Tuesday 31 December 2019

πŸ“– ♥ Reads of the Year 2019 πŸ“– ♥

It gets more and more difficult every year to whittle down the 140 books I have read this year into my 'reads of the year' and so, without this list being as long as a sheet of wallpaper, I have, with much consideration, chosen those books which have stood out in some way and become memorable.

In no particular order

To all these fabulous authors THANK YOU for sharing the gift of your imagination
 and for giving me such wonderful stories.

And to all the publishers who continue to support Jaffareadstoo with such enthusiasm.

 And to all our blog followers - we couldn't do this without you


Monday 30 December 2019

πŸ“š My Twelve in Twelve 2019 πŸ“š

As the end of my reading year approaches these are my much anticipated 12 in 12

πŸ“– Twelve authors who were new to me:

  1. Jacqueline Mahoney ~ A River in the Trees 
  2. Joanna Nell ~ The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Village
  3. Lynn Brittney ~ A Death in Chelsea
  4. Elizabeth Letts ~ Finding Dorothy
  5. Iain Maitland ~ Mr Todd's Reckoning
  6. Eleanor O'Reilly ~ M for Mammy
  7. Margery Blake ~ The Thunder Girls
  8. Cole Moreton ~ The Light Keeper
  9. Caryl Lewis ~ The Jeweller
  10. Fiona Valpy ~ The Dressmaker's Gift
  11. Nicola Moriarty ~ The Ex-Girlfriend
  12. Maggie James ~ Silent Winter

πŸ“– Twelve authors I have read before:

  1. G D Harper ~ A Friend in Deed
  2. Nicola Pryce ~ A Cornish Lady
  3. Tom Cox ~ 21st Century Yokel
  4. Michelle Paver ~ Wakenhyrst 
  5. Nicola Ford ~ The Lost Shrine
  6. Giles Kristian ~ Lancelot
  7. J P Carter ~ At Your Door
  8. Susan Lewis ~ One Minute Later
  9. Lucienne Boyce ~ Death Makes No Distinction
  10. Amanda Prowse ~ The Light in the Hallway
  11. Debbie Macomber ~ Mrs Miracle's Christmas
  12. Lorna Gray ~ Mrs P's Book of Secrets

πŸ“– Twelve books from authors I know will never let me down:

  1. Home Truths ~ Susan Lewis
  2. The Newcomer ~ Fern Britton 
  3. Call Me Star Girl ~ Louise Beech
  4. My Mother's Daughter ~ Ann O'Loughlin
  5. The Highborn Housekeeper ~ Sarah Mallory
  6. The Strawberry Thief ~ Joanne Harris
  7. You'll Never See Me Again ~ Lesley Pearse
  8. The Family Upstairs ~ Lisa Jewell 
  9. The Love Child ~ Rachel Hore
  10. A Ration Book Childhood ~ Jean Fullerton 
  11. The Guardian of Lies ~ Kate Furnivall
  12. The Light in the Hallway ~ Amanda Prowse

πŸ“– Twelve Audio books I have enjoyed listening to:

  1. An Echo in the Bone ~ Diana Gabaldon
  2. Tombland ~ C J Sansom
  3. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock ~ Imogen Hermes Gowar
  4. Written in my Own Heart's Blood ~ Diana Gabaldon
  5. Fingersmith ~ Sarah Waters
  6. The Handmaid's Tale ~ Margaret Atwood
  7. Bring Up the Bodies ~ Hilary Mantel
  8. The Butterfly Room ~ Lucinda Riley
  9. Northern Lights ~ Philip Pullman
  10. The Owl Killers ~ Karen Maitland
  11. David Copperfield ~ Charles Dickens
  12. The Christmas Hirelings ~ Elizabeth Braddon

πŸ“– Twelve books that took me by the hand and led me into the past:

