Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons @LouiseBurfDons @RandomTTours #suspense #historicalfiction #spythriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons. This is a historical fiction story set in the 1960s and is one I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my copy of the book for the Blog Tour.

A colonial-era thriller set against the background of big power conflict. The ultimate timepiece tinderbox of sun, sex and spies.

Kuwait 1960. With Soviet backing Iraq plans to invade.

Gordon Carlisle lives in the expat community of Ahmadi with little to worry about other than when to next don his dinner jacket.

Following contact by an MI6 agent everything changes.

Even marriage to his beautiful new wife Anita breaks down as he becomes a suspect in a chain of deaths in the Protectorate.

Ian Fleming’s time in Kuwait is recorded at first hand as Britain prepares to meet the Iraqi forces head on with Operation Vantage.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that is a little bit of a slow burner but one that slowly crept up on me. I did struggle a little in the beginning but once I got to know the characters I began to feel more effortless with the book. While it started as a slow burner it definitely picked up pace as the story unfolded, and, what an intriguing story it was!

This is set in 1960 in Kuwait, I am mostly aware of the recent history of this area, but I didn’t know much about it from the 60s, just a little before my time. The author has woven an interesting mix of fact with fiction to give a convincing and extremely twisted account of the roles of spies, governments, double agents and foreign powers in the region. It is focused on Gordon Carlisle.

Gordon is a bit of a non-descript man as such, goes to work, has friends, is married to Anita and carries on with his life in the Ahmadi ex-pat community. Talk between friends about potential problems in Kuwait, if the British government will send in troops and if those living there will have to flee.

With rumour running rife it doesn’t take much for suspicions to escalate. This means that one act can be seen as something more sinister. When the finger points in the direction of Gordon, he above all is surprised. In a world of espionage nothing and no one is completely innocent… are they?

I really enjoyed the weaving and intrigue the author built up around her characters. I did kind of like Gordon and I did feel for him as he did seem to be the innocent party. It is however that old saying of “there’s no smoke without fire” or that he surely must have known something. This constant state of suspicion makes everyone look guilty.

While the author told of Gordon, his friends, work and the politics of the area there is something else working in the background. This makes the story addictive and it did keep my interest. With mentions of anthrax, bombs, kidnapping and questioning by the police, there is enough of a tense atmosphere to create a dangerous scenario.

I liked this one and I did like the slower pace in the beginning as there are quite a few characters to get to know and also some history of the region and its main players. An enjoyable story and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This book is a work of fiction but inspired by real events. Louise Burfitt-Dons was born and brought up in Kuwait during the threat of invasion by Iraq in 1960 and 1961. Her father Ian Byres was the Preventative Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Company based in Ahmadi. At the end of 1960 Ian Fleming visited Kuwait to write a book. Louise is the author of the bestselling Karen Andersen Thriller series. Our Man in Kuwait is a stand alone novel.

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So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner #SoPretty @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #thriller #psychological #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for So Pretty by Ronnie Turner. I read this book before Christmas and adored its eerie atmosphere. This book also became one of my Top Reads of 2022! Also, I really have to mention the cover of this book 😱 it is insanely appropriate!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this amazing book from Orenda Books.

The arrival of a young man in a small town sparks, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A hypnotic gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

MY REVIEW

Oh My Goodness!!! What an amazing book this was. The author started with one thing then it gradually morphed into something so much darker than I ever expected, all in a very, very good way I must add.

This story is about two people and the chapters alternate between the two of them. Ada is a single mother and lives in Rye, never quite fitting into this small and clique-ridden village. She is always polite but always on the edge of things.

Teddy arrives and gets a job in an old curiosity/ knick-knack/ random things and objects shop. The owner is a bizarre man, to say the least, he doesn’t speak, he hasn’t interviewed Teddy and seems to lurk in the shadows.

It is natural that these two lonely people should meet and become friends. But there are warnings for Teddy about the shop and of things that may have happened in the past. Ada is aware that something has happened, she doesn’t know the full story though.

This is a remarkable book to read, it is a story that feels frantic at times with the emotions of the characters tumbling across the pages. Then there are quieter, more considered and slower breathing spaces where the author describes this sinister shop and the curios within its doors and behind the windows.

