Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping by Cheryl Denise Bannerman @damppebbles #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing y thoughts on Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping by Cheryl Denise Bannerman as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at damppebbles blog tours. My thanks to Emma for the invite and to Denise for my ecopy of this book, my thoughts are my own. You can get your own copy of this book from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping” is the first novel in the Anna Romano Mystery Series. It is a funny, whimsical, murder mystery series that appeals to ‘mystery readers’ of all ages.

Anna Romano is a middle-aged, Italian woman who is also a successful published author, a lover of cats, and an excellent cook with a hankering for Italian cuisine. She lives by herself in her quaint house, in a quiet community, with a white picket fence in Central New Jersey.

When she is not writing her next book or hosting book-signing events with her publicist, she is cleaning litter boxes and baking Cannolis…but never at the same time, of course!

In this first installment, on a typical day in Anna’s somewhat-perfect life, a book-signing event turns her world upside down. Is it a case of mistaken identity or was she just being paranoid?

My Thoughts:

Anna has just stolen and ice-cream bike and is peddling furiously. Why would anyone want to steal and ice-cream bike as their mode of transport? Where do the cats and the cannolis fit in with a kidnapping? This novella revealed all…and an enjoyable time was had as I read about how everything slotted together.

Anna is an author, is single but doesn’t live alone. She lives with six…yep…six feline furbabies. She is such a fun character to read about as she flits through this story. She is energetic, bubbly and seems to have bad luck perched on her shoulder occasionally.

An incident occurs, well actually a few incidents occur. But one in particular means she has to call the police and walk in the local detective. He does listen to her slightly mad sounding story, but he does feel some concern, just as well really. As she will require him more than she realises.

This is such a fun read and very fast paced as I followed Anna. I am going to say that she is a little quirky and this is meant in a positive way. It means she has bundles of energy, can talk or actually babble away incessantly and is a really great character.

This is the first in the Anna Romano Mystery Series. It is a fun and quick read with a bit of serious stuff as well, but no blood and guts. A great read that would appeal to cosy mystery readers. A series that I am definitely going to return to and also recommend.

About the Author:

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Writing under pen name, Cheryl Denise Bannerman, Ms. Powell is an author of two self-published books, and an owner of a 22-year-old Training and Development company, specializing in eLearning, called Learn2Engage.

In her personal life and relationships, Ms. Powell has learned how to turn tragedies into triumphs through her strong will, faith, tenacity and most importantly, her quirky sense of humor. She now turns that keen knowledge of relationships and people, along with her various degrees and experience in Training and Development, into fun, engaging online courses for ‘Corporate America’, and, of course, in her works of fiction.

Within each of her works of fiction, a topic of social concern is addressed. From addictions to domestic violence, and suicide to molestation.

Her writings inspire people to live, laugh, love, learn and grow. She believes that when the world laughs at you, laugh harder. In Ms. Powell’s real and fictional world, she has learned how to create her own ‘happy ending’…one day at a time.

Social Media: Twitter – – FacebookWebsiteInstagramAmazon Author Page

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg @llamamum @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and Stephanie for the copy of her book. You can buy your own copy HERE.

Synopsis:

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

My Thoughts:

When Megan’s Gran dies, it’s up to Megan to travel to France to sort out her Gran’s things, the farm, the legal stuff, the chickens and duck. Oh and the body…

When I read the synopsis for this book it was one that sounded fun and one I definitely wanted to read, it came across as a wacky and fun story-line. As Megan makes her way around this rural area of France she meets a real mix of characters. As word gets out that Megan is a hairdresser, her services are called in and she chops and trims as she goes. A great way to meet and get to know people.

From a visit to the vet with a hen on the back of a scooter and discovering her Gran’s business dealings, Megan had me smirking and chuckling as I read. The characters are fabulous Romaine and his clumsy cousin Nico, Alphonse and Monsieur Moustache are just the tip of the iceberg.

The idyllic setting belies a slightly more sinister side that Megan found herself caught up in. As I got to know Megan I also got to learn some of her own story, as well as her family. The story of the family is one that I am looking forward to knowing more about and it has been wonderfully wrapped in and around the hair cutting, hens and the homicide…

This is a book that I could have easily devoured in one sitting as I was taken by scooter and tractor and police car around rural France.

This is ideal for readers who like a Rom-com, cosy mystery, and a dash of drama. A great first book in the series and left me wanting to know more. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at http://www.bloginfrance.com.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at http://www.editing.zone. The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.