  1. Blood Queen ~ Joanna Courtney
  2. The Familiars ~ Stacey Halls 
  3. The Garden of Lost and Found ~ Harriet Evans
  4. The Almanack ~ Martine Bailey
  5. The Daughters of Ironbridge ~ Molly Walton
  6. Anna of Kleve ~ Alison Weir
  7. Tapestry of Treason ~ Anne O'Brien 
  8. The Crown Agent ~ Stephen O'Rourke
  9. The Photographer of the Lost ~ Caroline Scott
  10. The Glittering Hour ~ Iona Grey
  11. Heir Apparent ~ Susan Grossey
  12. A Cornish Inheritance ~ Terri Nixon

πŸ“– Twelve books that took me into a world of crime and psychological suspense:

  1. In Safe Hands ~ J P Carter
  2. Apple of My Eye ~ Claire Allan
  3. Poetic Justice ~ R C Bridgestock
  4. My Sister's Lies ~ S D Robertson
  5. The Lonely Heart's Crime Club ~ Tanya Bullock
  6. Tick Tock ~ Mel Sherratt
  7. #Taken ~ Tony Parsons
  8. At Your Door ~ J P Carter
  9. Nothing Else Remains ~ Robert Scragg
  10. Murder by the Minster ~ Helen Cox
  11. Black Summer ~ M W Craven
  12. I Dare You ~ Sam Carrington

πŸ“– Twelve books that took me on extraordinary journeys around the world:

  1. Single Ladies of Jacaranda Village ~ Joanna Nell ( Australia)
  2. Dreaming of Tuscany ~ T W Williams (Italy)
  3. Beautiful Bad ~ Annie Ward ( Balkans)
  4. The Stars in the Night ~ Clare Roden ( France/Australia)
  5. Passage to Nuala ~ Harriet Steel (India)
  6. A Cornish Summer ~ Catherine Alliot ( Cornwall)
  7. The Spanish Promise ~ Karen Swan ( Spain)
  8. The Nail House ~ Gregory Baines (China)
  9. Breakfast in Bogota ~ Helen Young ( Colombia)
  10. The Museum of Lost Loves ~ Gary Barker ( Zagreb)
  11. The Land of Trees ~ L A Naylor ( Guatemala)
  12. Rough Time in Nuala ~ Harriet Steel (India)

πŸ“– Twelve Books From Debut Authors :

  1. The Conviction of Cora Burns ~ Carolyn Kirby
  2. The Confession of Franny Langton ~ Sara Collins
  3. The Wayward Girls ~ Amanda Mason
  4. The Colour of Things Unseen ~ Annee Lawrence
  5. A Matter of Interpretation ~ Elizabeth Mac Donald
  6. Sister of Mine ~ Laurie Petrou
  7. The Forgotten Village ~ Lorna Cook
  8. The Thunder Girls ~ Melanie Blake
  9. A Version of the Truth ~ B P Walter
  10. Through the Wall ~ Caroline Corcoran
  11. Blood Orange ~ Harriet Tyce
  12. The Silent Patient ~ Alex Michaelides

    πŸ“– Twelve Books I bought for myself :

    1. A Farewell to France ~ Noel Barber
    2. Hidden ~ Lisa Sell
    3. Sweet Sorrow ~ David Nicolls
    4. Shakespeare's Witch ~ Samantha Grosser
    5. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter ~ Hazel Gaynor
    6. An American Marriage ~ Tayari Jones
    7. Holy Island ~ L J Ross
    8. Only the Dead ~ Malcolm Hollingdrake
    9. The Irish Princes ~ Elizabeth Chadwick
    10. Pleasing Mr. Pepys ~ Deborah Swift
    11. Violet ~ S J Holliday
    12. The Secret Commonwealth ~ Philip Pullman

    πŸ“– Twelve books that surprised me.....in a good way:

    1. Village of Lost Girls ~ Agustin Martinez
    2. The Silent Patient ~ Alex Michaelides
    3. Under the Rock ~ Benjamin Myers
    4. The Wolves of Leninsky Project ~ Sarah Armstrong
    5. When Winter Comes ~ Vivienne Shannon
    6. 10 minutes and 38 seconds in this Strange World ~ Elif Shafak
    7. Ask again, Yes ~ Mary Beth Keane
    8. Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shape Shifting Women ~ Sharon Blackie
    9. The Thunder Girls ~ Melanie Blake
    10. #Sonnets ~ Lucien Young
    11. The Deathless Girls ~ Kiran Millwood Hargreave
    12. Letters to the Earth ~ Anthology

