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:

Cheryl Denise Bannerman author photo

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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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.

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#BlogBlitz : Andorra Pett & the Oort cloud Cafe by Richard Dee @RichardDockett1 @rararesources

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on this fun cosy mystery book “Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe” by Richard Dee. This is available in paperback and eBook format.  My thanks to Richard and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Meet Andorra Pett; with her trusty sidekick, she’s taken over a derelict café. On a mining station. It just happens to be orbiting Saturn!
She’s hoping for a fresh start, away from all the drama of her old life. It’s a chance to relax and start again in a place where nobody knows anything about her or her past.

But the café holds a secret, and secrets have a habit of coming out; whether you want them to or not. And being accident prone doesn’t help. The more you try to pretend that you know what’s going on, the worse it gets.
Andorra’s plans for peace and quiet get lost amid the revelations and skullduggery and she soon realises that the fate of the whole station lies in her hapless hands.
In space, you can still trip over your feet; the question is, will you land upright?

My Thoughts:

Andorra and Cyril, (Andi & Cy) decide to relocate to a mining station.  The station is responsible for mining the rocks that make up the rings of Saturn, it has the basics on site that the inhabitants need.  Andi and Cy take over the abandoned “ucky Strike Cafe” (the ‘L’ fell off ).  It’s when they start checking round the premises that they realise it holds a secret, too late to back out now as their customers are arriving.

Oh this is a wonderful cosy mystery.  Andi and Cy have a brilliant dynamic and the author has explored and developed this really well, they are my far my favourite characters.  The others that you meet along the way are in themselves quirky and fun but also there is an underlying feeling of who can be trusted.  Many of them have a secret or two and are not completely honest when confronted about their involvement.  Richard has given really good description of the station, going as far as to explain how it works.  It has a farm, observatory, diner, shops, but he has gone into a bit more detail how the mining and the farm work in unison.  This is not over the top technical detail, but enough that I could follow what he meant.  These sections of the story are a great reminder of the setting and it helps to reinforce that feeling.  The plot was one that had me guessing right through, there are things that caught me by surprise with the red herrings and blind alleys that Richard has expertly lead this reader down.  It has a great amateur sleuthing feel to it with a grand exposing finale that I love.

Described as ‘Agatha Raisin in space’ story, after reading I am in agreement with this statement.  This is a great cosy mystery read with surprising twists, a fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I had a smile on my face when I had finished, a ‘feel good’ read.  This is a book I would highly recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

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A native of Brixham in Devon, Richard Dee’s family left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986. Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich. In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as H.M.S. Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority. Richard was offered part time working in 2010, which allowed him to return to live in Brixham, where he took up writing and blogging. He retired in 2015, when he set up and ran a successful Organic bakery, supplying local shops and cafés. The urge to write eventually overtook the urge to bake but Richard still makes bread for friends and family. Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.

He can be found  Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter 

Other Titles by Richard Dee:

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#BookReview : The Little Village Christmas by @SueMoorcroft : pub by @AvonBooksUK #FestiveReads

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“The Little Village Christmas” by Sue Moorcroft.  Published by Avon Books UK and is available in paperback, eBook and audio.  I do actually recommend buying the paperback book, it is sparkly, and shiny and has glitter that stays on the book and not on your face ! (Apologies, a very girly moment there, girly moments are a rarity for me !!)  I read this book on the recommendation of A Love of Books  Facebook Group for their monthly Book Night pick.

Book Details: 

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (2 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000826001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008260019
  • Amazon UK link

Synopsis:

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…

Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

My Thoughts:

The village has come together with money to restore the old village pub but as a Community Cafe.  But after all the money is stolen along with almost all of the period features the chance of being able to transform the old pub looks lost.  But not so, there are some who are not willing to just give up, instead a stubborn determination takes over and they want the project to remain on track.  Ben is a newcomer to the village, but has a family connection to the village, he offers help to Alexia, the project manager, an old adversary has a change of heart and there are those who want to distance themselves from the negativity of the theft.

I really enjoyed this book, it is a light hearted and humorous at times read, with a warm cosy feel to it.  I found some of the local community references very believable, living in a village myself.  I found that I could mirror some of Sue’s characters with some of our own locals, though I would never say which ones.  This added that little bit extra special something for me, the believe-ability of the community was great.  Even though there is quite a limited cast for the village.  This is where we learn more of Alexia and her role in the village and what her dreams are.  Ben’s story is also included and also his connection to the village.

Even though this is a story with a Christmas element in it, it is not a mistletoe, baubles, fairy lights,  twinkly jumper wearing book.  It takes place on the run up to Christmas, but with all the busy-ness of the characters in this book, they don’t have the time to thinks about it too much.

