Heartaches and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller @bookouture @AmyBratley1

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Book Description:

December, 1940: All that Audrey Barton wants is her family together for Christmas. But the war changes everything… 

The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years.

When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret

And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her? 

Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain? 

This is the first book in a heartwarming and romantic new saga series, perfect for fans of The Gingerbread Girl, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean.

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My Thoughts:

I don’t read many books in this genre and when I read a book as wonderful as this one it makes me wonder how many fantastic reads I’m probably missing out on.

Heartaches and Christmas Cakes was a book I literally could not put down. I started it on a Sunday afternoon and didn’t put it down until I finished it. At 260 pages it was a relatively quick read. This is actually one of those books though that no matter how long it is, it isn’t quite enough as I loved every minute of it and I didn’t want it to end. The great thing is though that this isn’t the end as it’s the first  in a new saga and I can not wait for the next one.

Being set in the war time I knew this was probably going to be quite emotional at times. Set in Bournemouth, the area doesn’t come under the constant attack like places like London do but it still suffers from some.

The story mainly focuses on the people at the Barton family bakery. What a fabulous place to set a story. It was so interesting to find out the part that bakers played in the war. Even though ingredients were limited, I couldn’t stop my mouth watering at the thought of freshly baked bread as well as the other goodies that was baked there.

Audrey has to my favourite of the characters. She’s a bit like a mother hen as she appears to be the go to person when in need. I thought she was so brave. Even when at times she wanted to break down she keeps going and makes sure she is a pillar for everyone else to lean on. Reading of Audrey’s life it really gives you an insight into what life was back then and the uncertainty of people going off to fight and to whether they would come back or not. It covers so much of what I would expect to see in a book set in that era with the added bonus of some stand out characters.

Heartaches and Christmas Cakes is a heartfelt and truly wonderful read. A story that you will easily lose yourself into. I know that icing on cakes will especially make me remember this book fondly. A book where the story and characters will stay with you for a long time to come. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Heartaches and Christmas Cakes is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio:

 

Amy Miller is the pseudonym of Amy Bratley, who started her writing life working on magazines and newspapers. She has previously written three women’s fiction novels published by Pan Macmillan, the first of which was a bestseller in Italy. Her day job is being a freelance managing editor of both a vintage interiors magazine and a food magazine, two subjects she’s passionate about. Amy lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyMillerBooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyBratley1

All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter @urbanebooks

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for All The Colours In Between by the lovely Eva Jordan. Before you scroll down to the book and my review, I just wanted to share something that happened a few days after reading it. Once you’ve read the book itself you will realise for yourself how wonderful it is and why it brought back my relationship with my own Grandad very much to life. A few days after reading the book, my husband was having a clear out in the garage and came across a wooden box which I kept all my pen pal letters in, I haven’t written a letter to a pen friend for an awful lot of years and had totally forgotten about it. My family has always been wide spread and sadly we didn’t live near my Grand parents so didn’t get to see them anywhere near as often as I would have liked. In my teens, my Grandad and I used to write to each other. He loved gardening and I used to cut images of lawn mowers or flower pots and used to send them to him. I have to admit it was quite emotional discovering the letters as he has sadly not been around for the last seventeen years and I miss him a lot. I haven’t felt emotionally able to read them yet, but I will. I’m a big believer in fate and I know it was my Grandad’s way of letting me know that he is still around in his own way. Anyway sorry for rambling but just wanted to share it with you.

 

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Book Description:

Eva Jordan’s much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling ‘183 Times a Year’.

It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son,is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her.

