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

Mystery at Lovelace Manor (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 8) Clare Chase 5* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #secrets #family #lies #betrayal #EveMallowMystery #MysteryatLovelaceManor

Lovelace Manor has a famous past… but when a historian becomes history at its annual open day, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case!

Everyone in Saxford St Peter flocks to Lovelace Sunday, the festival celebrating the romantic history of the beautiful Lovelace Manor. This year will be even more exciting, as famous TV historian Cammie Harington is planning a spectacular stunt with a hot-air balloon for her new show.

Eve Mallow jumps at the chance to volunteer – it’s a great people-watching opportunity. But she soon realises there is no love lost between Cammie and the family who own the manor… so why did Cammie agree to come?

When Cammie’s hot-air balloon tumbles from the sky, Eve feels sure this is no accident. Alongside dachshund Gus, she sets to work investigating the mystery, piecing together all the odd things she’s seen and heard.

Could the killer be discreet Diana, lady of the manor, who fell out with Cammie years ago? Or Diana’s dashing brother Sebastian, whose dark secret Cammie knew? Why was the loyal gardener following Cammie around? And had Cammie uncovered something explosive about the manor’s past, as she claimed?

When someone breaks into Cammie’s cottage and a priceless Lovelace heirloom goes missing, Eve is sure she’s on the right track… but can she solve the case, before the killer brings her crashing down?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Mystery at Lovelace Manor sees Eve helping out at a local manor house’s annual festival. The manor has a romantic past, but the current owner, newly widowed Diana, struggles with the upkeep, and her stepbrother is of little help. When Cammie, a celebrity historian, meets with an untimely accident, Eve’s investigation is increasingly dangerous and twisted.

There are many motives and suspects in this cosy mystery. It immerses the reader in the story through amateur sleuth Eve’s methodical investigations. The characters are believably flawed, and they all have credible motives for the murders. The ending is exciting and menacing.

I enjoyed the characters and clever plotting in this engaging and entertaining cosy mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel (Book 5) – Read my review

Mystery at the Church (Book 6) – Read my review

Mystery at Magpie Lodge (Book 7)- Read my review

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

A Village Secret Julie Houston 5* #Review @JulieHouston2 @HoZ_Books @AriaFiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #relationships #Secrets #Village #Community #AVillageSecret

When Jennifer goes up to Cambridge University with her head full of the Romantic Poets, she never dreams that she will find her very own Byron. But then she meets gorgeous actor Laurie Lewis and finds herself living a real-life love poem.

Fifteen years and two children later, Jennifer and Laurie’s relationship is starting to feel more like an epic tragedy. After a series of revelations turn her world upside down, Jennifer will do anything to keep her family together – even if it means moving hundreds of miles away to Laurie’s childhood home in Westenbury, Yorkshire.

As she reluctantly enters into village life – complete with interfering in-laws, new friends and a surprise delivery of alpacas – Jennifer is amazed to find herself feeling happy for the first time in years. But the village holds one last, devastating secret and Jennifer must decide once and for all what she wants her future to hold.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from ‘Head of Zeus – Aria.

My Thoughts…

Jennifer met Laurie at Cambridge in her final year. An English Literature student, she is obsessed with the romantic poets, particularly Byron, and when she first sees Laurie, for her, he is Bryon personified. Laurie has northern roots, hence the connection with Westenbury, but his looks are his only saving grace. He values only himself. Jennifer is besotted, and her life becomes inevitably intertwined with Laurie’s. The connections with Westenbury are initially tenuous, but heading north is the only way to survive as a family when their life implodes.

I enjoyed reading about flawed characters, even Laurie, who is almost impossible to like. It is frustrating to see how Jennifer gives up her life to Laurie but rewarding when with the help of new friends and family, she realises what he truly is and realises her worth.

The village weaves its addictive mix of community, humour and romance into a story with surprising twists, keeping the reader engaged and satisfied.

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

Murder on the Pier Merryn Allingham 5*#Review @MerrynWrites @bookouture #Historical #CrimeFiction #cosycrime #cozymystery #1950s #Sussex #village #rural #BookReview #FloraSteeleMystery #MurderonthePier #KindleUnlimited


Meet Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective.

Sussex, 1955: When bookshop owner Flora Steele goes for a walk along the pier she isn’t expecting to spot a young woman’s body in the stormy waters below. And she’s shocked to discover the victim is someone she knows…

Convinced the death was not an accident, Flora persuades attractive local crime writer Jack Carrington to help her find out what really happened to poor Polly Dakers, a popular young woman with a complicated love life, who’d been at the heart of village life in Abbeymead.

Jack is reluctant to get involved in another murder case at first but even he can’t deny that Polly’s fall seems fishy. An argument at a party, a missed hairdresser’s appointment and a red woollen bobble found on the wooden boards where Polly last stood provide a trail of clues…

As they grow closer to solving the puzzling mystery, the unlikely pair stumble upon several surprising secrets about those closest to Polly. A number of potential suspects begin to emerge. But who really disliked Polly enough to kill her? Was it Raymond, her jilted first love? Harry, her latest beau? Or Evelyn, Harry’s jealous estranged wife?

