Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Poison Bed by E.C. Fremantle - Blog Tour & Book Review


A Marriage.  A Murder

One of them did it.

Which of them will die for it?


The Poison Bed
by
E.C. Fremantle


Published by Michael Joseph on 14 June 2018


Autumn 1615. Celebrated couple Robert and Frances Carr are imprisoned in London on suspicion of murder.


SHE has been rescued from an abusive marriage by Robert, and is determined to make a new life for herself. Whatever the price …


HE has risen from nothing to become one of the country’s most powerful men. But to get to the top you cannot help making enemies …


Now a man is dead. And someone must pay with their life.


Frances knows the truth can kill. Robert knows a lie can set you free. Neither understands their marriage is a poisoned bed …


Set in 1615, a time of intrigue and scandal at the court of King James I, The Poison Bed is narrated alternately by Frances and her husband, Robert, who are both in prison awaiting trial for murder.

We learn of Frances' life before, of how she was born into a high-ranking family, how she had no choice in her marriage of convenience to the unlikeable Earl of Essex, and how she met the charming and beautiful Robert Carr. She was clever, well-bred, and had no shortage of admirers.

They are both looking back to see how they had arrived at this precarious situation.

Robert Carr is an intriguing and infamous character, he was a 'favourite' of King James and also became quite powerful having the king's ear and his trust. He was obsessed with Frances from the moment he saw her reading the young Prince's palm at court.

The Poison Bed is a compelling historical mystery of a real life scandal of the time - the suspicious death of Robert's former lover, Thomas Overbury.

Full of treachery, betrayal, obsessive love and deadly secrets, The Poison Bed is a wonderfully written and well researched mystery.


About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle is the critically acclaimed author of Queen's Gambit, Sisters of Treason, Watch the Lady and The Girl in the Glass Tower. She holds a First for her BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. She lives in London.





Monday, 18 June 2018

The Gilded Shroud by Elizabeth Bailey - Blog Tour & Book Review

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour hosted by Sapere Books for The Gilded Shroud - with a review




1789, London


When Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook, is found strangled in her bedchamber, suspicion immediately falls on those residing in the grand house in Hanover Square.

Emily’s husband - Randal Fanshawe, Lord Polbrook - fled in the night and is chief suspect – much to the dismay of his family.

Ottilia Draycott is brought in as the new lady’s companion to Sybilla, Dowager Marchioness and soon finds herself assisting younger son, Lord Francis Fanshawe in his investigations.

Can Ottilia help clear the family name? Does the killer still reside in the house?

Or could there be more to the mystery than meets the eye…?



The first in a new series, The Gilded Shroud is a lovely mix of historical fiction, romance and a murder mystery featuring amateur sleuth Ottilia Draycott.

Ottilia has a clever and astute mind, and she is determined to discover who killed her employer's daughter in law and clear her son's name, though she's not sure whether he was the killer or not due to him suddenly disappearing in the night.

She has a way of questioning people, particularly the servants, she was very good at getting them to open up and talk to her, she was very persuasive and she could extract the truth out of them.

I really liked Ottilia, she spoke her mind, was very inquisitive and didn't give up easily.

Together with the handsome Lord Fanshawe they discovered secrets from Emily's bedchamber, I loved how Ottilia made even the men blush at her frankness!

Though I did find it odd how she giggled and laughed so much when the situation was so serious.  But that's a minor criticism in an otherwise engaging and very enjoyable novel full of intrigue among the aristocrats of London Society.


About the Author - Elizabeth Bailey



Elizabeth Bailey feels lucky to have found several paths that have given her immense satisfaction – acting, directing, teaching and, by no means least, writing. Through the years, each path has crossed the other, honing and deepening her abilities in each sphere.
She has been privileged to work with some wonderful artistic people, and been fortunate enough to find publishers who believed in her and set her on the road.
To invent a world and persuade others to believe in it, live in it for a while, is the sole aim of the novelist.
Elizabeth’s own love of reading has never abated, and if she can give a tithe of the pleasure to others as she has received herself, it’s worth all the effort.
You can check out Elizabeth’s website here http://www.elizabethbailey.co.uk/.
Elizabeth’s Twitter: @LizBWrites

#TheGildedShroud


Check out the other bloggers on the tour




Monday, 11 June 2018

The Past is Present by Kathleen Webb - Book Tour + Book Review

Today it's my turn on the blog tour hosted by Faye at Authoright for The Past is Present - check out my review below


The Past is Present by Kathleen Webb




Genre:  Contemporary Horror
Publication Date:  5 June 2018
Publisher:  Clink Street Publishing

After the untimely death of her mother and father, twenty-four year old Catherine Morgan leaves the Cambridge home where she has spent the better part of her life, to move to Cornwall. She takes a job as a teacher, working in an old rambling school which has been converted from a domestic home, perched high up on a hilltop, overlooking the beautiful Cornish coastline.