The shop is one of those weird and wonderful places full of things you would expect to see in one of those old museums that is hidden on a back street somewhere. In fact, this place sort of reminded me of a curious and wonderfully bizarre museum I visited on holiday in Ilfracombe in Devon. A place where there are drawers of insects, jars of animal parts and yes even shrunken heads! For me, this book brought memories of some of the objects I had seen, but then the author so brilliantly added a dark and atmospheric air to her story. This at times felt incredibly creepy, sinister and macabre.

The way emotions of the characters and also the way she has made the shop a character in its own right are fabulous. There is a wonderful, almost lyrical way to her writing at times and this almost lulls the reader into a false sense of security.

The storyline itself,m well that is something that I didn’t expect, well I say that, but I did have a feeling where things may go but definitely not to the extent they did.

This is a brilliant book and it is one that I adored from the first pages to the very last. A tense, mysterious thriller that had me hooked. An amazing book and one that I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age,
she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie is
a Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

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The Family Tree Mystery by Peter Bartram @PeterFBartram @RandomTTours #mystery #historicalfiction #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Family Tree Mystery by Peter Bartram. I have been a fan of his Colin Crampton series for quite a while now and it is always a delight to be able to catch up with Colin and his girlfriend Shirley.

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My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and to Peter for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my copy of this brilliant mystery book.

A FAMILY TREE… SKELETONS FROM THE PAST

Brighton crime reporter Colin Crampton gets on the trail of a big story when Hobart Birtwhistle, a distant relative of feisty model Shirley Goldsmith, is mysteriously murdered.

Colin and Shirley team up to investigate the case. Spiky history don, Victoria Nettlebed, suggests the mystery may lie a century earlier in the life of an Australian gold prospector… and the death of his partner.

But does Nettlebed know more than she’s telling? And why did cockney metals trader Lionel Bruce meet Birtwhistle days before his death?

Shirley wants Colin to track down her long-lost relatives. But more murders bring the threat closer to home. The pair tangle with London East End gangsters, an eccentric Scottish lord, and a team of women cricketers in their hunt for the truth.

There are laughs alongside the action as Colin and Shirley uncover the shocking secrets of the family tree. And Shirley has one last surprise for Colin.

Purchase Link HERE

MY REVIEW

It is always a pleasure to pick up the latest Crampton of The Chronicle book. Colin Crampton is a journalist for the Brighton newspaper The Chronicle. This series is set in the 60s and this particular one is in July 1967. Colin’s girlfriend Shirley has been contacted by a distant relative that wants to meet her, while Shirley is excited Colin is suspicious. I should mention that Shirley is a model and Australian.

For two people who seem so different I adore the combination of Colin and Shirley, they just rub along together so well and the author obviously has great fun writing some of their scenes. Not wanting Shirley to go alone, Colin accompanies her to what he thinks will be a suspicious relative, well suspicious is right as the relative is dead. Murdered!

This starts Colin on a search for how the dead man and Shirley could possibly be related. How this story gets to the end and a conclusion is a series of clues, red herrings, more bodies and a road trip or two.

I adore this series and the author has once again given some fabulous lines to his characters to make me snigger, there are bodies and danger but the author keeps the humour to make this a wonderful cosy mystery story. The story is one that will lead Colin up and down the country and while the newspaper budget doesn’t stretch to a trip to Oz, phone calls are made. I like the era of this book as there are no mobiles or internet, clues are sought the old fashioned way and with the odd back-hander. As Colin works on the paper he has quite a few people that he can call on for help, but some are seriously dangerous.

The story follows the search for the truth about Shirley’s family, she doesn’t know much and it is a chance for her to discover her roots. I can guarantee she never expected to discover what she did and it makes for fabulous reading. And, there is a wonderful ending for this book, it is one I have been waiting for!

