#Blog Tour #Review : Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green. @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources 

I am thrilled to be on the blog tour for this book, the latest in the Little Duck Pond Cafe series. I’ve read both previous books, though only reviewed one (you can find it here , so was delighted when I heard there was a blog tour happening for another in the series. Many thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be on the blog tour. You can follow the rest of the tour from the banner at the bottom of the post.

Blurb:  Fen has always hated being the centre of attention. 

She loves her new job, working behind the scenes at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and baking the scrumptious cakes that have helped its reputation soar. But frankly, she’d rather scrub the public toilet floor with a toothbrush than have to come out and talk to the customers. She’s always been happy to stay in the background as long as she has a good supply of books to escape into. That’s her kind of romance – the fictional sort where she can read about other people taking a chance on love, but she doesn’t have to risk her own heart. But that was before Ethan Fox arrived in the village and turned her world upside down. Ethan is a leading light in the local amateur dramatics theatre company and Fen knows he’s way out of her league.  

But when the popular village Christmas pantomime hits a crisis, Fen and Ethan find themselves thrown together. Can Fen overcome her shyness and find the courage to step on stage and save the day?

Purchase Links 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Little-Duck-Pond-Cafe-ebook/dp/B07DN5B1NL

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Little-Duck-Pond-Cafe-ebook/dp/B07DN5B1NL

My Review: Ok, so I’ve already mentioned that I’ve read the previous two books, and clearly enjoyed them otherwise I wouldn’t have been involved in this tour. I signed up for this because I was almost 100% certain I would enjoy this book too and I wasn’t wrong. Although all three stories are novellas, rather than longer length novels, a lot happens during the course of each one and this latest is no exception. 

The focus is mainly on Fen, the previous two books being mainly about Ellie and Jaz, and we start with Fen being her usual shy self and not wanting to be involved in anything that involves her getting attention, all the while though she is also dealing with a massive crush on Ethan Fox, who starts the story playing Mr Darcy in a telling of Pride and Prejudice. I don’t do spoilers but this information is about 2 pages in and gives anyone who hasn’t met Ethan Fox, a clearer idea of why Fen is smitten with him. 

Although Fen and the Christmas panto is part of the story there is so much more to it than that. Ellie and Jaz have their own issues to deal with, as do various other characters. There is so much depth in these stories; I’ve seen some full-length novels with less depth than is in these and that is one of the things that made me want to read this book. Real life situations are dealt with carefully but honestly and realistically and have you barely noticing you are turning the pages because you are so keen to find out what happens next. The characters develop during each story and the village and the people in it are so real and well-written that it makes you want to visit, until you unfortunately remember that it’s not real. I have such a vivid picture of the village and the people, in my mind, that when I started reading this book I fell right back in there as if I had never been away.

When I reviewed Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe I thought there was only one more book to come but I was wrong. I discovered at the weekend that there is a fourth out in November and I’ve already pre-ordered it! If you weren’t sure whether to try this series or not that last sentence should tell you all you need to know as it’s not often I pre-order books these days, given how many I already have at home to read.


About the author:

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988 

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#BlogTour #Review : Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner. @Ronnie__Turner @HQDigitalUK #LiesBetweenUs

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Lies Between Us. Many thanks to the author and publishers for having me on this tour.

Blurb:  Will they ever learn the truth?

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.

Buy link: Amazon UK

My Review:  I have to admit when I started reading this book I wasn’t quite sure what to think. The style of writing was different from what I’m used to but I soon adapted and from then on I was hooked. The story gets off to an intriguing start and slowly draws you in, feeding you titbits about the characters and their lives until, before you know it, the pages are almost turning themselves and you’ve lost all sense of time and place. 

There are a few characters, and time periods, in this book and that could be confusing but to aid the reader the author has put the character name and date every time the character changes and that helps the story flow really well. 

The characters are the story, they are so well created that you can almost feel their emotions. There is a lot of menace around, between one character and the storyline affecting another and it ramps up the tension. This is definitely one of those books that could keep you reading into the night if you’re not careful.

For a debut author it’s a fabulous read and from here I can only see the next and following books being better and better. This is definitely a name to watch! 

About the author:

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, was published by HQ Digital in October 2018.

Find her on:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: http://www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40169201-lies-between-us

#BlogTour #Review : Ten Thousand Thunders by Brian Trent. @BrianTrent @FlameTreePress #RandomThingsTours

Today I’m not only taking part in a blog tour for an author that is new to me but also for a publisher that I’ve only discovered through this tour. Huge thanks therefore to both the author and the publisher, and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for having me on this blog tour. 