    πŸ“– Twelve Feel-Good Novels :

    1. Maybe this Time ~ Jill Mansell
    2. Rose Petal Summer ~ Katie Fforde
    3. Amazing Grace ~ Kim Nash
    4. A Perfect Cornish Summer ~ Phillipa Ashley
    5. Crikey A Bodyguard ~ Kathryn Freeman
    6. A Cornish Affair ~ Jo Lambert
    7. The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew ~ Milly Johnson
    8. A Walk in Wildflower Park ~ Bella Osborne
    9. Butterfly in Frost ~ Sylvia Day
    10. The Perfect Dress ~ Louisa Leaman
    11. Christmas at Ladywell ~ Nicola Slade
    12. Return to Winter Island ~ Jo Thomas

    πŸ“– Twelve books to be published in 2020 that I can't wait to talk about and which are heading to my to be read pile:

    1. The Lady of the Ravens ~ Joanna Hickson
    2. The Missing American ~ Kwei Quartey
    3.  Six Wicked Reasons ~ Jo Spain
    4. His Countess for a Week ~ Sarah Mallory
    5. Stay Up With Hugo Best ~ Erin Summers
    6. Blood Will Be Born ~ Gary Donnelly
    7. Beyond the Moon ~ Catherine Taylor
    8. Payback ~ R C Bridgestock
    9. A Good Neighbourhood ~ Therese Ann Fowler
    10. Escape Routes ~ Naomi Ishiguro
    11. The Home ~ Sarah Stovell
    12. All the Rage ~ Cara Hunter


     to all of  these talented authors for sharing the gift of their imagination with me. 

    Your books have taken me on the most wonderful adventures in 2019

    Come back tomorrow to see which are my Reads of the Year ....

    Thanks to Jo at The Book Jotter who  inspired this meme...

    Sunday 29 December 2019

    Welcome to #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo ..

    In the New Year I shall be starting an exciting new Sunday Feature which introduces lots of Bloggers and Writers who will be popping onto the blog to share their favourite Sunday Brunch.

    Let's get Sunday Brunch up and running!

    Good morning, everyone! Happy Sunday !

    What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

    Creamy scrambled eggs on slices of thick white toast with plenty of butter. I also love toasted tea cakes so I may just have one or two of those to offer you too.

    Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz? 

    Always tea, preferably my favourite Darjeeling, in a proper teapot served in my favourite china cup and saucer.

    Which of your literary heroes are joining us today? 

    Well...it has to be the American author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, and she just has to bring Jamie and Claire Fraser to Sunday Brunch. Jamie is very keen on virtues of 'Scottish parritch' and Claire, although not renown for her cookery skills, is a lively conversationalist, so I'm sure Sunday Brunch would be a lively affair.

    What’s the title of the book nearest to you? 

    Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust Volume Two : The Secret Commonwealth which was a Christmas present to myself 😊


    What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

    My copy of The Owl Service by Alan Garner, dated 1967, was a birthday present from my brother, Jim. It's a bit bashed and battered now but nevertheless it has survived three house moves and  umpteen different bookshelves.

    Harper Collins Children

    Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

    I've been trying, and failing, to get to grips with the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin.  I've read, Game of Thrones, the first book in the series, but I now seemed to have stalled, so I'd really like to read book two,  A Clash of Kings, this year.

    Harper Voyager
    This edition 2011

    Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it? 

    I never feel guilty about reading anything and my taste is quite eclectic, from really gritty crime, to light hearted romances. If it piques my interest I never feel guilty and I never feel an ounce of book snobbery or feel that a book needs to be over complicated to be any good.

    If the house was on fire which book would you rescue? 

    My signed copy of the 20th Anniversary edition of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and my mum's copy of Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor because it was the first 'grown up' story she let me borrow. It was her favourite book so was very precious to her and remains precious to me too.

    Do you have a reading playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy? 

