Blog Tour: The Lynmouth Stories by Lucy V Hay #BookReview

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Beautiful places hide dark secrets … 

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

Did You Know …?

Known as England’s ‘Little Switzerland’, the Devon village of Lynmouth is famous for its Victorian cliff railway, fish n’ chips and of course, RD Blackmore’s Lorna Doone.

Located on the doorstep of the dramatic Valley of The Rocks and the South West Cliff Path, the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth have inspired many writers, including 19th Century romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who honeymooned there in 1812.

I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Lynmouth Stories, a short story collection by Lucy V Hay. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a very brief book containing just three short stories but it packs a punch that greatly belies its length. Tightly woven with impressively realised characterisation in such a small word count, Lucy V Hay has produced here a masterclass in the art of the short story.

All three stories are set in the tiny, coastal village of Lynmouth, popular with tourists. However, we visit during the low season, when the village shuts down and empties out, giving it a deserted and melancholy air, which provides the perfect backdrop for this collection  of dark and brooding stories. Focusing on the kind of threats that lurk behind closed doors, they remind us that appearances can be deceptive and we never know what dangers are lurking unseen in the most ordinary of settings.

All three stories have female protagonists, who are all very different. Some strong and determined, some finding strength they never knew they had and some crumbling under pressure, the stories explore different reactions under stress and what women can do in protection of themselves and those they love. Probing the darkest aspects of the human psyche, the author manages to convey an awful lot about these women in a very compact word count so you can feel exactly what they are going through in that moment. I really enjoyed the fact that the focus here was entirely on the women and their experiences, with the men largely remaining nameless, shadowy figures whose feelings and motives exist only in relation to the women’s.

This book left me feeling very unsettled. The author has produced an oppressive atmosphere throughout the stories, asking the reader to put themselves in the far from comfortable shoes of the protagonists and walk a little way in them. The stories will shake you out of your complacency and ask you to think about what other women may be dealing with in places we don’t see, even in the cosy seaside towns that the rest of us visit on happy family holidays for reasons of pleasure. It’s easy to sail along, forgetting that our fellow women may be struggling and fighting against enemies we can’t envisage. Maybe we should be more alert for the signs that may be laying in plain sight. The stories are asking us to look and ask, to think about what we are actually seeing. 

A short, uncomfortable but enthralling read.

The Lynmouth Stories is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure to visit some of the other blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

Connect with Lucy:

Website: https://linktr.ee/lucyvhayauthor

Facebook: Lucy V Hay Author

Twitter: @LucyVHayAuthor

Instagram: Lucy V Hay Author

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Blog Tour: In The Sweep Of The Bay by Cath Barton #BookReview

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This warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife. But as the years go by, they find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for In The Sweep Of The Bay by Cath Barton. My thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is only a short novella, that took me a scant eighty minutes to read, but what a lot the author managed to pack in to the pages. Pretty much all of human life is here, as we explore the life of Ted and Rene over the course of half a century. From the dance halls of post-war Morecambe to the modern day, the book explores the nuts and bolts of the marriage of two ordinary people living in the confines of an isolated, seaside town.

The book does not run in a linear format, but dodges about through the relationship, between the perspectives of Ted and Rene and other important figures in their lives and the life of the town of Morecambe. Despite this, the book is not at all confusing, but works perfectly to illustrate the changing relationship and feelings that Ted and Rene have for one another over the course of fifty years.

This book is all about relationships, their complexities and mercurial nature, ever-changing over the course of a lifetime, as both internal and external factors but different pressures on them at different times. The feelings of the couple ebb and flow like the tides in Morecambe Bay, which provides the constant backdrop to their evolving lives, and the changing seasons and moods and fortunes of the town echoing the shifts in the moods of their marriage, the sadness coming from the fact that the times the two of them seem to be in synch are rare and fleeting.

The book felt so honest to me, so truly reflective of so many people’s lives, full of disappointment and compromise, with small moments of joy and shared triumph, but all the same looked back on through rose-tinted spectacles when it is over and viewed very differently by outsiders than those living within it. Right from the beginning, we see through the individual thoughts of Ted and Rene that they have not entered this marriage on the back of a grand passion, and this somewhat sets the tone. Their life is not filled with terrible disasters, but small sorrows, the like of which we all suffer, made sadder by their inability to address them from the same page. Overall, the feeling for me is one of melancholy, and I wonder how many people go through their lives in this way – probably many more than we realise.