Mixing in a women’s cricket team, some dodgy east-end characters, gold miners and the odd Lord makes this an entertaining read and one that throws up many surprises. It is one for those who love a detective-style story with all the jargon, the slang and the slightly off-the-books mystery. Not your usual characters but my goodness it makes for such an entertaining and surprising read. I adored this latest book and it soon became a book that I couldn’t put down. Another on-sitting read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befit stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle HERE.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Follow Peter on FacebookTwitter

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The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood @Authormary @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #historicalfiction #hisotricalromance #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood. This is part of a series and it is a fabulous one at that. I would also like to wish Mary a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my PB copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour. This is published by Pan MacMillan.

“The Orphanage Girls reunite in the second installment of a moving saga series about an orphanage in London’s East End, from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls, Mary Wood.

Ellen
  Abandoned by her father for the second time, left scarred from the orphanage, Ellen finally finds happiness and hope – reunited with her long-lost gran. But it cannot compensate for being torn apart from her beloved friends Ruth and Amy. When a devastating encounter leaves Ellen broken and desperate, she is forced to fight her past demons.

  Ruth 
  Ruth has found peace, building a new life as an actress surrounded by new friends. But still, she longs to be with Ellen and Amy after everything they endured together in the orphanage. Amy was shipped to Canada with hundreds of other orphans, what hope have they of finding her?


  One wish comes true when Ruth’s acting career leads her to Ellen. No sooner has the dust settled, war is on the horizon. Friendship locked them into each other’s her hearts forever. 

  Will they find Amy? Can The Orphanage Girls ever unite?

MY REVIEW

This is such a wonderful book and as always, the author has created a heartbreaking story for her main characters.

Ruth and Ellen had been at the orphanage, been through some awful times and then they are split up. Ruth stayed in London with her friend and started to make hats. Ellen got taken away by her father and left with her grandmother. Their lives are very different and they have not seen each other for quite a while.

It is a shock when Ellen sees Ruth in a newspaper, Ruth works in a theatre and is quite successful. She still makes her hats and is part of the Red Cross. Ellen who is younger has had a private tutor and after an awful event needs help.

The author has created a heartbreaking story for Ellen, it is one that is making her struggle with her emotions and it is having a drastic effect on her mental health. This is the turn of the 1900s and it while there have been advances in medicine, there is still a large stigma. The route the author took for Ellen was a great one and it saw a different aspect of how mental health conditions would be treated.

When the girls eventually do meet up they become closer again, but the threat of WWI is looming and the girls want to do their part in helping.

This is such a wonderful story and although it is full of tragedy and heartbreak for both of them. there is also a huge amount of love, support and respect between these girls. They have been through a lot together and they are now going to have to deal with more as the war begins to impact their personal lives.

The author does a wonderful job of creating a storyline that weaves through the lives of the girls and those they meet. People from their past are even that far from their thoughts. This at times makes creates a wobble in their emotions, but it shows them how far they have come, what they can achieve and how they are going to deal with the future.

This is one for fans of women being strong in the face of adversity, of women helping their country and also each other. A story of compassion, loyalty and bravery. It is part of a series, but it would work well as a stand-alone book, but in all honesty, the previous book gives so much about the characters that you will be missing out. This is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary
Wood’s childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. Throughout her life Mary has held various
posts in office roles, working in the probation services, and brought up her four children and
numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first
put pen to paper in 1989 while nursing her mother through her last months, but didn’t become
successful until she began self-publishing her novels in 2011.


Her novels include All I Have to Give, An Unbreakable Bond, In Their Mother’s Footsteps and the
Breckton novels.

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The Will by Rebecca Reid @RebeccaCNReid @RandomTTOurs #suspense #family #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The WIll by Rebecca Reid. This is a fabulous story that had me blind-sided a couple of times.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my e-copy of this book from the publisher –

The Mordaunts aren’t like most families…


For one, their family home is Roxborough Hall – a magnificent, centuries-old mansion in the Norfolk countryside. For another, the house isn’t passed down from parent to child – but rather to the family member deemed most worthy.


Cecily Mordaunt is dead. On the evening of her funeral, her family will gather for dinner and each will be given a letter, revealing who is the next custodian of Roxborough Hall.


The house is a burden, a millstone, a full-time job…but they all want it. And some are willing do anything to get it.


One family. Eight letters. Who will get what they deserve?