Blurb:  Having just been killed in a mysterious shuttle explosion, Gethin Bryce is back to uncover what happened. An unusually gifted investigator with the InterPlanetary Council, Gethin is tasked with seeking out the truth behind unexplained anomalies that lie outside IPC control.  His investigation takes him from the luxurious enclaves of Earth’s elite, to the battered Wastelands beyond civilization’s protective thrall. Linking up with an inquiry team from a planet-spanning corporate powerhouse, he also befriends a grim and reluctant outlander who has an important piece of the puzzle―evidence of a sadistic entity which threatens not just civilization, but all life… 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thousand-Thunders-Fiction-Without-Frontiers/dp/1787580164/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536067944&sr=1-1&keywords=ten+thousand+thunders 

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

My Review: I know I usually review crime but anyone who follows my blog will have noticed some science fiction and fantasy creeping in aswell. This book, however, is a science fiction story with crime running through it so it fits my blog, and me, perfectly. 

There’s a lot in this book, a vast cast of characters and settings but all are crafted so well that, while it took me a little while to get into it all, it was clear when the story was moving to new locations or new characters were being introduced. Although it took me a little time to get into the flow of the story, at the same time I got into it quite quickly because it was so well written. There are stories with multiple characters and/or settings in which the reader can get bogged down but this is definitely not one of them. 

I enjoyed so much about this story from the characters, especially Gethin, to the chapter titles and the world that the author has created. I could talk for hours about how good this book is but it would be much easier and quicker if you went out and bought it for yourself and discovered it that way. 

Although this is a new publisher, at least for me, they are off to a great start with this book and I’m thrilled to be involved in another blog tour for them in November. I can tell that I’m going to be following this author and the publishers books with great interest. If you haven’t discovered them yet, what are you waiting for!






About the author:

Brian Trent’s speculative fiction appears regularly in the world’s top speculative fiction markets including ANALOG, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, Apex (winning the Story of the Year Reader’s Poll), Escape Pod, Flash Fiction Online, COSMOS, Galaxy’s Edge, Nature, The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, Pseudopod, and numerous year’s best anthologies. His work has been featured in several volumes of Flame Tree Publishing’s popular Gothic Fantasy Series.

The author of the historical fantasy series Rahotep, Trent is also a Baen Fantasy Adventure Award finalist and Writers of the Futurewinner. His nonfiction works have also appeared in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Humanist, and UTNE.

Combining a fascination for history with a unique vision of the future, Trent’s novel Ten Thousand Thunders is the beginning of an exciting new science fiction universe.

Trent lives in New England, where he works as a novelist, screenwriter, and poet. His website and blog are located at http://www.briantrent.com/

Twitter: @BrianTrent

AWARDS

Baen Fantasy Award Finalist

Writers of the Future Winner’

Apex Magazine Story of the Year Winner

#BlogTour #Extract : Stealth by Hugh Fraser. @Urbanebooks @realhughfraser #lovebooksgroupstours 

I am over the moon to be involved in this blog tour. I would have read this book in an instant but, embarassingly, I still have the first book in the series on my shelves waiting to be read. However, I am still able to take part in the tour and have a brief extract for you today. Many thanks to the author, Urbane books and LoveBooksGroup for having me on this tour. (I will read and review book 1, promise!)

Blurb:  When a step out of line means a fight to the death…

London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfil a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive but to protect the ones she loves.

Buy Link – https://amzn.to/2Qxzn53

Extract:

The cab pulls up outside the club. I get out, give the driver a ten bob note and tell him to keep the change. Max and a bloke I don’t know are on the door. ‘Evening, Rina,’ says Max, as I approach. He says something to the other man who flicks his fag into the gutter and opens the door to the foyer for me. I go inside, smile at Jane behind the counter and walk down the stairs as the house band go into the opening bars of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Lizzie and I decided to hire some guys who could rock a bit for the house band instead of the usual boring lounge trio doing the Sinatra and Mel Tormé songbook, like most clubs have. The singer’s a good pianist with a fine voice and if I shut my eyes I could be listening to Gary Brooker. The guitarist is a young Mexican lad with black curly hair and a beautiful face who’s taught himself every lick that Alvin Lee, Peter Green and Hendrix ever played, and the drummer and bass player are good too. I made them wear suits instead of their hippy gear so they blend in with the punters a bit. They were a bit iffy about it until I told them they were on fifty notes a week and they shot off up Carnaby Street and got suited up.


About the author:

Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and the Duke of Wellington in ‘Sharpe’. His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also composed the theme to Rainbow!

#BlogTour #Review : Chasing Petalouthes by Effie Kammenou. @EffieKammenou @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebooksgroupstours #WaitingforAegina

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Chasing Petalouthes, the third book in The Gift Saga. Many thanks to the author and LoveBooksGroup for having me on the tour. 

Blurb:  The Gift Saga concludes with the next generation coming into the forefront of the story during their tumultuous years between adolescence and adulthood.

Evvie has lived through more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie vows to never let anyone into her heart. But will her determination to keep everyone out see her lose the only person who could heal her broken soul?

Over-achieving, focused, talented, determined to succeed. Those are the traits Stella envies in her siblings and cousins. Her insecurities and lack of confidence stunts her ability to realize her own worth. When an older, handsome young man claims her as his own, Stella believes she has finally found who she has been looking for—someone to love her enough to mold her into the best version of herself. But has she fallen in love too quickly for a man she barely knows anything about?

Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.

 Can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift & Waiting For Aegina.

My Review: I don’t usually read coming of age stories or family sagas but something about this book made me want to read it. It can be read as a stand alone (as I did) but I think you’ll get more from it if you’ve read the first two books. 

This is a longer read than most of the books I usually read but it works well as the story covers quite a few years of Evvie and Stella’s lives. It was like moving in with a family for a few years and being able to see the decisions some of them made, but without the ability to do anything about them. The reader gets to see Evvie and Stella make mistakes, try new things, learn from mistakes and explore the opportunities that they have in their lives. You also get to experience Greece and being part of a large Greek family where everyone looks after everyone else and celebrations are large and enthusiastic. 

I can’t go into much detail in this review as it would lead to spoilers. However I can say I was very impressed with the way certain parts of Stella’s life were handled. It was done very well and with tact and knowledge that suggested a lot of research. There was also a lot of detail and discussion about wine, wine making and grape varieties which was interesting without being too much information. 

Having always avoided saga and family type stories for fear they would be dull and boring, reading this book has made me realise that perhaps I am being unfair and need to be a bit more open minded. I’m not about to start reviewing nothing but these types of books but I will give them more consideration in the future when I come across them.  



About the author:

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.  

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.   

#BlogBlitz #Review : Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin. @Bookouture @HollyMAuthor

Today I am taking part in the blog blitz for Coming Home to Maple Cottage, the latest book by Holly Martin. Many thanks to Bookouture for letting me be part of the blitz.

Amazon: http://geni.us/B07G2TCVTLSocial

iBookstore: http://ow.ly/z1xW30lZzDo

Kobo: http://ow.ly/gVZ930lZzES

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/HSgD30lZzFs

Blurb:  Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

My Review: I’ve read and enjoyed quite a number of Holly’s books so was thrilled when the opportunity to be in this blitz came up. I’ve read a previous book set in Sandcastle Bay but can honestly say that this works perfectly as a stand alone. There is is enough back story that you don’t need any previous knowledge but, if you do have previous knowledge, the back story doesn’t dominate this story.

The setting, characters and background stories are well developed and the story comes alive the minute you pick up the book. It’s a beautifully cosy story that wraps around you as you read and draws you into the community that is Sandcastle Bay. This is one of those stories where, although you might have an idea of where the story is headed, you still get annoyed at the characters and worried for them, but also experience their moments of joy and laughter. 

This is the perfect read for a rainy or snowy day when you want nothing more than to be cosy and drink hot chocolate or something similar, and want to read nice, heartwarming stories. 

#Blog Tour #Review : Lying and Dying by Graham Brack. @GrahamBrack #LyingandDying @SapereBooks. 

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and reviewing this first in this series by Graham Brack. My post may be up a day late but don’t let that give you the wrong impression, this book is definitely worth the wait!

Blurb:  What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road. There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case. With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?

Anyone could be lying – and others may be in danger of dying.

My Review: I’ve always been a fan of police procedurals but equally I am trying to expand my reading and that includes reading books set in different countries. This book, therefore, having been set in Prague fits the bill perfectly. 

I’ve had trouble with my review of this book. It’s not the book’s fault, it’s trying to do it justice that is the problem. I loved the blurb, it sounded like a solid police procedural with a quirky lead character in Slonsky and that’s exactly what it is. However, there is so much more to it. There is a lot of depth to the characters, even the ones who are only in the book for a page or two. The writing brings the story and the characters to life so well that they leap off the page. The story is clearly a serious one, murder is never anything else, but there is a lot of humour is the story which had me laughing away, something that rarely happens when I’m reading, even with the supposedly hilarious stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, so much so that before I was half way through it I wanted to get hold of the next in the series. Being a blogger I read a lot of books and hear about so many more but rarely do I ever want to read the rest of a series before I’ve finished the first book. Slonsky and Navratil make a perfect team and I can’t wait to see where their work takes them next!


About the author:

Graham Brack hails from Sunderland and met his wife Gillian in Aberdeen where they were both studying pharmacy. After their degrees Gillian returned to Cornwall and Graham followed. This is now called stalking but in 1978 it was termed “romantic”. They have two children, Andrew and Hannah, and two grandchildren, Miranda and Sophie. 

Graham’s foray into crime writing began in 2010 when he entered the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition and was highly commended for The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves (reissued as Lying and Dying), in which the world was introduced to Lt Josef Slonský of the Czech police. The Book of Slaughter and Forgetting (reissued as Slaughter and Forgetting) followed and Sapere Books have published book three, Death On Duty, 

In 2014 and 2016 Graham was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger again. The earlier novel, The Allegory of Art and Science, is set in 17th century Delft and features the philosophy lecturer and reluctant detective Master Mercurius. Sapere Books will publish it as Death in Delft in 2018.

Twitter: @GrahamBrack