This was a really beautiful story, told with understanding, tenderness and a deep empathy. I found the writing really moving, and I came away from the book feeling like I had read something profoundly truthful and illuminating. Triumphal.

The Sweep Of The Bay is out now and I can recommend highly enough that you buy it here.

Please do follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

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About the Author

Cath Barton. Author pic. Feb 2020

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella. 

Website: https://cathbarton.com/

Facebook: Cath Barton

Twitter: @CathBarton1

Publisher Website: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/cath-barton

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Blog Tour: Photographing Kate (A Moonshire Bay Small Town Romance Book 3) by Elle Sweet #BookReview

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After Kate’s husband of over twenty years is sentenced for embezzling and fraud, she loses everything and needs to start over. She decides to visit Moonshire Bay to regroup at the urging of her friend, Claire, who owns the diner there.

Knowing she needs a way to support herself, she rekindles her passion for photography and starts to think maybe staying in Moonshire Bay is her best chance at happiness.

Zach is the town attorney and a confirmed bachelor. After a scarring experience with love and almost marriage in his younger days, he vowed never to get any closer to a woman than a casual relationship. 

When Zach meets Kate, the wounded look that lingers behind her smile grabs him and he wants to know her better, but Kate was burned by her lawyer ex-husband. Even if she wanted a relationship it wouldn’t be with a member of that profession.

Zach tricks Kate in order to get to know her better. When she finds out, will she understand and forgive him or will it push her father away?

Delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Photographing Kate by Elle Sweet. This is the third book in the Moonshire Bay Small Town Romance Series. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for my place on the tour and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I don’t know about you but, during lockdown, I have found myself turning towards a lot of feel-good, comforting entertainment to keep my spirits up. I don’t think I’m alone, I have seen a lot of my friends reading gentle romance novels and watching heart-warming  Netflix shows such as Gilmore Girls and Virgin River. Well, if you find you are craving that kind of thing at the moment, this book is just right for you.

The main protagonist is Kate, a 50-year-old woman with grown up children whose husband has just got himself imprisoned for fraud and embezzlement. Finding herself impecunious and estranged from her life in New York as a result of his behaviour, Kate decides to visit her friend, Claire, in the small town of Moonshire Bay, with a view to taking some time to regroup and plan how to pick up the pieces of her life. Of course, her progress is thrown askew by an unanticipated romantic attraction.

This is only a short novel, and perhaps unsurprising in its subject matter, but it is really well written, with a delightful setting and pleasant characters. It is a really cosy way of whiling away a couple of hours when you are just looking for something sweet to divert you from the real world. I really enjoyed the fact that Kate is a little older as a main character. Being a woman of that age myself, it is nice to see us being portrayed as still capable of life, love and attraction, instead of over the hill and on the sidelines!

Moonshire Bay is the kind of place we all wished we lived, in a small, friendly community, where everyone knows everyone and there is always help when faced with trauma. A beachside setting as always a plus, even if it is on a lake rather than the sea. This is the third book in the Moonshire Bay series so, if you find you can’t get enough of it, there are plenty of other books for sate your appetite. It is the kind of cheery novel than can become a bit addictive.

Photographing Kate is out now as an ebook and you can get your copy here.

Do please check out the rest of the blogs taking part of the tour for other reviews and great content:

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About the Author

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Elle Sweet is the pen name of mystery author Laina Turner.

I started writing ten years ago, and it was always my intent and desire to write romance. However, in my first book, someone died. It just happened and turned the romance into a mystery.

Twenty-some books later, and I decided enough was enough. I was going to do what I’d initially set out to do at the start of my writing journey. Write a book where no one died (It’s not as easy as you think).

I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing Finding Rachel and the three others set in the small town of Moonshire Bay. Finding Rachel is out now and Ari’s Adventure will release in spring of 2020 with the third book set to follow in the early summer of 2020.

How did I come up with my pen name? Elle for the “L” in Laina and Sweet was my grandfather’s last name. I wanted something that had a story. I originally wanted to call myself LuluBell after a pet cow I once had, but the family shot that one down.

Born and raised in the midwest, I live in Indiana with my husband, three amazing children, and our dogs Duke and Macy.