    I do listen to Spotify when I'm reading and prefer something without lyrics, so its usually something like Einaudi, or a chill out compilation, there's a good Reading Soundtrack on Spotify which is perfect background music. When I was first reading the Outlander series I listened to Clannad's album, Banba, almost non-stop for the time it took me to read the first book in the series, so whenever I hear that album again, and particularly A Gentle Place I am back in my Outlander world.

    Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read? 

    I have a very untidy ' home office' which has a really comfy chair, so that's my favourite place for daytime reading, usually with Timmy curled up near me, he likes to make sure that I can turn the pages. In the evening I tend to read on my comfy couch, usually with Jaffa close by, and together we share whichever comfy throw takes our fancy at the time.

    Give us four essential items that a blogger absolutely needs? 

    A large diary and copious notebooks

    Time to get things done

    A fast broadband connection

    A sense of humour

    Tell us a little about your blog and why you are so passionate about books and reading? 

    In 2011 I took a leap of faith and entered the world of book blogging. With no technical knowledge of where to start, or indeed of how maintain a website, I enthusiastically signed up to Blogger.

    However, having the website wasn’t enough, my blog needed a name and so with the help of Jaffa, my glorious ginger cat, Jaffareadstoo was born. Initially my blog was simply a place to add my thoughts and when I started to tentatively add my book reviews, I did so safe in the knowledge that no-one would read them.

    With patience and enthusiasm for what we do, Jaffareadstoo is now firmly established in the book blogging world. On most days we have several hundred page views and average between 5K-10K views each month. With over 2000 followers on Twitter and a dedicated Facebook page our blog posts regularly reach out to readers, authors, publishers and fellow bloggers.

    Of course in order to review, first I must read, and I have an eclectic taste in books and can’t imagine a day where I don’t have a least a couple of books on the go. With Jaffa and Timmy curled up nearby and armed with copious amounts of my favourite Darjeeling tea, I read in the afternoons and late into the evening and can comfortably read an average length novel in a day.

    Seven years, and nearly 3000 blog posts later, Jaffareadstoo continues to survive and thrive in a competitive world. Being a book blogger is an absolute joy and it’s always a real privilege and such an honour when an author trusts their work with me. We are usually found curled up with a good book and do all that we can to promote books and reading.

    Thanks to ©Lorna Gray for this photograph

    Where can we find you on Social media? 

    · Twitter handle: @jaffareadstoo

    · Instagram handle: @jaffareadstoo

    · Blog/web url: http://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for stopping by, please come and see us again next Sunday and get to know some fabulous bloggers and writers who do so much to promote books and reading.

    Follow on Twitter #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo

    Saturday 21 December 2019

    Happy Christmas 2019...

    Jaffa, Timmy and I are taking a little break now for a few days over this festive time

    May your Christmas book shelves overflow with some amazing books.


    Friday 20 December 2019

    Review ~ Mrs P's Book of Secrets and #30DaysofBookBlogs with Lorna Gray

    Delighted to be part of this Blog Tour 
    celebrating Mrs P's Book of Secrets and #30DaysofBookBlogs

    My thanks to the author for my ecopy of this book
    and the invitation to be part of this blog tour.

    The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.

    But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.

    For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss.

    There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.

    What did I think about it...

    Mrs P's Book of Secrets is set in a small publishing house and in the aftermath of WW2 there are many difficulties still to be faced, with none more so than that of Lucy Peuse, who, as a young widow has been take in by her aunt and uncle who own the publishers, and whilst her position in the business is as a lowly secretary, Lucy, or Mrs P. as she is known, has the gumption to forge ahead with some difficult literary projects. Working alongside Lucy is the new editor of Kershaw and Kathay, Robert Underhill, a survivor, who has his own demons to face, particularly in light of his incarceration as a prisoner of war.

    The author sets the scene well and introduces some interesting characters into the story. I enjoyed being an observer, watching as both Lucy and Robert's characters grow in confidence as the story progresses. The fascinating literary project which brings them together adds a nice level of mystery with some interesting light and shade that helps to give the story an altogether different atmosphere. Bringing together a ghostly story has its own limitations and both Lucy and Robert have to face several personal challenges as they struggle with restrictions in their private lives, so, whilst the mood of the story is, at times, quite serious, it is also has a promise of hope as both Lucy and Robert come to terms with their loss and grief.

