#BlogTour #Review : One Last Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot. @mandybaggot @aria_fiction

Week 3 of the blog tour for One Last Greek Summer and today is my stop. Many thanks to Aria fiction for letting me be on the tour and sending me a copy of the book for review.

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Blurb:    Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her…

Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls’ partied away their youth.

So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane…and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.

As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life. If they can learn to love the people they’ve become…

 

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My Review:  As the blurb says Beth is newly divorced, so newly divorced in fact that ink has barely dried on the papers before her friend Heidi is suggesting a repeat visit to Corfu, somewhere they last went 10 years ago. The plan is to escape their lives now and help Beth rediscover the person she used to be. Being newly divorced Beth isn’t sure what life holds for her next, I can empathise, I’ve been there myself. However, while in Corfu she starts to relax and remember how much fun she used to have before she returned to the UK and her life was turned upside down.

While this is a story of romance, second chances and fresh starts, it also asks the question of whether you can ever go back to being the person you were years ago before your life changed. This is a fabulous read full of descriptions of idyllic beaches, sun-drenched vistas and the streets and eateries that Beth and Heidi visit. I’ve never been to Corfu but just from reading this book, it’s now on my list of places to visit.  Although it’s an escapist book it’s also true to life, even on Corfu Beth can’t completely escape her attachments to the UK and it was interesting to see her reactions to this and what she did next.  The characters are all brilliantly written, you can feel the emotions coming off them in waves, I wanted to get involved sometimes and tell people what to do or, conversely what they shouldn’t be doing. It felt so real I wouldn’t be surprised if they genuinely were real people.

This is a fabulous, escapist read which also doesn’t shy away from reality. Although it’s clearly a summer read I think it would be ideal all year round, after all what’s better than imagining beaches and sunshine in the depths of winter?

 

About the author:

Mandy Baggot

 

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Follow Mandy:

Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor

Twitter: @mandybaggot

 

 

 

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#BlogTour #Review : Death of an Angel by Derek Farrell. @DereklFarrell @farenheitpress @damppebbles #DannyBirdMysteries

Today I am taking part in the blog tour for this book which is the 4th Danny Bird book, although I would say it can definitely be read as a stand alone. Many thanks to Farenheit Press and damppebbles blog tours for having me on the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.

DEATH OF AN ANGEL BLOG TOUR

Blurb:   A woman is found dead in a London street – the evidence suggests she plummeted to her death from a nearby tower block – but did she fall or was she pushed? And why does she have Danny Bird’s name written on the back of her hand?

So begins this 4th magnificent outing for Danny and the gang from The Marq.

In the frame for a murder he didn’t commit, London’s self-proclaimed Sherlock Homo has no choice but to don his metaphorical deerstalker one more time to prove his innocence and uncover the truth about the tragic death of Cathy Byrne. 

With the indomitably louche Lady Caz by his side, Danny plunges headlong into a complex investigation while at the same time trying to be a dutiful son to his increasingly secretive parents, and still find the time to juggle his frustratingly moribund love-life.

Purchase Links:

Fahrenheit Press: http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_death_of_an_angel.html

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Angel-Danny-Bird-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07PBCCJMG/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=death+of+an+angel&qid=1559826196&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Angel-Danny-Bird-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07PBCCJMG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=death+of+an+angel+derek+farrell&qid=1559826671&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

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My Review:  As I’ve already mentioned, this is the first of the Danny Bird books that I’ve read but I was drawn in by the blurb and the cover, how stunning and unique is this cover!  This is not the first book recently where I’ve not been sure how to write a review of it and hopefully it won’t be the last as this means I’m trying new books which is something I wanted to do through blogging and blog tours.  Because it’s not the first book with Danny and Caz in it we get thrown into the story and the characters lives with no preamble or introductions (though there are enough explanations dotted through the story to aid understanding) and are expected to leap into the chaos and confusion that appears to be Danny’s life, by way of a prologue first. Done correctly, which this one is, prologues are great and this one definitely gets you gripped by the story immediately while also wondering at the same time just what you’ve let yourself in for, something I suspect people who know Danny wonder, probably at least once an hour.

Having said the above I did actually like Danny, despite his less than discreet efforts to to find out what happened to Cathy Byrne, why she had his name on her hand and what his parents are hiding from him. In the course of his investigation we find out about the layer of corruption and greed that exists in many places, including cities like London. The story doesn’t shy away from the truth about how people are viewed and treated by those with lots of money who simply don’t care about people they see as inferior to themselves. I used to be a cleaner, like Cathy is, and I’m well aware of the invisibility that exists for people in these jobs, you are seen but not seen and most affluent people would never notice if one day someone else came in your place.  Although I don’t have experience of the other situations in the book, I know enough from news reports and my own general life experience to realise that this is probably happening to someone, somewhere right now.