Out of the blue a letter arrives from a bank in Switzerland, advising Catherine that she is the sole heir to a fortune of over thirty million dollars. With no living relatives, save for a great aunt in the USA, Catherine sets out to uncover the source of this staggering inheritance, and to unravel the mystery that lies behind it.

With the help of her great aunt, Catherine begins to dig deep into long forgotten family secrets. Strange dreams begin to plague her. She is haunted by the eerie feeling that someone from her family’s past is trying to help her. Catherine must work to make sense of the past while defending herself, and her fortune, from someone in the present who will stop at nothing to secure the money for themselves.

The Past is Present is the debut novel by Kathleen Webb.



The Past is Present is told in two time frames, from 2010 and 24 years earlier in 1985 and I thought this worked really well at the beginning as the connection between the two is not apparent until later in the story.

Catherine Morgan decides to leave her home and sad memories behind and uproot to the lovely Cornish coast and, luckily, quickly finds a teaching job in a local school.

The story really gets interesting when she receives, out of the blue, a letter informing her of her fortune waiting for her, though she hasn't a clue where it has come from. At the same time she starts having strange dreams and daytime visions of a house she doesn't recognise, but she knows that it's important and someone is trying to tell her something.

Although I did enjoy the story I found some of the writing quite basic and simple, some of the conversations seemed stilted and unreal, and there were a couple of plot holes.

I found the overall story quite gripping and imaginative as it weaves between the two different years, and gradually the plot revealed itself in a surprising way with a few twists.

An encouraging debut.



About the Author


Living  in Hertfordshire,  Kathleen Webb has always  held a passion for writing  and since retiring she’s finally  found the time to realise her dream  and complete her first novel. When not  writing she can be found spending quality  time with her grandchildren and children and  baking delicious decorative cakes.


Check out the other Bloggers on the Tour





Friday, 8 June 2018

As The Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz - Blog Tour, Guest Post & #Giveaway

I am delighted to be bringing you a guest post by author Leslie Budewitz as part of the Great Escapes Blog Tour for As The Christmas Cookie Crumbles


As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery) by Leslie Budewitz

About the Book


As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series 
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018) 
Paperback: 288 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-0738752419 
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF 

Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?
In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy's Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.
When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he's been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she's found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?
Includes delicious recipes!

GUEST POST 

One Bell, Two Bells, Three Bells, Four — On Christmas Collecting
by Leslie Budewitz