MY REVIEW

The synopsis is short but more than enough to convince me that I wanted to read this book. I mean, a death, a will, a large house and family, that in itself is a pot simmering waiting for the inevitable to happen.

The thought of owning a large house is great, but when you are one of several that want it then tensions arise. I will admit the Mordant family are not backstabbers, they come across as polite and civil, although not all of them are like that. There is some behind-the-scenes sniping and manipulating, but then it is what makes the story so interesting.

The author has set this story up brilliantly, the house is to be left to one of the family, and it is not passed down to the eldest son or anything as archaic as that. Instead, it is down to the wishes of the recently deceased Cecily.

The author swaps back and forth between the present family and Cecily’s life growing up. I enjoyed both of the timelines but the present-day one is the one that takes precedence. Gradually the author lets you know about each of the family members, introducing them as such. They are a mix of siblings and their children.

With a reasonably large family group, it was easy to keep p with who was who. They each want the house, each one has their own plans for what they would like to do with it. The author works some brilliant subplots into this and I was never sure who was going to be the best one to own the house.

This is a mystery wrapped around the family group and it makes for a wonderful story. the characters are likeable on the whole, with the odd exception. This is a mix of contemporary fiction and mystery. It is a wonderful read and one that I would definitely recommend .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Reid is the author of the novels Perfect Liars, Truth Hurts and Two Wrongs, and the nonfiction book The Power of Rude. She is a freelance journalist and columnist for the Telegraph’s women’s section and a regular contributor to Telegraph culture. She is the former digital editor of Grazia magazine and has previously written for Stylist, the Independent, the Guardian, The Times, Marie Claire, the New Statesman and Glamour Magazine. She regularly contributes to Good Morning Britain, Sky News and various BBC radio programmes. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway.

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The Cruise by Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #mystery #suspense #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cruise by Catherine Cooper. I have read one of her other books, The Chalet and her latest one is fabulous as well.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, each passenger becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished? Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Find out in the twisty new thriller from the queen of glamorous crime, Catherine Cooper.

MY REVIEW

The synopsis gives the basics for part of this novel, there is however another side to it that isn’t mentioned. So, I am going to focus on the part of the story that is mentioned in the synopsis.

The story has a brief intro with the death of a man, then there is a prologue then the story starts. The death of Lola a dancer on a large cruise ship is a shock. When she was last seen she was visibly upset, when she was last heard she was arguing. Why was she upset and who did she argue with?

The author has given a story that had me addicted as I discovered this was one that had a split timeline. The now part deals with Lola, the past is something else entirely. I didn’t work out the connections, yes not A connection, but several connections, until the author dropped the literal bombshells.

The idea of working on a cruise ship is one that has never appealed to me. Being close to people you work with and never having a moment to yourself, always being on call just never appeals to me. The author does give some great info about living aboard a cruise ship and also drops in some really interesting facts that I hadn’t even considered.

The story is one that flits between the timelines and it gradually builds up a picture but one that is not complete until much later in the book. There is a sense of distrust and when a certain few seem to be suspect in the death of Lola the suspicion and suspense of the story build.

There was a lot I didn’t see coming in this story, it is one that took me by surprise and had me eagerly turning the pages to discover the full truth. It soon became obvious to me that this would be a one-sitting read as I needed to know the answers to all the questions.

This is a fabulous story that I adored, full of mystery and intrigue, tension and suspense. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines,
specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives
in France with her husband and two teenage children.
Her debut thriller THE CHALET was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the
Kindle top 100. THE CRUISE is her third novel

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The Imposter by Leona Deakin @LeonaDeakin1 @RandomTTours #crime #mystery #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Imposter by Leona Deakin. This is the 4th book in the series and if you are a fan of riveting psychological thrillers then this should be on your TBR list.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher.

Dr Bloom is faced with her most challenging case yet as she races to catch a highly unpredictable
murderer in London. He doesn’t just want your identity. He wants your life…


No one sees him coming.


A stock-market trader is pushed from a high-rise balcony and falls to his death on the street below. The only clue the police can find is a box of matches.

No one survives for long.


The decomposing body of a member of the Saudi Royal Family is discovered in a car. Evidence suggests the killer took the man’s life, then stole his identity, wore his clothes and lived in his hotel room – before vanishing into thin air like smoke.