This is what makes this book work, in my opinion, the fact that it has characters that are unusual and a bit over the top (in a good way) and doesn’t shy away from dealing with things affecting people who will likely have little choice or say in the matter.  However, in covering situations like the one Cathy is dealing with, it doesn’t do it in a way which comes across as a school lesson but weaves it in with a mystery and adventure full of wrong turns and red herrings. In doing this you get carried away in the story but also learn something at the same time. I love films that can do this and I’m thrilled to find an author who can do this too.

I’m not sure if what I’ve written gets across my feelings about the book but I genuinely enjoyed it, the characters, good and bad, are all well-written and I felt as if I had been dropped into the story and was experiencing everything alongside Danny.  I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, didn’t know which way I was going next and was enjoying it so much that I didn’t care. I loved the ending, it was done in a very Agatha Christie like way which I enjoyed as I always like seeing the reactions of others involved when they realise who did it and why.  There are many layers to this story but they all weave in and around each other and as you read you can see them connecting or coming together and get drawn in even further as you don’t want to put the book down.  In a way I’m glad I read book 4 first because I already know there are 3 other books out there for me to enjoy while I wait, hopefully, for a fifth.

 

About the author:

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Derek Farrell is the author of the Danny Bird Mysteries, ‘Death of a Diva,’ ‘Death of a Nobody’ ‘Death of a Devil,’ and ‘Death of an Angel.’

He was educated in Dublin, and, whilst waiting to become a writer of fabulous crime novels has passed his time being a burger dresser, bank cashier, David Bowie’s paperboy, and an Investment Banker in New York’s World Trade Centre (a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street, only with fewer hookers and more midgets, since you ask).

 

He is married and divides his time between London, West Sussex and Dublin.

Derek loves to hear from his readers, and can be contacted via Twitter: @derekifarrell or at his sparkly new website Derekfarrell.co.uk

His books can be purchased as paperbacks or ebooks direct from the publisher Fahrenheit Press at: http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_fahrenheit.html

Or from Amazon: 

Death of a Diva

Death of a Nobody

Death of a Devil

Death of an Angel

Death of a Diva is also available as a deluxe edition Hardback limited to only 50 Copies worldwide. Purchase it here. 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DerekIFarrell

Website: https://www.derekfarrell.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/derekifarrell/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Derek-Farrell/e/B06XJ9C6XB/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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#Review : Rosies Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin. @jaxandwillsmum @HQDigitalUK

I’m catching up on some long overdue reviews and this book is one of them. I read this a while back but as it’s a summery book this review is actually perfectly timed, this being June and supposedly the British summertime………Anyway, huge thanks to Rebecca and HQDigital for letting me have a copy of this to review.

Blurb:  Rosie Lewis has her life together.

A swanky job as a Michelin-Starred Sous Chef, a loving husband and future children scheduled for exactly January 2021.

That’s until she comes home one day to find her husband’s pre-packed bag and a confession that he’s had an affair.

Heartbroken and devastated, Rosie drowns her sorrows in a glass (or three) of wine, only to discover the following morning that she has spontaneously invested in a bright pink campervan to facilitate her grand plans to travel the country.

Now, Rosie is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, and the chance to change her life! With Poppy, her new-found travelling tea shop in tow, nothing could go wrong, could it…?

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My Review:  As the blurb says, Rosie has her life all planned until her husband throws a spanner in the works. As you can perhaps guess from the above, her planning is strict, almost too strict as she’s left no space or time for spontaneous events or unexpected life changes, such as the one her husband gives her. This would therefore go some way to explaining why the day after his announcement she discovers she’s accidentally bought a bright pink campervan called Poppy. Seeing no alternative and realising that perhaps a change might be a good idea Rosie does some homework and takes Poppy on the road, for an adventure and potentially a new life.

This is a brilliantly light and optimistic story, despite the way in which is starts. Being dumped by a spouse or partner is never a great start but happily Rosie takes it as an opportunity to do something different and the adventure she has is great, mostly. Not spoiling anything but let’s just say nothing is perfect. However, mostly her journey is full of new friends and experiences and is enough to tempt anyone to do the same for themselves. Travelling the UK and possibly further afield, being your own boss, setting your own timetable, sounds almost idyllic. Clearly there are downsides, low income, not working if you’re ill or your transport is incapacitated, but sometimes the these things are worth the risk. Having said that, this book allows you the best of both worlds, you can enjoy the freedom of travelling while being safe from the attached risks by joining Rosie on her travels.

The pages give off so much warmth, most people are friendly, welcoming and helpful and I could honestly see them all turning up at the next festival or outdoor event I go too. There was such a lovely community created between the characters in the book that it was hard to believe that this was a work of fiction. I loved watching Rosie develop over the pages, she learned a lot about herself and her new path in life and I’d love to see a follow up to this story to find out what happens to her next, maybe even a year later when she’s a bit more settled.