Christmas seems to lend itself to collecting. Surely you’ve noticed, at year-end when you’re trying to squeeze all the ornaments back into their boxes. How on earth, you wonder, did you end up with seven stars and thirteen angels, five birds and twenty-two bells?
Okay, so maybe when it comes to the bells, that’s just me. The two delicate glass bells, one pale pink and one rose from a shop near Pike Place Market, aptly called Leslie’s. The red and green bells my mother found at the Corning Glass Factory in upstate New York. The wooden bell my parents brought me from their visit to the Swiss village where my father, an Army Air Corps gunner, spent part of World War II after his plane crash landed in Switzerland. The set of eight figurine bells—Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a pair of elves, a couple of reindeer, and a snow couple—I helped my dad choose as a gift for my mother, back before I demanded to know the truth about Santa.
And of course, “silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city!”
Wait. It’s June. Why am I talking about Christmas? Because there is nothing quite like finishing a Christmas book in late spring when the mercury is rising and the apple trees blossoming, then seeing it hit bookshelves a year later, to seriously mess up one’s internal calendar.
But the curious timing has also got me thinking about the importance of collections in our holiday celebrations. “Oh, this one!” we say as we lift the delicate sandstone angel in a clam shell out of her box. “We bought her in that little shop in Gig Harbor—remember?” We smile at the memory of the trip, one of our first together. “And your mother gave us this copper and glass angel with the filigree wings.” We miss her terribly, but she lives on in the annual tradition of wrapping ourselves in memory. The ornaments, the candles, the cups and plates and stockings and music boxes connect us to the friends and relatives who gave them to us, or were part of celebrations past. And as we add to our collections, we know we, and our nearest and dearest, will be reminded of our times together in the years ahead, when setting future holiday tables and trimming future trees.
Many of us cherish collections handed down from our families. I’ve got the three Putz houses, also called glitter houses, that always sat on my mother’s sewing machine cabinet at the holidays. (Where the bottle brush trees went, I have no idea.) The mercury glass ornaments were purchased in the early 1950s, when my parents were newly married. I love their shine and patina, and the memories they evoke.
Not all collections are planned. A friend bought a small serving plate showing a baby penguin playing with his parents amid a snowy holiday scene. Before she knew it, she’d been given penguin salt & pepper shakers, tiny red and green mufflers around their necks, coffee mugs in the shape of penguins dressed like Santa, even place mats with penguins skating across a pond, the trees in the background decorated for the season. One penguin, cute. Ten penguins, too much—for her. Just right for someone else.
Creating my characters’ collections was an exercise in imagination and joy. In the front window of Murphy’s Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc, is a small tree decorated with miniature cookware—skillets, egg beaters, and such. In another, a train set chugs around a holiday village that resembles Jewel Bay, the town that calls itself “Montana’s Christmas Village.”
Down the fictional street, an antique shop celebrates Christmas all year round in the basement, where dozens of electric and wooden trains circle around holiday villages. Santa soap dispensers sit near to Father Christmases in long red velvet robes and mink caps. Christmas china decorates tables set with linens covered in snowflakes or poinsettias.
In another shop window, hand-made, starched doilies hang on fishing line like snowflakes, no two alike. Just thinking about them makes me smile.
And the best part of collections on the page? They never need to be dusted or packed away!

About the Author



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.
Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter
Purchase Links Amazon B&N BookBub Kobo


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 

June 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
June 7 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW
June 7 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW
June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW June 8 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
June 8 – Carole's Book Corner – GUEST POST
June 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
June 9 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
June 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
June 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
June 12 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
June 13 – Valerie's Musings - REVIEW
June 14 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW
June 14 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
June 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
June 16 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
June 17 - Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 18 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW
June 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews - SPOTLIGHT
June 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
June 19 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
June 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST     


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Sunday, 3 June 2018

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins - Blog Tour & Book Review

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Forgotten Guide to Happiness with Avon Books - my review is below






Sometimes, happiness can be found where you least expect it…
Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.

Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.

When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?



What a wonderful and heart-warming story this is!
The Forgotten Guide to Happiness starts with a rejection as Lana's new book, a sequel to her best-selling novel Love Crazy, is too depressing for her agent and she's told to come back with a more upbeat story, if she can find a hero to write about.
A chance meeting with Jack leads to Lana moving in with his stepmother, author Nancy who suffers with dementia and their interactions are what makes the story as moving as it is.  
Nancy is a fabulous and larger than life character, I loved her, she was endearing, lively, intelligent, challenging and she was so interested in people, but that very often got her into trouble!
After years of believing in the importance of honesty, living with Nancy I saw things differently.  The truth wasn't important.  How could it be; it was always subjective.  If Nancy's truth was that there were five cats on the roof, what difference did it make that they were pigeons?  What did I gain from arguing about it?  She saw pigeons and said cats, and I knew what she meant.  Language is just a means of communication, and she could communicate and I could understand her.
I really enjoyed getting to know Nancy, Lana and the quirky classmates as Lana takes up a position as tutor in a romantic prose writing class.
A lovely, touching story of what friendship and love really means and how life can sometimes take you places you least expected to go!

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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea - Book Review & #Giveaway (US only)


Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea

 

About the Book

 
Mystery/Crime/Suspense 
Kensington (May 29, 2018) 
Hardcover: 304 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1496713803 
Digital ASIN: B075CBLSDX 
Audio ASIN: B079VRWSRY 


From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a puppet in a sinister game.

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.
As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.
Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her new found fame, her career . . . even her life.