Follow Stephanie on TwitterFacebookBlog

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

My Summer Reading List.

Plans for my summer reading.

As some of you may be aware I am planning on taking a break from Blog Tours over the three months of the summer as work gets crazily busy, I work in a tourist destination and this means long hours and not much time for reading. Even though this was a tough call to make it was also the best call, this way I am not letting any organisers down if I struggle to meet a schedule, also it means I am not rushing to read a book and possibly not enjoying it as much as I should.

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As well as working I do like to get out in my garden, mainly vegetables and some flowers, walking around beautiful Cornwall gardens, coastline and hidden away places. I always have a book with me and my camera.

Then there are my two dogs Billy and Buster, I couldn’t resist putting them in this post. They alert me to the postman/woman arriving so I can intercept (this translates as hides some of the books hehehe) the books that I have bought or been sent 🙂

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So I thought I would make a list of the books that are at the top of my list from my TBR, I have photo’s “woohoo” so you see my physical books and then I will mention some of the books on my kindle. I am obviously not going to be able to read all the books that I am going to list, but it will be great to look back and see how I got on.

So here they are:

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Now to those I have on my Kindle:

I have managed to buy various book series on my kindle and the vast majority are from recommendations and reviews from fellow Book Bloggers. The series I really want to read are

Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone series. I have heard so many good things about this author and I’m really looking forward to reading this series. ( I know I will get many “about time” comments about this lol)

Barbara Copperthwaite: I was over the moon to have won a copy of “Flowers for The Dead” and it is an amazing read. I have since bought all her other books and I am desperate to read them all.

I love the covers and the sound of Bella Osbourne’s “Ottercombe Bay” series and have quite a few of these ready for the odd sunny summers day reading that I may get.

I have been collecting Karin Slaughter books and as yet have not read any, so another new to me author that I am excited to read.

I don’t know if I dare mention that I have not read any Anne Cleaves (Oh I know the shame of it), my husband loves to watch the series Vera and I must admit to following it and cannot wait to get into these and the Shetland ones.

So as you are all responsible for this rather large Kindle (1,122) and also physical books (500+) it will probably be increasing rather than decreasing, as there are some fantastic books coming out. I have a couple of questions for you…….

  1. What book/ series would you start with ?
  2. What is not on my list that should be ? ( I cannot believe I am asking this as I know I will be adding even more to my groaning TBR 🙂  )

 

Any hows, I have to go to work ( surprise, surprise) and I will catch up with you all later. Have fun and read lots

Yvonne xx

#BookReview : Madam Tulip by David Ahern @DaveAhernWriter

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I am delighted to be sharing “Madam Tulip” by David Ahern in the blog today. My thanks to David for my ecopy for my honest review, and an even bigger thank you for introducing me to what I think will be a really great series.

Synopsis:

Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell is young, talented, a teeny bit psychic … and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, and with a little help from her theatrical friends, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madam Tulip, fortune-teller to the rich and famous.But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a castle – a famous rap artist will die.
As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of celebrities, supermodels and millionaires, she finds herself playing the most dangerous role of her acting life.Trapped in a maze of intrigue, money and drugs, Derry’s attempts at amateur detective could soon destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.
Madame Tulip is the first in a series of Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My Thoughts:

Madam Tulip A.K.A Derry O’Donnell is an actress (when she has a job). Bella is Derry’s friend and is the one behind the advice for Derry to use her psychic abilities for gain. Leading them to a world of glitz and glamour that initially sounds wonderful until a deadly side to this social world reveals itself.

This is a wonderful introduction into what I feel will be a really good series. It has the feel of an old style cost mystery with a female sleuth but in a modern setting. The characters are as dysfunctional as they are fun. Derry’s mother is a high flyer in the art scene, her father a horse race gambling drunk and then throw in an ex-model, an old friend who is more than a little cagey and hopefully you will start to see what I mean. With all these different traits you definitely start to remember who is who in the story.

As I said the plot has a cosy mystery feel to it as Derry starts to look into things which would be better left to the professionals. Something she had been told on more than one occasion, and I am glad she didn’t pay any heed to them. Instead we follow Derry through mishaps and adventures as she does what she thinks is the right thing landing her in very deep water.

There are a few characters I really liked and it will be interesting to see if they make an appearance in future books.

