Friday, 29 December 2017

A FINE FIX BY GALE DEITCH - Book Review (Cozy Mystery)

Genre:  Cozy Culinary Mystery (1st in the Trudie Fine Mysteries)
Publication Date:  July 2013
Publisher:  Rosedale Press

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Things couldn't be better for Trudie and her partner, Zachary Cohen. It's the first big job for their catering company, A Fine Fix, and everyone who's anyone in the Washington, DC area will be at the Schwartzes' backyard Mexican fiesta. 
With the tables set, the food prepared to perfection, and the Mariachi band sizzling, Trudie is mellow as a Margarita smoothie... ...until a dead body is discovered floating in the pool. 
When Zach is arrested as the prime murder suspect, Trudie sets out to clear him and find the real murderer. Life gets spicier than a jalapeno pepper when she realizes she's the focus of three men's affections, including the unnerving detective handling the case. 
Soon, however, Trudie is reaching for her favorite knife, but not to chop vegetables. 
Recipes included.

A good enjoyable mystery, which makes a change to have a heroine who isn't slim and pretty.  I felt that I could identify with curvy Trudie Fine who just loves her food and loves to cook it!
There are some red herrings in this mystery and some twists that I didn't see coming.
I liked Trudie and her partner, Zach, they worked well together and were a good combination.
There was lots of humour and funny moments.
Trudie moaned that she'd had her share of unrequited love and had never had a boyfriend but I did find it hard to believe that not one, not two, but three very handsome very eligible young men were interested in her and were falling over themselves for her in this story.  This just made the story too unreal for me.
An intriguing mystery overall, and I would be interested to see how this series develops in the future.....preferably without all the love interests!

I received an ecopy of this book from Authors Den in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 22 December 2017


Genre:  Christmas Romantic Comedy
Publication Date:  13 Nov 2015
Publisher:  Choc Lit
Format:  Ebook

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What if the memories of Christmas past were getting in the way of Christmas future?
It’s been nearly two years since Harriet lost Jonno, but she’s finally decided that it’s time to celebrate Christmas again. 

Then she finds a stash of graphic novels belonging to her comic book-loving husband in the attic, and suddenly her world is turned upside down once more. 

With the help of eccentric comic book dealer Kell Foxton, she discovers that the comics collected by Jonno are not only extremely valuable, but also hold the key to his secret life – a life that throws Harriet’s entire marriage and every memory she has of her husband into question. 

As Harriet grows closer to Kell, she begins to feel like she could learn to love Christmas again – but first, she needs to know the truth. 

This is the most perfect Christmas novella that I have ever read!  It was a joy to read, so funny and uplifting with wonderful characters and a wonderful story.

It starts off a little sad as Harriet decides to enjoy Christmas again after she lost her husband at such a young age.  She drags out her dusty, cobwebbed Christmas Tree from the attic and discovers some more graphic novels that her husband collected, which she decides to offer to the same dealer she sold his others to........Kell.

I absolutely adored Kell, the comic book dealer, he was so smart, self-deprecating and had a very dry sense of humour, which had me laughing out loud several times.  I enjoyed the conversations between him and Harriet - so funny.

The novels that were left in the attic feature a woman called Corinthia who rides a motorbike and who has an uncanny likeness to Harriet.  I loved how Harriet's life seemed to be mirroring the heroine Corinthia's story - it was such a lovely and clever idea.

The Art of Christmas is a little gem of a story, it's fabulous and unexpected in parts, with just the right amount of sadness and joy.  I definitely recommend you add this to your festive reads!

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Today I'm delighted to bring you the cover reveal for The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle

Genre:  Cozy Crime
Publication Date:  19 December 2017
Publisher:  Crooked Cat Books

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…
It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.
She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.



Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.
Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. The third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series, it will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Catford. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.
Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at
She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.
Alice Castle’s Facebook page is
Alice Castle is on Twitter:
Links to buy Alice Castle’s books:,

I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for The Girl in the Gallery in January - check out my review on January 18th 2018!