Embracing her new career as a writer; divorce, money worries and the constant battle to weather the stormy complexities of the blended family, are all but a distant memory. It’s time for Lizzie to focus on herself for a change. Stepdaughter Maisy is embracing life down under and daughter Cassie is working for a famous record producer in London. Lizzie’s only concern, albeit a mild one, is for the arrested development of her Facebook-Tweeting, Snapchatting, music and mobile phone obsessed, teenage son. With communication skills, more akin to an intermittent series of unintelligible grunts, conversation is futile. However, Lizzie is not particularly perturbed. With deadlines to meet and book tours to attend, Lizzie has other distractions to concentrate on. But all in all, life is good. Life is very good.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. Cassie is still the same incessant chattering Queen of malaprops and spoonerisms she ever was, however something is clouding her normally cheery disposition. Not to mention her extreme weight loss. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband and a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made.

Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals and a tale of coming of age and end of life. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

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My Thoughts:

All The Colours In Between is the follow up to the fabulous 183 Times A Year, so I strongly recommend reading the books in order to get full enjoyment from these great books.

I absolutely loved the mother daughter relationship between Lizzie and Cassie in the first book and I couldn’t wait to catch up with them again. Even though the story mainly flicks between these two characters still, this time we also get to see things from Connor, the sons, point of view.

Things have moved on a bit since we were last with the family and as I have come to expect from this author, there was plenty of drama to keep me hooked throughout. It’s a bit like sitting down to your favourite soap opera as the author really focuses on all aspects of family life whilst keeping it all very real.

There really is so much I could write about this book and even then I don’t think I could do it justice. It feels like the author has opened up her heart and soul whilst allowing the reader to be one with the story. There was one part in particular that was so close to home for me that I had tears pouring down my face. As much as I tried to carry on, I just couldn’t see through the vast amount of tears and had to go back to it the next day. I was so overwhelmed by the emotions that I was feeling which truly has to be the sign of a great writer when their words touch you so deeply.

An emotive and beautifully written story of family life. One of the most powerful books I’ve read this year.

My thanks to the author and Urbane Publications for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

All The Colours In Between is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Her Dark Retreat by J A Baker #BlogBlitz @Bloodhoundbook @thewriterjude

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Book Description:

The coastguard’s residence Chamber Cottage, which sits high up on the North Yorkshire cliffs overlooking The North Sea, holds many dark secrets.

 

Alec and Peggy are struggling to overcome their marital problems. Both damaged by problems from their childhoods, they are trying to get on with their lives. But this is hard for them to do when they both believe they are being watched. As a result, Peggy, who has terrible scars on her face, becomes more agoraphobic.

 

To make matters worse, Peggy discovers her estranged mother is stalking both she and Alec, claiming she has a dark secret that is putting Peggy in danger.

 

What caused the scars on Peggy’s face? Is Alex really the monster Peggy’s mother believes him to be? And what secrets does Chamber Cottage hold?

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My Thoughts:

I loved the setting for this book. It really adds to the atmosphere of the story, making it darker and more chilling. It’s certainly one that is shrouded with suspense, that’s for sure.

The story flicks between certain characters. I have to admit that I found none of the characters likeable in this story apart from ones that are more in the back ground but the main ones had to many issues for my liking. But then surely that’s the whole point?

It’s obvious from the very beginning that Alec and Peggy’s marriage is far from a happy one. It was slightly frustrating to start with as I wanted to know now, why both are quite distant and trying to pretend that everything is okay. It obviously isn’t. If anything I have to say I felt slightly sorry for Alec. For Peggy it’s hard just to even leave the house and I couldn’t imagine what sort of life that made for them both.

I don’t want to give to much away about this story as I think the less you know about it the better. I thought I knew where the author was going with the story, how wrong I was!

Her Dark Retreat is a dark and brooding story shrouded with mystery. It was a bit of a slow burner which gathers momentum that sent me in a tizzy. A story that certainly took an unexpected turn that had me racing through the remainder of the book with my heart in my mouth.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Her Dark Retreat is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio:

Born in Middlesbrough too many years ago to mention, J. A. Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular, to psychological thrillers.

After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her third novel and working on her fourth one.