Connect with Laina:

Website: https://www.lainaturner.com/books/?cat=romance

Facebook: Elle Sweet Author

Twitter: @laina_turner

Instagram: @lainaturner

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Blog Tour: A Cornish Summer Holiday: Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BookReview

A Cornish Summer Holiday at the Little Duck Pond Cafe

I am delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for the latest book in one of my favourite romance series, The Little Duck Pond Cafe. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part once again and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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The Little Duck Pond Cafe girls are looking forward to a well-earned break in the Cornish seaside town of Pengully Sands, where Sylvia’s sister, Aggie, owns a holiday home. With the glorious golden sands, sparkling azure sea and an ice-cream parlour only yards away, it seems like the perfect location to relax and watch the surfers riding the waves (and maybe even have a go themselves). But when they arrive, the girls find it’s not quite the seaside idyll they were expecting.

The house is less ‘holiday home’ and more ‘creepy, dilapidated haunted house.’ Gracie, who runs the ice-cream parlour, has problems of her own and the last thing she needs is a bunch of high-spirited girls arriving to disturb the peace and isolation she craves. And when a handsome stranger looks set to destroy her livelihood, it seems like the last straw.

Will Gracie get her happy ending – and maybe even make friends with the girls next-door? This wasn’t the relaxing break the Little Duck Pond Cafe girls were expecting, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the holiday of a lifetime!

Regular readers of the blog will know that I have been a big fan of this series from the start. I loved the setting of the novels in Sunnybrook, centred around the little Duck Pond Cafe, so it was with some trepidation that I approached this new instalment set away from the familiar location and in the seaside town of Pengully Sands.

I need not have worried, Rosie handled the transition smoothly by having all our favourite familiar characters from the books travel en masse to, what was supposed to be, an idyllic holiday cottage on the Cornish coast. As one would expect, however, nothing is ever straight forward and the cottage is less, coastal idyll, more ghost-infested nightmare. Still, the Duck Pond Cafe girls are nothing if not inventive and they soon get stuck in to solving the problems, including the ones of their new friend in Pengully Sands, Gracie.

Gracie is a great new character in the series. Her story was so melancholic, I felt so sorry for her from the beginning which made me invest in the story and root for her from beginning to end. My concern for her soon overrode my misgivings about leaving my beloved Sunnybrook behind and made sure a little piece of my reading heart will always be in Pengully Sands, which bodes well for Rosie’s first, full length novel.

Part romance, part ghost story, all entertainment, this was a lovely, moving and engaging read from start to finish. I highly recommend it for anyone craving a virtual breath of sea air and a sweet diversion from reality for an hour or so. Previous fans of the series will love it, new readers will want to go back and catch up with the previous books. Thanks for another great story, Rosie, looking forward to seeing what you can do with more words!

A Cornish Summer Holiday: Little Duck Pond Cafe is out now and you can buy a copy here.

For more fantastic reviews, do please visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

Rosie Green Author Pic

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Her series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Rosie is currently writing a full-length book, ‘Lucy’s Great Cornish Escape’, which – in a fun twist – will feature favourite characters from the Little Duck Pond Café series.

Connect with Rosie:

Twitter: @Rosie_Green1988

Blog Tour: Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BookReview

Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Cafe

I’m thrilled to be taking part today in the blog tour for the ninth book in this series, which I have been loving, Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Molly Hooper has a secret. It haunts her dreams and casts a dark shadow over life with her gorgeous three-year-old daughter, Eva.

Arriving in Sunnybrook has given her a glimpse of sunshine. The Little Duck Pond Cafe crew seem so welcoming and there’s even the chance of a new job. Baking delicious cakes has always taken Molly to a happy place, so the job – at the glorious Brambleberry Manor Cafe – might just be perfect for her. It would mean she and little Eva could finally put down some roots at last.

But is Sunnybrook the sanctuary Molly is searching for? Or will the past come back to haunt her, wherever she hides?

I have read all eight books in the series up to this point and I actually think this one might be my favourite. I’ll try and explain why, if I can articulate it into words, although some of it has more to do with feeling than anything else.

This book gives us the story of Molly, who has been a minor character introduced in the last couple of books but is now getting a full novella revolving entirely around her and part of the reason this book is one of my favourites so far is that she is a character that your heart cannot help but go out to. Molly has made a series of ill-advised decisions in her life that have led her to end up in an awful situation that she cannot find her way out of and she believes that she is all alone in dealing with it. Her struggles have made her cut herself off from other people and emotions, so she is solely focused on protecting her young daughter, Eva.