Rebecca’s stories are always warm and uplifting and this one is no different. If you loved her other ones then you need to read this and if you’ve not discovered her yet this is a good place to start. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Review : A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine @ArkadyMartine @UKTor @JamiedoesPR

Today I’m reviewing this astounding book. Huge thanks to @JamiedoesPR for sending me a copy of this book. If you love sci-fi and fantasy then this should be on your to-read list if you’ve not already read it. It’s a stunning book and the first in the Teixcalaan trilogy.

Blurb:  

In a war of lies she seeks the truth . . .

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the Teixcalaanli Empire’s interstellar capital, eager to take up her new post. Yet when she arrives, she discovers her predecessor was murdered. But no one will admit his death wasn’t accidental – and she might be next.

Now Mahit must navigate the capital’s enticing yet deadly halls of power, to discover dangerous truths. And while she hunts for the killer, Mahit must somehow prevent the rapacious Empire from annexing her home: a small, fiercely independent mining station.

As she sinks deeper into an alien culture that is all too seductive, Mahit engages in intrigues of her own. For she’s hiding an extraordinary technological secret, one which might destroy her station and its way of life. Or it might save them from annihilation.

A Memory Called Empire is book one in the Teixcalaan trilogy.

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My Review:  I have to start off by saying I absolutely loved this book, it was an amazing read! I’ve looked at one or two other reviews and I completely agree that there are a lot of words in this book but I didn’t find that to be a problem. I don’t know how, but somehow it worked and fitted the story perfectly. This is a fabulous tale of politics, deception, murder and trying to find your way around a new place that you know well but have never been too before.  Mahit is a fabulous character, she deals with trying to protect her home, wanting to find out who murdered her predecessor and evading being killed herself, all the while keeping a cool head and learning about the city she has only just arrived in. I would say she was my favourite character if it weren’t for the astoundingly brilliant Three Seagrass who just stole the show completely. Nothing stopped her from doing her job so she could do well and progress onto bigger and better things but her sense of humour and unwavering devotion to her post made her a stand out character.

I started reading this book and finding the Teixcalaanli names a bit odd, after all they are so different from ours, but by the end of the book there were as normal to me as my own name is.  I found the other characters to be intriguing in their own ways, I didn’t like them all and that’s fine there are some that are distinctly unlikable but, even they had their charms. The descriptions of everything were perfect, there was so much detail that the city and the way it operated came to life so clearly for me. There was a list of words and definitions at the end of the book but the descriptions were so good that I never used it. I felt like I knew they city as well as Mahit did and could make a passable attempt at living there and finding my way around from only the information in the book.

I love science fiction and am slowly getting into reading more of it, however my partner is also a fan and most of his reading is sci-fi and/or fantasy so once I’d finished this book I gave it to him and he devoured it as quickly as I had. He had a serious book hangover after reading it and ended up re-reading small sections because it was that good, and to put this in even better context, in 7 years this is the first time I’ve ever seen him do that! This was an amazing book and both of us cannot wait for the second one, and are being completely impatient about it. The only consolation that we have is that there is a second book, and a third one so we have something to look forward to over the long, long months before publication of book 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour #Review : Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rose Green @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources

Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest instalment of the Little Duck Pond Cafe story. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.

Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe

Blurb:   Wedding fever is in the air in the village of Sunnybrook. With Ellie and Zak’s Big Day on the horizon, the sun is shining brightly on the Little Duck Pond Cafe community. But when dark clouds begin to roll in from more than one direction, several close relationships look to be under threat. Will the wedding of the year actually take place at all?

Purchase Link:

https://amzn.to/2Iqghul

Confetti Cover

 

My Review:  This is book 6 in the Little Duck Pond Cafe series and I’ve read all of the previous books and reviewed most of them (think I’ve missed one somehow). I really enjoy visiting Sunnybrook in each book and finding out what’s happened to the characters since the last visit. Although these novellas are part of a series there is enough background information given in each one that you could read it on its own.

The previous story story focused more on two new characters to the village whereas in this one we are firmly back will Ellie, Fen, Jaz and the others. The story starts off differently from usual with us being shown something and then whisked back 3 weeks to get perspective and background on what we’ve just seen. The story focuses on Ellie’s impending wedding, though location and date are as yet unknown as nothing has been booked, and the relationship between Jaz and Harry.  I have to say, in this story, some of the men disappointed me with their reactions and lack of understanding to certain things, one I can sort of understand but still doesn’t entirely excuse his behaviour. Happily the women rallied round each other and were as supportive as always and the continuation of the story of Rose and Archie provided a distraction from rest of the events taking place.