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Today is my stop on the East End Angels blog tour and I'm delighted to be bringing you my review of this thought-provoking World War II read

Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publication Date:  14 Dec 2017

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Meet The East End Angels, the newest members of Station Seventy-Five’s ambulance crew – when the war arrives, only true friendship will see them through

Strong-willed Winnie loves being part of the crew at Station Seventy-Five but her parents are less than happy. She has managed to avoid their pleas to join the WRENS so far but when a tragedy hits too close to home she finds herself wondering if she’s cut out for this life after all.
Former housemaid Bella was forced to leave the place she loved when she lost it all and it’s taken her a while to find somewhere else to call home. She’s finally starting to build a new life but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.
East-Ender Frankie’s sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home so it’s not easy for her to stay focused at work. With her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?

Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London’s East End during 1940, these three very different women soon realise that they’ll need each other if they’re to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

Living through the Blitz during WWII with bombs dropping all around them must have been a horrendous experience but thanks to the brave men and women who drove the ambulances and attended to the survivors, they could at least depend on their help.

This is a wonderfully heart-warming story, of three young women who all wanted to do their bit for the war effort and help save lives.

They were faced with so many dangers as they drove through London's bombed out streets, traversing rubble and burning buildings as Hitler's bombs were falling from the sky like confetti, they couldn't rush down to the shelter and safety, they had to go out and transport the injured to the hospitals.

All the women were so different, from the independent Winnie who goes against her parents wishes, to Bella who used to be in service, and Frankie who's definitely not going back to her old factory job after the War ends.

I loved their friendship, their loyalty, their caring and the strong bonds they forged at the horrors they saw, how they helped each other through the worst of times.

I thought the story was not too graphic but authentic, and it really made me think of how courageous they were during the blitz, of how people just got on with it, patiently waiting to be rehoused after their house had been bombed.  I don't know how they coped and the author really made me feel lots of emotions while reading the story.

My only slight criticism would be that some of the storyline was a little predictable.....I could easily guess at what was going to happen next.

But, along with a romance or two and with just the right amount of sad and happy moments, this promises to be a great start to a whole new series that I'll be looking out for in the future.

My thanks to the publishers, Little, Brown books for the opportunity to read and review this new novel.


Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband and two children. East End Angels is the first book in her uplifting and heart-warming saga series that follows the lives and loves of Winnie, Frankie and Bella, who all work for the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) during the Blitz. Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this period and she loves researching further, searching out gems of real life events which inspire her writing. Keep up-to-date with Rosie by following her on Twitter (@hendry_rosie), becoming her friend on Facebook (rosie.hendry.94) or reading her blog (

Wednesday, 13 December 2017


I'm delighted to be featuring Historical Fiction novel Tall Chimneys today on my blog with an extract.

Genre:  Literary Historical Fiction
Publication Date:  12 December 2017
Standalone Novel
Estimated Page Count:  420

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Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time - abandonment or demolition.
Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater - the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard - little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up - until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. 

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. 

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.