As the investigation brings them closer to the truth, Flora is intent on unmasking the killer – but will her stealthy sleuthing lead her down a dangerous path?

An utterly delightful cosy crime novel set in the fictional Sussex village of Abbeymead. 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Murder on the Pier is book two in the Flora Steele Mystery series, and as I already know the characters and the village, it was even better than book one. It’s a complete story, but the series is lovely and quick to read, so it’s best to start at the beginning.

The story immerses the reader in the place and time. The plot has numerous suspects and a definite sinister ethos culminating in a breathtaking finale. Flora is a complex and engaging amateur sleuth, and her partnership with Jack is believable and exciting.

Read my review of the Bookshop Murder

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

The Bookshop Murder Merryn Allingham 4*#Review @MerrynWrites @bookouture #Historical #CrimeFiction #cosycrime #cozymystery #1950s #Sussex #village #rural #BookReview #TheBookshopMurder #FloraSteeleMystery #KindleUnlimited

Bookshop owner Flora Steele escapes the sleepy English village of Abbeymead through the adventures in the stories she sells. Until one morning, everything changes when she discovers a body amongst her own bookshelves…

The young man with the shock of white-blond hair lay spread-eagled on the floor, surrounded by fallen books. His hand reached out to the scattered pages, as though he was trying to tell her something.

But who is he? How did he come to be killed in Flora’s ordinary little bookshop? Flora finds out he was staying at the Priory Hotel, and when the gardener suddenly dies in its beautiful grounds only a few days later, she is certain that something untoward is happening in her quiet village by the sea.

But are the two deaths connected? And is someone at the hotel responsible – the nervous cook, the money-obsessed receptionist, or the formidable manageress?

Determined to save her beloved bookshop’s reputation and solve the murder mystery, Flora enlists the help of handsome and brooding Jack Carrington: crime writer, recluse and her most reliable customer.

As the unlikely duo set about investigating the baffling case, guilty faces greet them at every door. And they soon realise there’s more than one person hiding secrets in Abbeymead…

The start of a brand-new murder mystery series featuring bookshop owner Flora Steele and crime writer Jack Carrington.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

The Bookshop Murder is the first book in the Flora Steele mysteries, set in a Sussex village in 1955. Flora inherited the bookshop and her cottage from Aunt Violet, recently deceased and an important influence on Flora’s young life.

I like how the story draws the reader into the world of 1955 Sussex village life. The village’s characters introduced through Flora’s viewpoint believably create a sense of gossipy community. The mystery has numerous suspects and twists, and the anticipation builds to a satisfyingly suspenseful ending.

The reader gets to know Flora, Jack, and all the villagers in the course of the story, and the connection between Flora and Jack is noteworthy. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

The Earl’s Inconvenient Houseguest 5*#Review #AVeryVillageScandal @VirginiaHeath_ @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #Romance @rararesources #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #BlogBlitz #BookReview #TheEarlsInconvenientHouseguest

The earl she loved to hate…until she stayed in his mansion!

Sophie Gilbert has thwarted the standoffish new earl’s plans to sell his country estate and the quaint village which forms part of it. But when disaster strikes and he offers her refuge, she must reconsider everything about this vexing, determined man. After the heartbreak in her past, it’s a revelation to feel her pulse racing and her body yearning for his touch…

Books2Read

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

My Thoughts…

The first book in the ‘A Very Village Scandal’ series is the story of a reluctant earl and a determined villager. Rafe inherits an earldom after his cousin’s demise. He decides to sell so he can live the life he wants, but the villagers have other ideas. After being cast out by her father, Sophie lives at her aunt’s house. She is determined to help the village she loves and leads the opposition to the sale of the village.

Sophie and Rafe have cleverly crafted characters with past hurts that define their present selves and make them wary of love. The chemistry between intensifies with proximity and as they get to know each other. Their exchanges are often humorous, but their romantic road is conflicted.

The supporting characters are integral to the story and add vivacity.

Great characters, humour, poignancy and gentle romance make this an engaging read.

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace insomnia and start writing them down. Twenty books and two Romantic Novel of the Year Award nominations later, and it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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

Mystery at Magpie Lodge (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 7) Clare Chase 5* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #secrets #family #EveMallowMystery #ghosthunter #MysteryatMagpieLodge

After the black sheep of the Fulton, family is found dead, the village of Saxford St Peter is quick to blame it on his past misdeeds. But Eve Mallow is on the hunt for someone closer to home…

When the down-on-his-luck Emory Fulton moves into crumbling Magpie Lodge and starts running historical tours, the locals are none too pleased. He’s inventing grisly tales about their lovely little village and disturbing everyone’s peace.

