fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

But, as with all dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Starting Over At Acorn Cottage Kate Forster 5* #Review @kateforster @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #UpLit #Friendship #Romance #DomesticAbuse #StartingOver #Lies #Secrets #Serendipity #VillageLife #Bereavement #Forgiveness

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

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

My Thoughts…

A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places.

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story’s major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical. The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them.

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

When your dreams come trueGuest Post – Kate Forster

When I was a child I had a book called Lavinia’s Cottage by John S. Goodall. It was a pop-up book and it was my go-to book when I felt unwell or things in my small life felt too complicated. It was written for the illustrator’s granddaughter when she was four, the story, told entirely in pictures, was about a little girl who lived in a country cottage, with her grandmother. Because Lavinia is almost well from the measles, two of her friends and a grandmother visit Lavinia and her mother at their cottage. Lavinia spots them as they walk up and pops out of bed to show them all the wonderful things in the attic. There is a cupboard filled with old toys, and a rocking horse and at the end of the visit we know everyone has a grand time.

This is the front cover.

A close up of a sign

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Lavinia’s Cottage – John S. Goodall

When I was an adult, I wrote a book about a woman who is hurt and betrayed and who buys a pink cottage that needs to be fixed and healed, just like her heart. I forgot about Lavinia’s Cottage until I saw the beautiful cover and it all came flooding back.

I had made my dream come true, just like Clara, the heroine of my new book.

This book was restorative to write. It is book about looking for a simpler life, about letting the ghosts of the past lead you to your true place of belonging, so they can find their peace and you can find your own inner calm. My pink cottage fantasy finally came true.

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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