"Grace Sebold had been described as a combination of a brilliant future physician and a ruthless murderer"

Charlie Donlea's novel The Girl Who Was Taken was one of my favourite reads of 2017 so my expectations were pretty high for his latest story ....... and he didn't disappoint - I think Don't Believe It is even better and more compelling!

From the beginning scenes where the murder of Julian is played out, though we don't know by whom, to the dramatic ending scenes, I was on the edge of my seat, totally hooked.

Sidney Ryan has already made two documentaries re-opening old murder cases and had succeeded in releasing innocent people, that's why Grace had written to her, in the hope that she could do the same for her.  

What follows is Sidney's investigation, as a twelve week real-time show that gradually builds to a huge ratings monster, as she uncovers surprises week by week, interspersed with the actual incompetent police investigation, and the Jury's deliberations at the trial.  I thought this was all so excellently done and it felt like I was actually in a court room watching while Sidney uncovers vital evidence that was suppessed at Grace's original trial.

The suspense was maintained throughout and, as the final scenes are played out, I thought the story was going in one direction when it suddenly changed course with totally unexpected shocks that really played with my mind!

Don't Believe It is a story that I won't forget in a hurry, it was totally absorbing and compelling.


About the Author

 
Credit - Carrianne Photography[/caption] USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Readers can find him online at http://charliedonlea.com 
Author Links Website http://charliedonlea.com 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/charliedonlea/?ref=hl 
Twitter https://twitter.com/CharlieDonlea 
GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13922088.Charlie_Donlea 
Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play BookBub 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tour Participants 
May 21 – Bea's Book Nook – REVIEW 
May 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 22 – DeeScoveries - SPOTLIGHT 
May 22 – Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews – REVIEW 
May 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 23 – Book Babble – REVIEW 
May 24 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT 
May 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW May 25 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW 
May 25 – Books Direct – REVIEW 
May 26 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 27 – T's Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
May 28 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 
May 29 – Carole's Book Corner – REVIEW 
May 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW May 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
May 31 – The Book's the Thing - REVIEW, GUEST POST June 1 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW 
June 2 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW 

   

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Letter Kitty's Story by Eliza J. Scott - Cover Reveal

I have a gorgeous Cover Reveal for you today hosted by Rachel's Random Resources Blog Tours for The Letter Kitty's Story


Genre:  Contemporary Women's Fiction/Romance
Publication Date:  29 June 2018
First Book in the Life On T'Moors Series

Life is anything but peaceful in the chocolate-box pretty village of Lytell Stangdale, where life unravels, and hearts are broken. Full of heart-warming moments, this book with have you crying tears of joy, laughter and sadness.
Thirty-four-year-old Kitty Bennett is trapped in a loveless marriage to criminal barrister, Dan, who’s gradually isolated her from her family and friends. Until the day she (literally) bumps into her first love, the handsome and easy-going Ollie Cartwright – someone she’s done her best to avoid for as long as she can remember. Looking into Ollie’s eyes awakens feelings for him she thought she’d buried deep years ago, and he clearly feels the spark, too. As she walks away, Kitty can’t help but wonder what might have been…
Dan senses that his marriage is on shaky ground and knows he needs to win his wife round. He turns on the charm, skilfully using their two children, Lucas and Lily, as bargaining tools. But Kitty’s older brother, Jimby, and her childhood best-friends, Molly and Violet, have decided enough is enough. For years they’ve had to watch from afar as Kitty’s been browbeaten into an unrecognisable version of herself. They vow to make her see Dan for what he really is, but their attempts are no match for his finely-honed courtroom skills and, against her better judgement, Kitty agrees to give her husband one last chance. But, all-too-soon, a series of heart-breaking events and a shocking secret throw her life into turmoil…
Will Kitty stand by Dan, or will she be brave enough to take the leap and follow her heart to Ollie?



Meet The Author

Author Bio –   I live in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with my husband, two daughters and two black Labradors. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found with my nose in a book/glued to my Kindle, or in my garden. I also enjoy bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off with a visit to a teashop where I can indulge in another two of my favourite things: tea and cake.
Social Media Links –
Blog: Eliza J Scott - elizajscott.com
Twitter: Eliza J Scott – @ElizaJScott1
Instagram: Eliza J Scott - @elizajscott
Facebook: Eliza J Scott - @elizajscottauthor





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