But then he’s found dead in his bath, and everyone is suddenly running scared. Could something strange be happening? After all, the murder mirrors one of Fulton’s stories about Saxford’s dark past…

But Eve Mallow is sure the answers lie in much more recent events.

Accompanied by her stalwart dachshund sidekick Gus, she starts to dig a little deeper. Could it be Fulton’s snobbish bigwig brother or the suspicious local academic? Why was his goddaughter handing him mysterious parcels, and why wouldn’t his sister-in-law let him in her house?

As Eve unravels the secrets of the living and the dead, one thing is for sure: Fulton was a haunted, hunted man. And if Eve doesn’t crack the case soon, she might find whoever wanted to keep Fulton quiet on her trail too…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Eve is ever the perfect amateur sleuth with an inquiring mind and lots of contacts in the village. As the obituary writer, she has a foolproof reason for asking questions. Surprisingly revelations mean that earthly suspects supersede the ghostly ones. The latest Eve Mallow mystery has a distinctly ghostly feel to it. Ghost tours at Magpie lodge are upsetting the villagers. When the instigator dies, Eve has to write his obituary and gets the chance to investigate the reasons for his death with the help of Gus and Robin.

I like the clever detecting, great plot twists and vibrant characters in this engaging cosy mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel (Book 5) – Read my review

Mystery at the Church (Book 6) – Read my review

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

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

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

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

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

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

A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. 

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

The perfect read for lovers of classic mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel – Read my review

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, New Books

The Murders at Foxglove Close Rose Temple 4*#Review @Hodder_Studio @HodderBooks A Neighbourhood Watch Mystery @HodderPublicity #cosymystery #rural #Sussex #MurdersatFoxgloveClose

The sleepy village of Little Cote was meant to be a quieter pace of life for ex-Met PC Jemima Cotton. But she soon discovers, here a petty rivalry can erupt into full-blown murder . . .

Police Officer Jemima Cotton expected Little Cote to be a quieter pace of life. But, unlike London, everyone knows everyone, and beyond the cake sales and coffee mornings, tea parties and village fetes, the neighbours aren’t all the best of friends . . .

When Jemima is unpacking her mugs and teabags in her new home on Foxglove Close, she’s called to attend her first murder investigation. She’s excited, until she discovers it’s only a few doors down from her. And she hasn’t even met her new neighbours yet! As she steps out of her house in full uniform, Jemima can feel the eyes on the back of her neck, and she can see the curtains and blinds twitching.

But the crucial question is why did the lonely gentleman at the end of the road get murdered, eating dinner alone at his garden table, tucking into a new bottle of Chablis? As she digs deeper into the murder, Jemima discovers that here in Little Cote, underneath the surface, tensions bubble away . . . and the smallest vendetta can erupt into full blown murder.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton -Hodder Studio via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An enjoyable cosy mystery set in a Sussex village with a rural police officer as the main protagonist. This is not a traditional police procedural, although the authenticity of the procedures is evident. This is a study of human nature, village dynamics tinged with humour, mystery and romance.

PC Cotton is an engaging protagonist and a resourceful sleuth. The rural police team are convincingly portrayed. The vibrantly created villagers provide Jemima Cotton with many suspects and constant interference in her personal life.

The plot is well thought-out and, this promises to be an entertaining cosy mystery series with noteworthy originality.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

Summer at the French Olive Grove 5*#Review Sophie Claire @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Family #Friendship #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #BookReview #Holiday #France #SummerAtTheFrenchOliveGrove

Filmmaker Lily’s life is all about work and adventure. So when she suffers an accident on her travels and finds herself recuperating in the quiet French seaside village where she spent her childhood, she can’t wait to escape. Not least because Olivier – Lily’s childhood friend and former crush, who she has spent the last thirteen years avoiding – is staying next door . . .

Strong-minded masterbaker Olivier is happily settled in St Pierre, preparing to marry and put down roots. But Lily’s return to the village risks turning his carefully-laid plans upsidedown, and as the pair rediscover their familiar rivalry and fun, sparks fly.

Is Lily really as fearless and independent as she seems on the surface – or is she just running from the past? And what if Olivier is the only one who can teach her what it really means to be brave?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Lily is an intrepid filmmaker with a conscience. Whilst filming at a coffee cooperative run by women in Columbia filming Lily is courageous in protecting the women when they are threatened but doesn’t come out of the incident unscathed. Returning to her grandmother in Provence has bittersweet memories, especially when she is met at the airport by Olivier, her best friend and teenage crush.

The friends to lovers romance between Lily and Olivier is conflicted. It develops realistically with many heartwarming, humorous and heartbreaking moments. Lily’s grandmother is a lovely character who has always positively influenced her life. The story flows well with an absorbing setting and believable cast of supporting characters.

The romantic tension is intense, and the reader realises how important the couple’s friendship is. Lily and Olivier undergo significant character development until they reach a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

Friendship, family romance and self-realisation make this an engaging summer read.