Nothing but matchsticks are left behind.


Dr Bloom realizes the only thing linking these murders is a trail of burnt matches and broken lives. Time is running out – and if she isn’t careful, she might be the next to burn …

MY REVIEW

This is a series that I do think you need to have at least read the first book, as I have, to understand the relationship between three of the characters. The three are Dr Augusta Bloom, Marcus Jamieson and Seraphine. These three have a special link, it is one that I really enjoyed reading in the first book, and I can see the author has developed this even more. There are mentions of previous cases that I assume are part of the two books I have not read. I do think this book works without reading the previous ones.

A murder has occurred, and Bloom is called in for her expertise in psychology and profiling. Bloom looks at scenes in a slightly different way and she is able to spot some similarities between this and another murder. Once she finds a link in one, she looks for further clues, unfortunately, it is not as easy as that and there is something that doesn’t quite match up. This throws the case into confusion, and some think that Bloom has alternative reasons for being on the case. She works with Marcus and together they try and get their heads around what is going on. Then we have Seraphine, nothing is straightforward if she is involved, but what role she actually plays and how she schemes are something that she specialises in.

This is a brilliant book for lovers of psychological thrillers and crime stories. Having the viewpoint of a psychologist trying to help connect the clues is great. It gives one side to any analysis the other side is that of the psychopath. You just have to know who the psychopath is, or in this case, which of the psychopaths are involved in what crime?

This is a riveting cat-and-mouse story with many different twists and also more than one storyline. This could make it confusing to follow, but the author has kept control and leads the reader through the clues, the links and to the conclusion.

I really enjoy the tense and suspense-fuelled feel of this book. Even though I missed a couple of the books I immediately remembered the main three characters and how much I enjoyed the first story.
The author delves into some really interesting psychological conditions, and what an interesting this concept made to the story.

This is a well-paced book, it does feel fast-paced but not massively so. There are times when the author stops to give her cast a chance to stop and think. It is during these moments that I discovered more about the case and also where the leads were potentially taking the team.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I am annoyed with myself for missing books 2 and 3, but I am glad I have read the 4th. This is a tense and chilling story, it is one that had me hooked from the first few pages. Ideal for those who adore thrillers, crimes, procedural style and psychological stories. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leona Deakin draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. Leona was part of a team responsible for designing methods of selection for recruiting and promoting officers from PC to Chief Superintendent. Her role was to create realistic policing scenarios – from personnel issues to large scale incidents (plane crash, terrorist bomb etc) – that could be used to test leadership skills. To do this she spent a great deal of time interviewing and observing officers at various ranks and reviewing cases. This gave Leona an insight into the police culture that helps her to write authentic character interactions in her novels.
Leona is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds. She has written four novels in the acclaimed Dr Augusta Bloom series: Gone, Lost, Hunt and The Imposter.

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The Carnelian Tree by Anne Pettigrew @pettigrew_anne @RandomTTours @ringwoodpublishing #murder #cosycrime #mystery #whodunnit #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Carnelian Tree by Anne Pettigrew. This 2was a wonderful murder mystery story that had a great whodunnit vibe to it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Ringwood Publishing.

A dead body, a disappearance, and an epic lost in time. Unrelated incidents on the surface. Judith Fraser’s Oxford sabbatical quickly takes a sharp turn when she gets tangled in the mysterious murder of a colleague. With threads leading nowhere, conflicting impressions about people around her, and concern for increasing risk to her loved ones, whom can she trust? Her eccentric housemates? The CIA? Or, herself? Too many questions and insufficient answers.

A uniquely amusing and page-turning mystery novel set in 2003 on the eve of the Iraqi War, The Carnelian Tree follows the journey of Judith Fraser as she unravels mysteries of locked doors, missing computers, cat’s collars, and Reuter’s reports, with the help of DCI Keith Steadman, her potential love interest. Judith probes into people, power, politics, and sex, only to discover that some things remain unchanged. With a shady glimpse of the Oxford underbelly, this cross-genre novel will appeal to the full range of crime and mystery readers including Cosy Crime fans.