J. A. Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.

Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thewriterjude/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thewriterjude

My website – http://www.jabakerauthor.co.uk/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/J.A.-Baker/e/B06XSNWB4T/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1505332991&sr=8-1

Snow Light by Danielle Zinn #CoverReveal @Bloodhoundbook @DanielleZinn4

I am delighted to be able to share with you all today the fabulous cover of Snow Light by Danielle Zinn which will be published on the 15th of November by Bloodhound Books. 

Firstly here’s a bit more about it.
When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas encounters a man attacking a young woman in a local park, the DI is unable to save her. Out of guilt, Thomas quits his job at Homicide Headquarters and relocates to the tiny village of Turtleville, where he regains control of himself and begins to enjoy life again. However, a year later, all the guilt and shame of the park murder re-emerges when a local hermit, Ethan Wright, is murdered with an unusual weapon and left on display in the centre of the village. For Thomas the situation gets worse when DS Ann Collins, a colleague from his past, appears to help with the case. But things become complicated when the victim’s identity is put into question. Who is the victim? And why was he murdered? Thomas and Collins will find themselves trying to solve a highly unusual case and both may have more in common than they could have ever imagined.

Doesn’t it sound great? So without further ado as I know how eager you are to see it. Here it is the, the cover. Ta Dah!

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Perfect for this time of year, don’t you think? Below is more about the author herself and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the blog blitz that will be starting on publication day also. 

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Author Bio:

Danielle holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham and after gaining some work experience in Wales and the USA, she settled down in Frankfurt am Main where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.

Born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany, Danielle was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher.

Her passion for sports, especially skiing and fencing, stems from her father’s side. Danielle draws her inspiration for writing from long walks in the country as well as circumnavigating the globe and visiting her friends scattered all over the world.

Mix everything together and you get “Snow Light”, her debut detective thriller combining a stunning wintry setting in the Ore Mountains with unique traditions, some sporty action and lots of suspense.

Links:
@DanielleZinn4

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Chosen Child by Linda Huber @LindaHuber19

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Book Description:

A disappearance. A sudden death. A betrayal of the worst kind.

Ella longs for a child of her own, but a gruesome find during an adoption process deepens the cracks in her marriage. Her husband Rick has a secret, but Ella doesn’t want to know…

Across town, Amanda is expecting her second child when her husband vanishes. The search begins, but nothing prepares Amanda for the shocking conclusion to the police investigation. 

And in the middle of it all, a little girl is looking for a home of her own with a ‘forever’ mummy and daddy…

How well do you know your own family? And who can you trust?

My Thoughts:

My heart went out to Ella throughout this book. Desperate to have a child but unable to so when her and Rick start the ball rolling in adopting six year old Soraya I was so happy for her. Sadly though I knew from the genre of the book that things wouldn’t be plain sailing.

Rick I couldn’t work out at first but the more I got to know him the more my opinion of him changed. He is very self centred and at times I could have happily given him more than a slap!

Soraya I absolutely adored. Reading of her and Ella’s relationship was so heart warming.

It’s so hard to not give anything away as the less you know about this story the better. The author certainly takes us on a twisted journey that had me on the edge of my seat as I was uncertain of how it was all going to end and it really made for some proper nail biting reading.

Chosen Child is an exhilarating read that I couldn’t put down. I was so engrossed in the novel that it didn’t take me long to devour it as it’s one of those reads that had me desperate to know the outcome. Loved it!

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Chosen Child is available to purchase from Amazon.

Murder At The University by Faith Martin #BlogTour @JoffeBooks

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Book Description:

Looking for a brilliant murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

 MEET DI HILLARY GREENE, A POLICE WOMAN WITH A THIRST FOR JUSTICE AND A COMPLICATED CAREER
 
A pretty French student is found dead in her room at an exclusive Oxford college. Everyone thinks it is another tragic case of accidental drug overdose.
 
But Detective Hillary Greene has a nose for the truth. She quickly discovers that the student had been up to some very unusual activities.