Of course, she has ended up in Sunnybrook, home of the most well-meaning busybodies that ever existed (in a good way), and the troops soon rally round in the usual way to try and help Molly out. The thing that makes this book stand out is Molly’s situation brings in to sharp relief a very real and terrifying situation that is a all too true for too many people in our society today. I doubt many of them are as lucky as Molly is in finding a supportive community to help them out and it makes me very sad.

The author’s writing is always warm and friendly and enticing, and Sunnybrook is a consistently enticing place to revisit and fans of the series will find everything they love about the series here, as well as new things to enjoy. For anyone who has not read the previous books, this works very well as a standalone, but you should definitely go back and catch up on what has gone before, because the whole series is a delight. Bring on book ten!

(I really hope that soon I will be able to buy all of the series in paperback format, I’d love to add them to my shelf to return to in years to come when I am in need of a mood boost.)

Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Cafe is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

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About the Author

Rosie Green Author Pic

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Connect with Rosie:

Twitter: @Rosie_Green1988

A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BookReview #BlogTour (@Rosie_Green1988) #novella #LittleDuckPondCafe

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With Zak and Ellie’s wedding day approaching, there’s high excitement in the pretty village of Sunnybrook, especially among the Little Duck Pond Café crew. Ellie is over the moon with her romantic surprise wedding gift from Zak, and Madison is promising to organise a hen party to remember. Everyone has high hopes for a magical Christmas Eve wedding celebration at gorgeous Brambleberry Manor. (Even Maisie-Moo has a sparkling new outfit.)

But sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go wrong. And with the journey to the altar turning out to be rockier than expected, it’s going to take nothing short of a Christmas miracle to ensure a happy ending . . .

From the very early days of the blog, this is a series of novellas that I have been following and very much enjoying. I love the way the author has built on a set of three core characters, that we have come to know and love, and continued to tell us their stories, whilst at the same time, introducing new people to keep the series fresh and interesting.

In this eighth instalment of the series, we have reached the point where two of the characters from book one have finally reached their wedding day. Of course, in novels, the path of true love never runs smoothly and there are the inevitable hiccups on the way to the trip down the aisle and I really enjoyed following the last couple of weeks in the life of the couple leading up to their wedding. All my favourite characters put in an appearance, Maisie and Maisie-Moo are as cute as ever. There are some touching moments with Ellie and her mum, and Primrose gets to meet more of her extended family.

I also enjoyed catching up with what was going on with Fen and Jaz, and the newer character of Madison, who is a breath of fresh air in the series. A Christmas wedding is always a highlight of a book, and we also have the hen party and the festivities of the night before the wedding to enjoy. Bits of the book really made me laughs, and everything turns out for the best, as we’ve come to expect in Sunnybrook.

Am easy to read, heart-warming addition to the series and a lovely step along the road these characters are taking. I am looking forward to reviewing the newest story in the series soon, so make sure you check back because it is a goodie, one of my favourites so far.

A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

Rosie Green Author Pic

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Connect with Rosie:

Twitter: @Rosie_Green1988

What Goes Around by Rachel Ellyn #BookReview #BlogTour (@disfunctionaldi) @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #WhatGoesAround

What Goes Around

Alice has been playing the perfect Southern wife for over twenty-five years. So when Bob dumps her for some blonde bimbo twenty years her junior, Alice figures she’s entitled to every dollar she can bleed from him. And, once she’s got the money, she’s entitled to use it on a much-needed vacation to Nanm Paradi, a Caribbean resort that sells itself as her “soul’s paradise”.

She’s never experienced anything as luxurious as Nanm Paradi. The staff know her every desire and cater to her every need before she even knows she needs it. She figures this is how the really rich live and she’s ready to take advantage of all of it–the fabulous drinks, the beautiful views, and the handsome men. And when she discovers that voodoo magic is also on offer… well, Bob hurt her bad. She can take some time away from paradise to exact a little pain. Alice would have been happy to leave things at that. 

But when she gets hit where it hurts–her bank account–Alice’s game changes. It’s no longer about post-divorce romance. Now it’s about revenge.

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for What Goes Around by Rachel Ellyn. My thanks to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to take part and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This was a really fun, quirky little novella that was very different to my normal choice of reading material. A mixture of thriller, romance and travel with a dash of the supernatural, all overlaid with a gloss of Southern sass and you have a spicy cocktail of a read that you can’t help but enjoy.