MY REVIEW

This is a murder mystery that is one that would have a certain Belgian Detective scratching his head I am sure. The story starts off as a professor is murdered, then a computer goes missing, along with a diary and the whereabouts of a manuscript and ancient relics are brought into the mix.

The main protagonist is Judith, she is already a teacher but is returning to Oxford to continue her studies. Judith lodges in one of the houses that is shared by various other people, one of which is the murdered professor. It is she who discovered his body and then finds that she is more interested in discovering what happened as there are a series of suspicious happenings, nothing she can particularly discover definitely evidence for but enough for her to voice her concerns to the Detective in charge, Keith Steadman.

In between drinks, studies, coursework, chats and getting together Judith along with some of the other house members and her friends, they start to piece together events themselves. This is a wonderful who-dun-it mystery and one that kept me on my toes as the author led me from one piece of information to another but kept the finishing line beyond my reach until she was ready.

At times this story felt almost like a comedy as some of the things did make me chuckle, it is a wonderful cosy crime and there is a good amount of tension but in a more friendly way. As I mostly read crime thrillers with more of a bloody or brutal aspect to them, it was really great to get rid of the macabre for something a bit lighter but still with a wonderful amount of suspense and tension.

I really enjoyed this one and if you like a more mysterious rather than bloody murder then this is definitely one for you. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Anne Pettigrew was a family doctor for 31 years and also has a degree in Medical Anthropology from Oxford. She wrote extensively in the national medical and lay press until retirement when she turned to penning novels about women doctors, discrimination, and crime. She was a Bloody Scotland Crime Fiction Festival 2019 Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and multiple short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.

Past novels: Apart from containing crime, Not The Life Imagined and Not The Deaths Imagined follow Dr Beth Slater’s career and challenges from the 1960s to the ‘80s. This latest stand-alone novel, The Carnelian Tree, charts the tribulations of Scots teacher Judith Fraser on sabbatical in Oxford at the time of the Iraq War.

Social Media – Twitter WebsiteAmazon UK

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Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter @DawnOPorter @RandomTTours @HarperCollinsUK #fictionpubteam #contemporaryfiction #family #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter. This is a story that is at times amusing and has some interesting looks at stereotypes and how we can set ourselves targets that are too high.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

SINGLE – INDEPENDENT – ALOOF – CUNNING – AGILE – CANNOT BE TAMED

We’ve all known a cat lady – and we’ve probably all judged her too.

But behind the label – the one that only sticks to women – what if there’s a story worth nine lives?

Told with Dawn’s trademark warmth, wit and irreverence, CAT LADY is a story about defying labels and forging friendships. It’s for the cat lady in all of us – because a woman always lands on her feet . . .

MY REVIEW

I am a dog owner, I know people can have cats and dogs, but for a lot of us, it tends to be one or the other. The author has chosen the cat and a woman for the main focus of her story, there is a certain stigma or stereotype around female cat owners. They are either old or single. or both. This is something that you don’t really see with a female dog owner as much.

Dawn is neither old nor single, she is married, has a successful job and seems settled. The fact that her husband’s ex-wife keeps popping in on a regular basis is annoying, but it is understandable… to a point. The living arrangements in Dawn’s house are somewhat strange, and the author does take the stereotype of a cat lover to a more extreme scenario. It was not until I learnt more about Dawn that I realised how much the cat is her support system and also why.

When I read the synopsis for this book I was interested, it sounded a bit different and quite humorous, which it is. There is also a lot more to this book though that takes a serious look at life, expectations and dealing with hurts and upsets.

Stereotyping is easily done and the author shows this in several scenarios within a group that Dawn attends. Again there is the expectation that someone looking a certain way should be expected to have a certain pet or breed of dog. In fact, our pets, whether they are furry, scaled, feathered or shelled all have a part to play in our lives. For some, a pet can be the only interaction, but for someone like Dawn, she already interacts with her family and her work colleagues. It isn’t until she starts meeting like-minded people and her life takes an unexpected knock, or two, that she finally takes the time to stop and look at her life.