With a shocking cause of death found, the case becomes a high-profile murder investigation.
 
Adding to the pressure, Hillary’s nemesis is transferred to work with her at the station.
 
Can Hillary keep her cool and get justice for the unfortunate student?
 
MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY is the second in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.
 
Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.
 
 
THE LOCATION
The Oxford Canal meanders through the beautiful county of Oxfordshire, sometimes joining up with the rivers Cherwell and Thames, and flows past the world-famous university city of Oxford. Unlike many canals which are practically ruler-straight commercial waterways, built to help transport goods and heavy traffic before the advent of the railways, the Oxford Canal is a more winding and natural-looking body of water, and is a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. It has several romantically-named locks on its length (such as the Three Pigeons Lock, and Dashwood Lock) and boasts the ominously-sounding Somerton Deep Lock, which often terrifies first-time boating holiday-makers.
 
THE DETECTIVES
 
DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence, she is currently under investigation on account of her recently deceased, and definitely corrupt husband (Ronnie Greene). But adversity has never stopped her from doing her job.
 
DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow
Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand.
 
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW.”
 
DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

 
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
MORE COMING SOON!

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My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the DI Hillary Greene series, having not read the first book in the series I would personally say it can be read easily as a stand alone though I am intrigued with Hillary’s past to do with her husband especially.

With is being set in Oxford I had visions of it being like the Inspector Morse crime series. Having only ever watched the series though and not read the books I couldn’t really compare the two but it certainly feels like we get to see a side of Oxford that we don’t in the Inspector Morse series.

I liked Hillary, through her character there is a bit of humour in parts which you don’t usually get in many crime books which makes it more unique. She is someone that people can get on with easily and seems to be a bit of an all rounder.

As for the case they are working on I certainly couldn’t have figured out who the murderer was. The author certainly seems to spread out the case, Hillary’s personal life as well as working life so you get an even feel of what her life is like. I have to admit due to this the pace that I usually prefer in my crime books was slightly lacking but I think if you prefer a more slower pace to your crime books where you get an overall picture then this is the perfect book.

Murder At The University overall is an enjoyable crime book. There’s no getting away that it is set in a great area and I love that the main character currently lives on a boat. The author has certainly made sure that her crime series is quite different to the other books out there in this genre which I think could certainly work in her favour.

My thanks to Jill Burkinshaw and the publisher for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and biased in anyway.

Murder At The University is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the first eleven of the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! And the first of these, MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is available now, with the others to very quickly follow.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.

 

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite @bookouture @BCopperthwait

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Book Description:

There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

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My Thoughts:

The story flicks between the main characters in the days leading up to present day and to the present day itself where the police find a very disturbing scene.

I have to say I was dying to know what the police had turned up to as it is agonisingly revealed over the course of the story. I’m not one to turn to the back of the book and was so glad I was reading on a kindle as I don’t know if I could have resisted as was so eager to know.

The Thomas’s family I have to say are not overly likeable. There is only Mouse (nickname of Amber) the youngest member of the family that I liked. Mouse is so cute and felt sorry for her that she was part of such a self obsessed family.

Dominique and Ben are very much wrapped up in what is going on in their own lives to really notice that of their children’s. Ruby the eldest daughter, my opinion kept changing throughout. She is very much a typical teenager but I did wish her parents would see what was happening to her and talk to her as she has so much to deal with.

It’s hard to say to much more about the story as I really don’t want to give to much away. It is very much an enthralling read that draws you in the further you get into it whilst getting darker and darker.

Her Last Secret is such a well written novel. In fact it is very clever. It left me reeling as did not expect the direction that it suddenly took and it made me question what was in front of me. Totally jaw dropping stuff. Loved it!

My thanks to Bookouture for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Her Last Secret is available to purchase from Amazon.

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Author Bio:

What people say about Barbara’s books:
“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror 
“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine 
“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine

Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs. 

 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCopperthwait

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

Website: http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com