    Mrs P's Book of Secrets is an engaging story and a beguiling look at the aftermath of WW2, and it shows just how people were picking up the pieces of their lives again, going forward with renewed expectation and ambition.

    I have enjoyed reading Mrs P's Book of Secrets and have been delighted to be part of the #30DaysofBookBlogs.

    About the Author 

    Twitter: @MsLornaGray #30DaysofBookBlogs

    Instagram: @mslornagray

    Ever wondered what makes a #bookblogger blog? 

    Lorna Gray is interviewing 30+ book reviewers from around the world about their passion, with top tips about what they look for in a novel.

     Take part by following #30DaysofBookBlogs

    Wednesday 18 December 2019

    Blog Tour ~ First in the Fight by Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock

    Delighted to be part of this Blog Tour

    November 2019

    My thanks to the publishers and Love Books Group of my copy of this book
    and the invitation to be part of this blog tour.

    Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more…

    First in the Fight tells the compelling stories of the twenty women featured on the Our Emmeline statue long-list. Author Helen Antrobus brings to life the achievements of these radical Manchester women alongside beautiful illustrations by the Women in Print collective.

    Be part of the legacy of the 20 Manchester women who changed the world.

    The women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. The unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square, strove to represent the contributions that Manchester women had made not only to the city, but also to the rest of the world.

    Sitting alongside stunning illustrations from the ‘Women in Print’ collective, First in the Fight brings to life the stories of a range of inspiring women, from suffragettes, to botanists and mathematicians. The efforts of these pioneering women have shaped the world we live in and have helped pave the way for the voices of the next generation of women to be heard.

    Ester Roper

    What did I think about it...

    This book stemmed from the quest to have a statue to commemorate a woman of significance to Manchester as there hadn't been a statue of a woman erected in the city since Queen Victoria in 1901.  First in the Fight looks at twenty inspirational women who have all left their mark on Manchester, some are instantly recognisable, whilst others have faded into the background, but collectively their stories must never be forgotten, and this remarkable book goes a long way in making sure that their exceptional contributions live on in public memory. 

    Here are the twenty women who were in the running for a statue. They are not all native to the city and not all were advocates for women’s suffrage, but individually they each left a distinct mark on their native, or adoptive, city of Manchester. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories of these inspirational women.

    Margaret Downes 
    Margaret Ashton 
    Mary Quayle
    Ester Roper
    Ellen Wilkinson
    Lydia Becker
    Christabel Pankhurst
    Sylvia Pankhurst
    Emmeline Pankhurst
    Elizabeth Gaskell
    Enriqueta Rylands
    Anne Horniman
    Olive Shapley
    Marie Stopes
    Shena Simon
    Kathleen Ollerenshaw
    Louise DaCocodia
    Elizabeth Raffald
    Emily Williamson
    Sunny Lowry

    After huge consideration and much fund raising the Emmeline Pankhurst statue was unveiled in St Peters Square in Manchester on the 14 December 2018 ...

    “If we win it, this hardest fight of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be easier for women all over the world to win their fight when their time comes.”
    Emmeline Pankhurst.

    This coffee table sized book is beautifully presented with glossy pages and wonderful illustrations which bring the individual stories of these amazing women to life in a very special way. However, the beauty is also in the fine attention to detail, and the enthusiasm which the authors have demonstrated in making a permanent reminder of the contribution each of these women have made to a city which is renown, the world over, for its strong and determined women.


    @HelenAntrobus @Andrew4Didsbury #FirstInTheFight


    Monday 16 December 2019

    Blog Tour ~ I Dare You by Sam Carrington

    Delighted to host today's stop on this Blog Tour

    My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
    and the invitation to be part of the blog tour today

    Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.

    The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.

    No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.

    The village could sleep safe once again.


    Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.

    30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.

    Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

    What did I think about it..

    I Dare You is that interesting blend of past and present and as the two time frames start to collide so long buried secrets start to be revealed. However, the journey to this final reveal is convoluted and complex and filled with lots of twists and turns. In the present we meet up with Anna and Lizzie, two young women who have more than enough going on in their private lives but when they inadvertently meet in the small village of Mapledon in rural Devon, the reasons for their return to this place of childhood memories becomes chillingly apparent as the story progresses.