If you like you crime and mystery books on slightly a lighter side but with some darker moments, then this is one I would definitely recommend reading. The perfect book to sit and read over an afternoon.

If this has piqued your interest then why not grab a copy or you can head over to Amazon UK for 3 Book Series.

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About the Author:

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.
Madame Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.
David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.
You can learn more about David Ahern and Madam Tulip on his website davidahern.info
Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: facebook.com/davidahernwriter
and Twitter: twitter.com/daveahernwriter

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookTour : A Spell in the Country by @HeideGoody & @IainMGrant with @rararesources

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “A Spell In The Country” by Heide Goody & Iain Grant.  Published by Pigeon Press and available in paperback and eBook format.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

“Dee is a Good Witch but she wonders if she could be a better witch.

She wonders if there’s more to life than Disney movie marathons, eating a whole box of chocolates for dinner and brewing up potions in her bathtub. So when she’s offered a chance to go on a personal development course in the English countryside, she packs her bags, says goodbye to the Shelter for Unloved Animals charity shop and sets a course for self-improvement.

Caroline isn’t just a Good Witch, she’s a fricking awesome witch.

She likes to find the easy path through life: what her good looks can’t get for her, a few magic charms can. But she’s bored of being a waitress and needs something different in her life. So when a one night stand offers her a place on an all-expenses-paid residential course in a big old country house, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

Jenny is a Wicked Witch. She just wishes she wasn’t.

On her fifteenth birthday, she got her first wart, her own imp and a Celine Dion CD. She still has the imp. She also has a barely controllable urge to eat human children which is socially awkward to say the least and not made any easier when a teenager on the run turns to her for help. With gangsters and bent cops on their trail, Jenny needs to find a place outside the city where they can lay low for a while.

For very different reasons, three very different witches end up on the same training course and land in a whole lot of trouble when they discover that there’s a reason why their free country break sounds too good to be true. Foul-mouthed imps, wererats, naked gardeners, tree monsters, ghosts and stampeding donkeys abound in a tale about discovering your inner witch.”

My Thoughts:

Three seemingly unconnected witches are approached by a rather bizarrely dressed flaming hat wearing man called Madison.  He offer them a free 3 week retreat after they had completed a survey.  There they meet other witches, only they do not mention they are witches initially.  They discover they are the first for a course on trying to make them all more modern and progressive.  So, with a free course, a huge house, witches, spells you know something is going to go awry!

This is a great read with good mystery and mayhem added into the boiling pot (or should I say cauldron).  The mystery and mayhem pretty much start from the outset as we are introduced to the women, it has a humorous feel to it at times but with an underlying feeling of something not being right.  I am a great believer of “you don’t get anything for free” or “you don’t get ‘owt for n’owt”, this is the case with the witches.  But even though there are things going on, they do build a bond and form friendships and I think they definitely benefited in a round about way from the course.

There are several characters that are both human and definitely non human, I have to admitting to liking a certain little chap called Jizzmus the best.  He is rude, crude says the most inappropriate things and just really appealed to my sense of humour with his antics. There is a plot that gradually unfolds in this story that I am not going to delve into as I don’t want to spoil it for others, but it has darker and wicked elements.  This is a really well paced book with quick chapters.  I did however find myself backtracking a couple of times as I lost track of which character I was following, but I think this is more a kindle thing as I didn’t always notice the line breaks as the characters were alternated.

A great cosy paranormal mystery read that I really enjoyed.  Some really imaginative and well described characters, good plot and well paced.  This is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Authors:

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Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of seven novels, two short story collections and a novella.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company. Their latest novel, Oddjobs 2: this time it’s personnel, was published in August 2017.  Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Follow Heide and Iain on ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter HeideGoody and IainMGrant

International Witch Pampering Pack Giveaway

 

The package, worth over £100 contains…

  • A lacy gothic bracelet
  • A witch’s hat fascinator
  • A pair of green and black stripy tights
  • A Yankee candle in “Forbidden Apple”
  • A set of wand-shaped makeup brushes
  • A gothic notebook (for spells!)
  • A bookmark featuring a squashed witch (with just the legs sticking out!)
  • A gemstone ring
  • A gorgeous coffin-shaped vegan eyeshadow palette from Lunatick Cosmetic labs (with a bat-shaped mirror!)  

CLICK HERE TO ENTER ( Good Luck 🙂 xx )

**Check out the thoughts of other Bloggers on the tour**

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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and get a copy of this book 🙂 xx