The main character, Alice, is a feisty Southern belle who is smarting from her divorce from wealthy lawyer, Bob, who has dumped her for a younger model. She decides to take a luxurious holiday to the tropical paradise resort of Nanm Paradi to indulge in some sun, sea and maybe a bit of rebound romance. The resort exceeds all her expectations, especially when she stumbles on the secrets of some Creole voodoo. Well, what woman scorned wouldn’t be tempted to engage in a little mystical revenge on the ex who humiliated her and broke her heart? Perfectly understandable! But, as she finds out, it can be dangerous to meddle in forces which you can’t control.

I really liked Alice, she was funny and determined and completely outrageous, unlike anyone I have ever met. I loved the touch of Southern charm that ran through the book, and I think she came across very strongly. The story is quite mad, of course, but it is great escapism to suspend your disbelief for a while and just sink into the alternative universe of the story where waiters are mind readers and voodoo queens can help you live out your wild revenge fantasies. Throw in a perfect tropical paradise and an ideal rebound man, and you have yourself a story!

If I had a niggle, it was that there were a couple plot strands that weren’t quite tied up for me, and one aspect at the end that I did query as whether it followed through on the idea that had been set up in the story, but that is the pedant in me talking, and really this is not the book for pedantry. It is pure, fun escapist fiction and should be approached as such. There are much worse ways to while away and hour that with this unique, engaging story. Give it a go if you are looking for something a little different.

What Goes Around is out now and you can get a copy here.

Make sure you visit some of the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour and read their reviews of the book:

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About the Author

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Life and loves after the career.

With degrees in Finance and Economics, Rachel found wonderful success in the business world, which took her I.T. and financial process consulting international. However, with her mind focused on business, and with the lack of training and mentoring in her personal life, marriage success eluded her.

After foraging on a path of self-awareness and exploration with a determination to avoid repeating patterns again, she found the key to relationship bliss. Now, combining her passion for writing and storytelling with her skills, knowledge, and drive that led to her business acclaim, Rachel shares her off beat take on the world, and her findings where life, love, divorce, and children are concerned.

Rachel is determined to be a publicist’s nightmare by writing in multiple genres including children’s fiction, flash fiction, romance, and suspense/thriller.

After multiple divorces, she is now happily married and lives in the Kansas City Metropolitan area enjoying the household noise of her soon-to-be empty nest.

Connect with Rachel:

Website: https://www.rachelellyn.com

Facebook: Rachel Ellyn

Twitter: @disfunctionaldi

Instagram: @rachelellyn

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Last Victim of the Monsoon Express by Vaseem Khan #BookReview #novella (@VaseemKhanUK) @MulhollandUK #BabyGaneshAgency #LastVictimOfTheMonsoonExpress

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In a symbolic journey of reconciliation, the Monsoon Express is travelling between hostile neighbours India and Pakistan. The passenger list includes politicians, celebrities, former Mumbai policeman Inspector Chopra and his baby elephant ward Ganesha.

Then a senior diplomat is found murdered in his cabin. Accusations fly, tensions rise, and an international incident seems certain. But is the murder political – or personal?

Tasked to investigate, Chopra has just hours before the train reaches its destination and the news goes public. He must unmask the killer quickly if he’s to stop the last journey of the Monsoon Express going entirely off the rails…

If, like me, you are a huge fan of Vaseem Khan’s Baby Ganesh Agency detective series and you are waiting impatiently for the next book in the series to be released, you can damp your impatience in the meantime by reading this little novella featuring Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick, Ganesha, as they solve a murder mystery on the Monsoon Express.

That’s right, in this book Chopra becomes India’s answer to Hercule Poirot as he is embroiled in a mystery on a diplomatic train journey between India and Pakistan and the peace and prosperity of both countries may rest on the outcome of his investigation, so no pressure there!

This book contains all the usual charm and fun you will have come to expect from the Inspector Chopra books and Ganesha has a starring role in the investigation which makes me happy as the little elephant is my favourite character in the series. It only took me a couple of hours to read, so perfect for a rainy afternoon, and was just enough to tide me over while I wait for the next full-length book. I missed Poppy and Rangwalla, as there was not really enough room in the novella format for them to have a role, but I know they will feature in the next book and I enjoyed this for the fun story it was.

With a nod to ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ fans of Agatha Christie will get a kick of reading this story and spotting the similarities whilst enjoying the Indian twist that adds a delightful colour and flavour to the story. The story is very quick, so not too much room for a lot of character development or lengthy plot twists but the author makes the most of the small word count and includes enough to keep the reader interested throughout. There is nothing not to like about this book, I was thoroughly entertained and would highly recommend. If you haven’t read any of the Inspector Chopra mysteries before, this book will give you a delicious taste, and I’m sure you will find it very more-ish.