    The village itself is a major character in the novel, not least because all of the action takes place there but also because it shields a mystery which happened a long time ago and which continues to hold a shadow over those who call Mapledon home.

    The author writes this type of psychological suspense really well and allows just enough tension to pervade without losing sight of the individual personalities of the main players. There are some fascinating characters particularly the shadowy 'Creepy Crawley' around whom the plot circles. I enjoyed watching how the story unfolded, and particularly enjoyed reading the short snappy chapters, and the way in which both past and present were clearly defined without muddling the story with unnecessary detail.

    I Dare You is a clever psychological suspense story in which a definite air of creepiness pervades. It looks at the power of childhood memories and of those long buried family secrets which once exposed can never be forgotten.

    About the Author

    Sam Carrington

    Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Facilitator.

    Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.

    I Dare You  is out now in e-book and paperback and is published by Avon 

    Twitter @samcarrington_1 #IDareYou


    Sunday 15 December 2019

    Blog Blitz ~ In the Heart of Windy Pines by Holly Tierney-Bedord (Giveaway)

    πŸŽ„πŸŽ„ I'm thrilled to be part of this festive Blog Blitz πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

    Novella :274 pages

    My thanks to the author and to Rachel's Random Resources for my ecopy of this book
    and the invitation to be part of this Blog Blitz today

    From the author of Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women comes a new novel featuring characters from Murder at Mistletoe Manor, Carnage at the Christmas Party,and The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club! 

    Klarinda Snow is the innkeeper of Mistletoe Manor in beautiful, remote, Windy Pines, Idaho, where she brings her unique brand of hospitality to the tiny mountain town. When she finds her inn unexpectedly fully booked on a snowy Tuesday night in November, it brings back memories of a tragedy years before. Before she knows what hit her, she and her trusty team of employees (Myrtle, Pierre, and her new night manager, Josephine), have found themselves back at the task of solving another mystery at Mistletoe Manor!

    While this book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novella, if you plan to read the books in the Windy Pines Mystery series or The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, it's highly recommended.

    What did I think about it..

    There can be no better named inn at this time of year than that of Mistletoe Manor which is  run by the aptly named Klarinda Snow, who together with her trusty band of employees help to keep the whole operation running. When an unexpected snowfall brings more than the usual guests to Mistletoe Manor it soon becomes obvious that some of the guests have more on their minds than at first appears.

    With a lightness of touch this delightful inn and its rather unconventional characters come to life, and whilst the premise of a holiday read is usually light and fluffy, this story has more than enough angst among the guests to make this an altogether more substantial read.  I enjoyed  getting to know characters I hadn't met before, and learning about what makes Mistletoe Manor such an interesting place to stay.

    Coming new to this author's work, it took me a little while to fully understand where the story was heading, but there's a nice mystery at the heart of the story and the idiosyncrasies of the guests adds a nice touch of light and shade, and I enjoyed watching how the story progressed. The author describes everything well and brings this tiny mountain town in Idaho to life, sharing quirky moments, which those who are familiar with the series will recognise.

    Whilst In the Heart of Windy Pines can be read as a standalone story those who are familiar with the other books, Murder at Mistletoe Manor, Carnage at the Christmas Party, and The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club will be entirely familiar the author's style of writing and with the place and the people.

    I am sure that fans of  this series will find much to enjoy in reading In the Heart of Windy Pines.

    About the Author

    Holly Tierney-Bedord lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the author of over twenty books including The Woman America Loves a Latte, The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club, and Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women.

    For more information or to subscribe to Holly’s newsletter, visit www.hollytierneybedord.com.

    Twitter @HollyTierney

    ✨ Giveaway to Win a $5 Starbucks card (Open INT) 

    *Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.

    The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. 

    Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.

    ✨ Giveaway to Win a complete collection of Holly Tierney-Bedord audiobooks 
    (Open UK / US Only)
     Only open to those who have a UK or US Amazon Audible Account ✨   

    Prize includes these Audio Books 

    Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below

    *Terms and Conditions – UK and US entries welcome.