This is a really enjoyable, cosy, snuggly on a sofa, big cushion hot chocolate read.  Get comfortable for this, I read it virtually in one sitting, if things like going to work hadn’t got in the way. I would have done.  I definitely recommend this to readers of feel good, warm, light-hearted, crime and mystery books, with a sprinkle of romance to top it off nicely.  I am going to admit to being aware of this author, but (whispers…) not reading any of her books, this is absolutely going to change. A great introduction to this authors works, in my opinion. Now off to order a couple more of her books 🙂

About the Author:

B14P3XHiAvS._SY200_Best-selling author Sue Moorcroft writes women’s contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes. Her last book, The Christmas Promise, was published by Avon Books UK. It reached #1 in the UK Kindle chart and did well in mass market paperback both in the UK and in Germany (WinterZauberKüsse). Her new book, Just for the Holidays, is already a best-seller in several categories.

Sue has won the Best Romantic Read Award, been nominated for a RoNA and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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#BlogBlitz : Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe : with @rararesources : #FestiveFiction #HotOffThePress #Giveaway

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I would like to wish Helen a Happy First Birthday for “Christmas at The Little Knitting Box”.  I am delighted to be part of the blog blitz celebrations for this.  Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot.

*****Book News Alert*****

Helen has the the next book available on Amazon UK & US for pre-order, release date is 12th December, not long to wait for  “Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn”. You will find details of this next book at the end of this post.

Synopsis:

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.

Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.

When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful, cosy, snugly, wintry read.  Meet Cleo, she ran to New York 4 years ago from England, leaving behind a failed marriage.  Now divorced she has taken over The Little Knitting Box, a family run business that Cleo fits into perfectly.  She has found her safe haven amongst the ribbons, buttons, threads and wool that makes up this haberdashery shop.

Now meet Dylan, ex husband, ex lawyer and father of two.  Things were going well until his ex-wife Prue starts spending more time with the children.  She has made a mistake, wants to try again, be part of the family.  Dylan thinks she has something up her sleeve.

But things for these two people are about to change.  Unforeseen developments are on the horizon that will make both Cleo and Dylan re-think their individual futures.

This is a story that has pulled on the city of New York, a city that does Christmas, and does it well.  Helen has managed to bring the sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere onto the pages and into my head.  She has invoked the warm cosy Christmas feeling into her pages and has wrapped it around a story very adeptly.  The Knitting Box descriptions are a delight, I could see the colours, shapes and feel the textures.  The plot hooked me from the first few paragraphs and kept me turning the pages. Among the plots that are told in this story, there is one that I really liked.  Second chances,  should people be given a second chance ? This I really liked as there were may different aspects, scenarios and situations that involved this theme.  A constant will they, won’t they plot, with some unexpected twists and developments.

This is a book that I fell in love with, it is out of my usual reading genres, but I am so glad I gave this book a chance.  I wanted a read that was Christmas themed, with a bit of romance and had a good story line.  This ticked all of those requirements and added quite a lot more.  A look at life, love, relationships and past personal problems that have an impact on life.

I would highly recommend this beautifully written Christmas book.  A great read that is perfect for snuggling up under a blanket or beside an open fire with a constant supply of hot chocolate.  Ideal for readers of romance, women’s fiction and general fiction.

About the Author:

CATLKB - authorpic1  Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

 

Follow Helen Website  Twitter  Facebook

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1861.0 KB
  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

*********Book News – Hot Off The Press**********

I as mentioned earlier in this post, Helen has a new book coming out, “Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn” .

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Synopsis:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but is it the time to fall in love? 

As the flames on the log fire flicker and the snowflakes swirl above the New York streets, maybe this Christmas could be the one that changes everything…

When Darcy returns to Manhattan, she’s put in charge of the Inglenook Inn, a cosy boutique hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Inn needs a boost in bookings if it’s to survive the competition, so Darcy is convinced that hosting Christmas this year is the answer. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a face from the past, which can only spell trouble.

Myles left England behind and took a job in New York. It’s a step forwards in his career, and has the added bonus of being nowhere near his family. He’s also hoping to avoid Christmas, the worst time of the year. But when his company puts him up at the Inglenook Inn and he recognises Darcy, it isn’t long before they clash. 

When disaster strikes, can Myles and Darcy put their differences aside to make Christmas at the Inglenook Inn a success?

Publication Date – 12tth December 2017

Pre-order Now!

Amazon UK   or Amazon.com

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As if we hadn’t been spoilt enough there is also a great giveaway, enter below for a chance to win a paperback copy and chocolate.  Good Luck xx

**>Click Here to Enter<**

 

 

Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book.