Evelyn and Sylvester Ratton have an antagonistic relationship throughout the entire book. He is her nemesis, always undermining her plans and spoiling her happiness. He is the state manager at Tall Chimneys, with authority to do anything he wishes. She is a girl only just out of school, inexperienced and yet with a strong character. In this excerpt we get an inkling as to what motivates Ratton.
A Proposal.
It was the end of the summer. September came in with squally showers. The housemaids had no end of trouble getting the linen dry. I returned to my cosy morning room, where I had the fire lit, and wrote a long letter to Joan describing all my adventures but fearing they would be plebeian indeed compared to hers.
Then Mr Ratton came back, and we were back to square one. My morning room was not my own, my walks intruded upon, my rides made burdensome by his company. He made no reference to what had occurred on the north wing landing but I knew from the way his eyes lingered on my person that he thought about it often, and more with frustration than with any shame or regret.  
One afternoon, as we took tea in the library and rain like pebbles hurled itself against the window, precluding any escape outdoors, he began, uninvited, to tell me something of himself; the youngest of many, like me, of a respectable but somewhat impoverished family who had nothing to offer the youngest child. He had been well-educated but not at one of the illustrious schools, then forced to make his own way which, he flattered himself, he had done with some credit. ‘You,’ he said, with some significant emphasis, ‘you must understand entirely my situation, sharing it as you do. Youngest children like us, even of good families, must be prepared to make their own way. I’m sure it has occurred to you, that before too long you’ll have to look to your own resources?’
I looked at him at a loss. I had had no such thoughts.
‘You cannot imagine remaining here indefinitely,’ he observed. ‘This spot is so very retired, so backwards, when out there, in the world, things are moving on at such a pace, especially for women.’
I felt his comment as a severe deprecation - it made me cringe with shame - but I made no response.
‘Goodness, yes,’ he mused allowed, ‘one wonders what doors will not be open to them in future. They admitted a woman to the Bar a few years ago, and now a woman is governor of the BBC. Whoever thought such a thing? But even if you do not aspire so highly, there are jobs for women in offices, as nurses, even attached to the military although, naturally, not in a combative role. I met your brother in the military, as it happens,’ he went on, helping himself to another buttered teacake. ‘We were comrades in arms. I saved his life. Has he ever mentioned that to you?’
I shook my head.
‘No? Well, there’s a debt owed, let’s leave it at that, and George is conscious of it. He has promised me advancement. I’m wasted here, in this god-forsaken county, as you are.  George knows it. There are things abroad he wants me to set up for him. His father in law will help. America is a land of great opportunity for those with a nose for business and a respectable name.’
It occurred to me that Mr Ratton was announcing his imminent departure from Tall Chimneys. I could only rejoice, but I kept my jubilation to myself. ‘It must be very gratifying to my brother,’ I murmured, ‘to have people he can rely on, if he intends a new business venture. The Americas are a very exciting prospect, I’m sure.’
‘Indeed yes,’ Mr Ratton enthused. ‘You see the situation exactly. A scion of an ancient English family, no matter how minor here, is counted as very splendid there. Anything English is bound to be successful. I’m assured we will be made most welcome, doors will open up to us on every side. We’ll play the family card very heavily, meanwhile I’ll attend to all the business. We cannot fail to achieve our aim.’
It gradually dawned on me he had ceased speaking of himself, singular, and was now speaking in the plural:  what ‘we’ could expect; openings and introductions which would be made available to ‘us.’
‘Will George be an active participant, then, in the venture?’ I enquired. Perhaps Tall Chimneys would be moth-balled if George and Rita were going to America. Where, I wondered, would that leave me?
Mr Ratton gave a strangled cough and, I thought, almost blushed, but it could have been the heat from the fire. ‘That will hardly be necessary,’ he said, with a sort of lewd coyness I didn’t understand. ‘I’m sure I can manage all aspects of the matter very well without George’s assistance.’ He gave me a straight look, one eyebrow slightly raised. ‘No,’ he concluded. ‘George won’t accompany us, but he is in favour, if you are willing. I have that most certainly from his own lips. He is in favour. I have his backing and, not to put too fine a point on it, in this day and age, for people like us, well, we could both do a lot worse.’
Realisation came upon me like a bucket of ice cold water. His proposal (for such, I gathered, it was) appalled me. ‘I am not willing,’ I said, coldly.
He put his cup back on its saucer, not one whit deterred. ‘We will see,’ he said.
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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Monday, 11 December 2017


Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Release Date - November 26, 2017 
Print Length: 214 pages ASIN: B075CTKP2B

Sirens ring. Are you listening? Near Candy Cane Lane. A Body is glistening. A murderous sight. Trubble's investigating tonight. Walking through this winter wonderland.
It's the week before Christmas and Investigative Journalist Penelope Trubble has reluctantly agreed to investigate the death of a woman at the Sleighs & Slopes Adventure Resort in the hopes of exonerating her her husband—who just happens to be Penny’s ex. But with so many suspicious characters lurking in the trees, Penelope risks being strangled by clues, Christmas lights, conjecture, and catastrophe. It doesn’t help that Penny's still a little frosty with the man accused of icing his bride, and she must prove he's no cold-blooded killer. At least there’s candy-cane cocoa, a roaring fire, and the Laurentian Mountains to savor—not to mention the hunky detective dashing through the snow after her. Helping an ex is a slippery slope, and things are going downhill fast for Penelope Trubble.

About The Author

Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.

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