    The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for the despatch of delivery of the prize.

    Saturday 14 December 2019

    Hist Fic Saturday ~ Rough Time in Nuala by Harriet Steel

    On Hist Fic Saturday

    Let's go back to....1930s Ceylon

    50853523. sx318 sy475
    October 2019

    My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

    Inspector de Silva’s peaceful evening is disrupted when he is called up to the Royal Nuala Golf Club where a wealthy member has been found brutally murdered.

    Is this a bungled robbery, a private feud, or does the killer have another motive that will cause them to strike again?

    With the help of his resourceful wife, Jane, and a new and unexpected ally, de Silva must navigate his way into the heart of the privileged British establishment to find the answer, and there’s no time to lose.

    Rough Time in Nuala is another colourful and exciting mystery in this series set in the exotic location of 1930s Ceylon.

    What did I think about it..

    When Inspector Shanti de Silva is called upon to investigate a vicious murder which has taken place at the Royal Nuala Golf Club it opens up, once again, a complex case, the type of which this intrepid Inspector excels at investigating. There are many false clues and numerous twists and turns but, as always, the inspector leaves no stone unturned in his quest to get to the bottom of this heinous crime.

    It's such a treat to return to Nuala and meet again with Shanti, and his delightful wife, Jane and I thoroughly enjoy the descriptions of their life together in Nuala which this author does so well. She really brings time and place alive in the imagination, and just as much as I enjoy trying to work out the pieces of the investigative puzzle, so I also find much delight in reading of Shanti's life in his well tended bungalow, his beautiful gardens and his delight in the well made, and delicious curries, which his cook serves at dinner time.

    Rough Time in Nuala is now the seventh book in this series and the characters who make this such an enjoyable experience are now as familiar as old friends. There is no doubt that this author has found her niche in creating the 1930s world of Inspector de Silva. This cosy crime series has the capacity to run for as long as there are stories to tell and I am sure that, thanks to this talented author's imagination, we can look forward to many more Inspector de Silva murder mysteries.   

    You can find out more about Harriet Steel on her blog

    Follow on Twitter @harrietsteel1

    Thursday 12 December 2019

    Paperback Publication Day ~ Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

    ✼✼ I'm delighted to feature my review of Blood Orange on its Paperback Publication Day✼✼

    Blood Orange
    12 December 2019

    My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

    I read Blood Orange in February when I was part of the hardback publication blog tour and I absolutely loved the story. I am delighted to feature my review again on the book's paperback publication day. The cover is stunning - Jaffa and I love it !

    Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

    Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

    Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

    I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

    Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

    I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

    But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

    What did I think about it..

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave, and there is no more tangled a web than the one which weaves its way piece by jagged piece through Blood Orange. The story is dark and edgy, furiously explicit in terms of sexual content, and with some deeply disturbing psychological influences which are implicit right from the start, with a prologue, which, it must be said, chills to the bone.

    The story opens as Alison, a talented barrister, is about to take the lead in her first murder defence, but in a world where stability and control matter, Alison isn’t the most steady of characters, she works hard, plays hard, drinks too much and doesn’t always realise when she is dangerously out of control. And yet, even though, you sense that she is teetering towards some inevitable disaster, there is always a compulsion to urge her on to greater transgressions, and in this respect Alison doesn’t let you down. I've never known anyone press so many self-destruct buttons!

    There are several story strands, the cleverly constructed murder mystery, in which Alison is involved from a legal perspective, forms a small part of the story, however, it is in the toxic relationship Alison has with her husband Carl, and her work colleague, Patrick where the story really takes off in a whole different direction, and which, as the story progresses, leaves you reeling in disbelief.

    Blood Orange is an absolutely gripping psychological thriller, utterly convincing both in terms of plot and malice, and is, without doubt, a stunning debut from an author who knows how to hold the reader in the palm of her hand, cranking up the tension to impossible heights, and never letting go of the action until the whole of the story is revealed in glorious detail.

    Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University beforedoing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in Londonfor nearly a decade. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north London. Blood Orange is her debut novel.

    Twitter @harriet_tyce #BloodOrange