While there are some funny moments, this is also a story of accepting who you are in life and not trying to live up to unrealistic targets in the belief that this will make you successful and happy. The author uses the character of Dawn to show how life has a way of knocking you down and how you respond to this and deal with it. This was a heartwarming read. I really enjoyed it and I would happily recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DAWN O’PORTER lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, her two boys Art and Valentine,
cats Myrtle and Boo.
Dawn is the bestselling author of the novels The Cows and the Richard and Judy Book Club pick
So Lucky, and her non-fiction title Life in Pieces was also a Sunday Times bestseller.
Dawn started out in TV production but quickly landed in front of the camera, making numerous
documentaries that included immersive investigations of Polygamy, Size Zero, Childbirth, Free
Love, Breast Cancer and the movie Dirty Dancing.
Dawn’s journalism has appeared in multiple publications and she was the monthly columnist for
Glamour magazine. She is now a full-time writer of eight books, designs dresses for Joanie
Clothing, LOVES instagram, and has a large following on her Patreon blog.

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The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2023 by Lia Leendertz @lialeendertz @RandomTTours @Octopus_Books @nature #almanac #nonfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2023 by Lia Leendertz. This is a fabulous little book that I adored picking through and if you are a fan of nature, the natural world and planning for gardening, then this is a gorgeous book to have.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my Hardback copy of this book from the publisher Octopus Books

Reconnect with the seasons in Britain and Ireland with this month-by-month guide to the world around us – including key dates, tide tables and garden tasks; constellations and moon phases; sunrises, folk songs, seasonal recipes plus a ‘bun of the month’; and – because 2023 will be a good year for planet spotting – the solar system and the zodiac.

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2023 gives you the tools and inspiration you need to celebrate, mark and appreciate each month of the year in your own particular way. Divided into the 12 months, a set of tables each month gives it the feel and weight of a traditional almanac, providing practical information that gives access to the outdoors and the seasons, perfect for expeditions, meteor-spotting nights and beach holidays. There are also features on each month’s unique nature, with this instalment following the swirling micro world of the garden pond through the year.

You will find yourself referring to The Almanac all year long, revisiting it again and again, and looking forward to the next edition as the year draws to a close.

This year’s edition is illustrated by artist Whooli Chen. 

MY REVIEW

This is a fabulous little pocket-sized Almanac. I love books like this and while a diary often gives you basic information, an Almanac goes into a lot more detail. This one is no exception.

After a basic introduction, this book then starts at the beginning of the year. January – there are important dates for this month followed by a wonderful page of what January represents, it is a time of reflection as the daylight hours are not as long as we would like. But the author does encourage you to look at what is happening outside, are there buds or bees starting to emerge.

Carrying on the author then takes a look at the sky, the moon phases, sunrise/set, tide times and then onto Lunar planting. Plants used to be set according to the moon phases and I really liked to see this included. There are also a couple of paragraphs about what shrubs, plants and trees are starting to flower as well as what you can harvest from your veg garden.

If you do have a veg garden or access to locally grown produce then what better than a couple of recipes? How about an orange glazed yeast bun or boiled suet and sausage pudding? Both of these sound amazing.

An Almanac also gives information about the Zodiac, here the author includes an introduction to the zodiac and gives information for Capricorn followed by a folk song. This then leads on nicely to what we can see in nature.

This is a wonderful book and has loads of detail and information. It is littered with black-lined illustrations and images that correspond perfectly to the item they accompany.

The book is easy to use as the pages have been sprayed on the corner and then gradually work down so it is easy to see at a glance roughly where you need to be. There is also a nice little ribbon that acts as a bookmark.

If you are a fan of the seasons and nature then this is a fabulous little book to have. It is great for leaving on a table for a reference book and takes no space up at all. It is a book that would make a wonderful gift for a family member or friend because I know I was delighted to receive my copy.

Educational and informative, wonderful to peruse through and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Almanac 2023 by Lia Leendertz is out 1st September 2022.

Lia Leendertz’s reinvention of the traditional, rural almanac has become an annual must-have for readers keen to reconnect with the seasons, appreciate the outdoors, and discover ways to mark and celebrate each month, and the ideal stocking filler. The 2023 edition is the sixth in the series, and has a theme of the solar system and zodiac, with beautiful illustrations by artist Whooli Chen.

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