Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Guest Review: Ice Creams at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown

The third book in the delightful series set in Carrington’s Department Store
Georgie Hart and Carrington’s Department Store have got the world at their feet. Since a reality TV series put them both on the map, life has been amazing! Carrington’s profits are in the pink, Georgie has carved herself a place in the nation’s heart and even better, her romance with Tom, the store’s boss, has finally blossomed after a shaky start.
Now summertime has come to Mulberry-on-Sea and Georgie is in great demand. The town is holding a big summer festival and she and her mates from Carrington’s are planning on making sure that Mulberry puts on the show of its life!
But Georgie is about to get the offer of a lifetime – one that is just too good to turn down and something that will test her loyalties to their limits… Will Georgie be able to pull off it off once again, or has her luck finally run out?

Review: This is book 3 in a series about Carrington’s department store, set in the fictional town of Mulberry-on-Sea, and the staff who work there. I have read and liked quite a few of Alex Brown’s more recent books, and thought I would give one of her older novels a try. I have read it as a stand-alone and found it unnecessary to have read the other two books in the series; relationships between characters are well enough explained. It certainly sounds a wonderful store to visit and to work in.

As the reader joins the story of the store, the central character, Georgie Hart, is in a blossoming relationship with store boss Tom Carrington, and has established herself as a valuable employee in her role as personal stylist. Her abilities are put to the test when she is chosen to represent the company in organising a regatta in the town. However, at the same time, she is given an amazing opportunity that involves a fantastic trip that she could only have dreamed of, she has worries about her father’s health, and Tom is pressing her to take their relationship to another level. How can she cope with all the pressures at once?

This was an engaging and well written story with lots of interesting characters in addition to Georgie herself. I think it would make an excellent summer read.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Top 10 Nonfiction Books & Audiobooks I Read in 2021-Which Books Should Be on Your 2022 Reading List?


Top Ten Tuesday: 2021 Releases I Was Excited For but Didn't Get To


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This is a great list because there are always books I'm so excited to read but just don't get the chance to get to. Perhaps I'm waiting for my hold at the library to come in or perhaps I buy them but never get to them. 

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Guest Review: A Winter Wedding at Mistletoe Gate Farm by Helen J Rolfe

It's almost Christmas in Heritage Cove - the village tree is all lit-up, the bakery is full of festive treats, the tea rooms and waffle shack are welcoming locals inside out of the cold, and for some of the residents of the Cove, snow might not be the only thing they're wishing for this year...

Tilly is overjoyed when an estranged relative comes to Heritage Cove wanting to make amends. But as she lets him in to her life and Tilly’s Bits ‘n’ Pieces - the shop she owns and loves - her friends aren’t so sure whether everything is quite as it seems.

Benjamin’s parents run Mistletoe Gate Farm, selling Christmas trees, wreaths and mistletoe. Benjamin has always thought his family was as firmly rooted in the ground as the rows of Norway Spruce and Fraser Firs. But when he finds a letter that rocks his world he realises he may not be able to do anything to prevent the changes coming their way.

Benjamin and Tilly have been falling for one another since the summer but will family complications put an abrupt stop to what is looking like a burgeoning romance?

With festive cheer weaving its way through the Cove as two local favourites plan their wedding, there’s more than one relationship that could receive a little Christmas magic…

Review: This is book 4 in the Heritage Cove series that features events in the lives of characters and visitors in the village by the sea. Although this is a series with many recurring characters, each book can be read as a standalone. I have read some of the series so far and found all the stories entertaining and fast paced.

This story centres mainly on Tilly, who owns Tilly’s Bits ‘n’ Pieces, the gift shop she inherited from her grandmother. With Christmas just around the corner, the shop is busy with people looking for last minute gifts. Tilly is surprised and delighted when an uncle she knew nothing about turns up out of the blue and takes an interest in her business. However, her friends in the Cove are suspicious of this stranger. One of her particular friends is Benjamin, chef at the local pub and son of the owners of Mistletoe Gate Farm, local growers of Christmas trees and mistletoe. As well as worrying about Tilly’s mysterious uncle, he is concerned that all is not well with his parents and the farm. All this is set against the background of the upcoming wedding of a local couple. Can Tilly and Benjamin’s close friendship develop into something more with all that is going on around them?

I absolutely loved this light festive romance, with its air of mystery and danger surrounding a newcomer to the area. Having read some of the books in the series, I was familiar with the main characters in this one and was interested to learn a bit more about them. Tilly is such a kind and welcoming person that I found myself genuinely worried that she was going to end up in serious trouble. Of course, with so many kindly residents of the village watching out for her I needn’t have been concerned. Heritage Cove has such amazing community spirit; definitely a place I would love to live. I can highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an uplifting read this Christmas. I’m sure new readers will want to catch up with the rest of the books in the series.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Guest Review: The Distant Echo By Val McDermid

The first novel in the bestselling Karen Pirie series

The award-winning Number One bestseller and Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid carves out a stunning psychological thriller. The past is behind them, but what’s still to come will tear them apart…

Some things just won’t let go.
The past, for instance.
That night in the cemetery.
The girl’s body in the snow.

On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in an ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood.

Twenty-five years later the police mount a ‘cold case’ review of Rosie’s unsolved murder and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice. For the remaining two there is only one way to avoid becoming the next victim – find out who really killed Rosie all those years ago…

Review: This is the first book in the Karen Pirie crime thriller series, although she doesn’t appear in the story until well into the book. Detective Constable (DC) Karen Pirie works in Fife Constabulary’s cold case revue team based in Glenrothes (the story is set prior to the merger of Scotland’s eight regional forces to form Police Scotland). Much of the book is set in the town of St Andrews, home to Scotland’s oldest university, but some of the action occurs in the USA.

The story begins in December 1978 when four St Andrews University students, on their way back to their hall of residence in the small hours of the morning after a night on the town, stumble across a young woman lying in the snow dying from a stab wound. Unable to save the woman, the four young men find that the finger of suspicion points at them as the suspects in her murder. With very little physical evidence to go on, no arrests are made and the police enquiry is eventually wound down. However, 25 years later, Fife Constabulary announces that a cold case review will take place, and it is allocated to Karen Pirie. The hope is that advances in forensic science during the intervening period will allow tests with more discriminatory power to be carried out on old material from the case.

The narrative concentrates mainly on the four students and their later careers. At the time, they felt that they were treated as suspects, rather than witnesses, and this affected their lives. The story moves at a fast pace and there are many twists to the plot. I particularly enjoyed the forensic aspects of the book, which I thought were well researched. Val McDermid is adept at describing locations, and being familiar with several of them, I was able to place myself in the middle of the action. I listened to the audiobook version and thought that the narrator did a good job voicing the different characters and their accents.

I found this to be an exciting crime thriller with many twists and turns to keep the listener, or reader, guessing. Although Karen Pirie does not feature prominently in this book and her character is not developed strongly, it lays the foundation for further books in the series. I should add a care warning that there is a lot of strong language and descriptions of violence in the book. In addition, although the books in this series can be read as stand-alones, I would strongly recommend that you read this one before the second one in the series “A Darker Domain”, since the second book gives away the outcome of the first.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US