There was also a new character, Primrose, who had a past she was getting away from but also trying to find at the same time. It’ll be interesting to see if the next story, assuming there is one, focuses on her and how she came to Sunnybrook.

All in all I enjoyed this return visit to Sunnybrook to catch up with everyone and find out how things have progressed since the last book and I look forward to finding out if there is to be a seventh story in the series.

 

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. Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe will be the sixth in the series

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

 

Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Full Tour Banner

 

 

 

 

#Review : A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy. @VivWrites @canelo_co

Today I’m reviewing this book which I discovered by accident a few months ago. I can’t remember when exactly but given I have the next book on my to-read list, this book was clearly not a recent acquisition.  Anyway, I’m slowly catching up on myself so you can find my review below……

Blurb:

A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize…

At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever.

Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize.

As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…

 

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My Review:  This was an interesting read. What would you do if someone left you everything in their will but only if they died on the day you were named and, if they survived the next day someone else could inherit? It’s an interesting twist on the classic country house mysteries. Here no one has killed the billionaire and then been investigated, but rather he seems almost to be hoping to be killed by playing a game with his relatives and potential beneficiaries.

I have to admit there was the odd occasion on which I got a bit confused with some of the characters, there were two I found quite similar and muddled them up once or twice but aside from that I really enjoyed this story. It was such an unusual premise, I don’t know what I would do in these circumstances, would I leave and inherit nothing or stay and risk being accused of murder and still potentially inherit nothing.  The characters are a bit as you would expect in this situation and from classic country house mysteries, all deception, suspicion and red herrings, not to mention the number of hidden secrets that are revealed.  I found Jasper, the investigator to be very methodical and intelligent but I even had my doubts about him in the end. To say more would risk spoilers but let me just say that I’m not sure of his morals after reading this book. He’s back in the next one though so it should be interesting to meet him again.

The next book is out on 1st July which is only a few weeks away so now is the perfect time to discover this intriguing book for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Mid-year thoughts…..

So it’s now the middle of June and almost halfway through the year and time, I feel, to take stock.

Many of the ideas I had on my 2018/19 post are still around, they’ve not worked quite as I’d hoped but that’s ok. One thing that did happen was my US trip and I did bring back a couple of books and lots of fabulous memories. I never imagined I would be comfortable this high off the ground or able to see this skyline with my own eyes but it happened and I will never forget it. The other skyline below was pretty impressive too…..

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New York skyline with Empire State Building.
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Manhattan at night from the Staten Island Ferry

It’s a bit tricky to take pictures on a ferry when it’s breezy but I’m happy with how this one came out.

I also had a random, impulse trip to Newcastle Noir for a day on the Saturday. It was great fun and I even found time to sneak off to the coast for an hour or so which was amazing and definitely blew the cobwebs away.

I’m typing this sitting in a cottage near Loch Lomond having a weekend to myself and enjoying a break from everything. I’ve been finding out more about myself recently. I always knew I was an introvert but now I know more about the type of introvert I am I’m hoping a few other things in my life will make more sense, for instance the fact that I work in a noisy place with almost 200 other people and can cope with that everyday.  I’ve realise however, particularly with so many changes having happened in the past year, that I need to be careful that I have proper time for myself, like this weekend for instance. There is no one here but me, a laptop and a pile of books, the nearest neighbours are birds, cows and sheep. I know this isn’t for everyone and some people won’t understand how I can be happy spending over 48 hours not physically talking to anyone but I can and I am sometimes.  Thankfully I also have an amazingly supportive partner who may not understand my need to do this but realises that I do need it and supports my decisions as he always has. Makes a huge change from my ex who would have had a completely different reaction to me doing this.

Anyway, back to the blog. I’m still sticking with one of my plans from earlier this year, I want to take part in fewer blog tours so I can focus on reading some of the books I’ve had sitting at home for too long. It’s been harder than I thought to do this but I think I’m improving. I’ve also decided to not take part in any tours in August bar the two I have already signed up for. For August I am going to read what I want and review that and see how that goes. I do have some tours in September onwards already booked but they will be getting kept to a minimum.

I’m hoping the blog will keep growing, I joined The Write Reads earlier this year and recently they shared a post of mine about why I blog. The responses I got to that post being shared were huge and lead to me getting about 4 times as many blog views one one day as I normally do so that was an amazing response. I’m going to focus on reading and reviewing and seeing if I can get my NetGalley percentage to a figure it’s never reached before. I’ve requested and been sent so many books from them that I really do need to make a dent in the big pile that I now have. So the second half of my year is going to be about reading, reviewing and trying to keep everything balanced. I’ve learned that stressing about things is a complete waste of time and uses way too much energy so I’m going to try and worry less about things.

Here’s to an interesting few months, lets see what the rest of 2019 brings, and if you’re heading to Bloody Scotland in September I’ll see you there. Can’t wait!