Last Victim of the Monsoon Express is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here. The next full length novel in the Baby Ganesh Agency series, A Bad Day at the Vulture Club, is out on 8 August and you can pre-order it here.

About the Author

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Vaseem Khan first saw an elephant lumbering down the middle of the road in 1997 when he arrived in India to work as a management consultant. It was the most unusual thing he had ever encountered and served as the inspiration behind his series of crime novels.

He returned to the UK in 2006 and now works at University College London for the Department of Security and Crime Science where he is astonished on a daily basis by the way modern science is being employed to tackle crime. Elephants are third on his list of passions, first and second being great literature and cricket, not always in that order.

Connect with Vaseem:

Website: https://vaseemkhan.com

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Twitter: @VaseemKhanUK

Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale #BookReview #BlogTour (@emilyharvale) @RaRaResources #RaRaResources #LilyPondLane

Return to Lily Pond Lane Blog Tour

I am so thrilled to be returning to Little Pondale to catch up with Mia and her friends for the blog tour for Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to Emily for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale – until tragedy strikes…

Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’

Whilst the other residents of Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance she might lose the only thing she truly wants.

I’m really enjoying this series by Emily Harvale and have fallen completely in love with Mia and the other residents of Little Pondale, so it was nice to go back after the Christmas instalment and find out what was happening to them all.

Some dramatic events, as it turns out, but I don’t want to include any spoilers so I won’t say any more about the nature of them, except to say that they offer up some challenges for Mia and Jet on their path of true love. There were lots of twists and turns in the story and plenty of heart in my mouth moments, as I was willing things to turn out well for the characters I have become so fond of over the course of the books. They really feel like friends now that you always want the best for.

Emily’s writing is so warm and approachable and very easy to read, it carries you through the story effortlessly. She is so good at enthralling you totally in the tale and never doing anything to jolt you out of that state of suspended reality you enjoy when you get engrossed in a tale. It is a real skill.

This is a very short book which is a quick read, so if you are looking for a quick, cosy romantic fix, this is the perfect book for you. The story was enough to provide me with a couple of hours of entertainment after a couple of very dark reads this week. It wasn’t quite as meaty as some of the previous instalments, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and I am looking forward to the next book, A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane, which I will be reviewing next month, so make sure you come back then!

Return to Lily Pond Lane is out now and you can get a copy here.

To see some alternative opinions on the book, please do follow the blog tour:

Return To Lily Pond Lane

About the Author

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Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.


Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Connect with Emily:

Website: https://www.emilyharvale.com/

Facebook: Emily Harvale Writer

Twitter: @emilyharvale

Instagram: @emilyharvale

The Lock by Andrew Barrett #BookReview #BlogTour (@AndrewBarrettUK) @BOTBSPublicity #TheLock #BookOnTheBrightSidePublicity

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I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Lock by Andrew Barrett, a crime novella with a forensic twist. My thanks to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for asking me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.

I haven’t read any of the other Eddie Collins books, so this was a short, sharp introduction to the character and the writing of Andrew Barrett, and I have to say it was a bit like getting a fast punch in the face that gave me the shock of my life and took my breath away.

This is only a short novella which took me around an hour to read, so perfect if you are wanting a quick, satisfying fix. However, I would not advise reading this if you are at all faint of heart. I made the mistake of reading it late at night just before going to sleep and it scared the pants off me.

This is only going to be a short review to give you a flavour of the book, as it is jam-packed with action from start to finish but I don’t want to include any spoilers in my review. What I will say is that it is a clever combination of forensic crime novel and an interesting dash of horror to go with it, which is quite different to my usual fare. I really liked the main character of Eddie Collins, who is a CSI rather than a policeman, so he brings a fresh and fascinating eye to a crime scene. Although this is a short book, the author does a great job of injecting a lot of Eddie’s personality in to the writing quickly and seamlessly. He does it very cleverly through his actions, thoughts and language, rather than telling us about him, which makes it an easy way to pick it up without slowing the pace of the story.

Eddie gets himself into a pickle by being a nosy parker, to be honest, and as the book goes through the tension becomes almost unbearable and you will feel ready to jump out of your skin. I liked the fact that the author is quite tongue in cheek about the horror aspect, as he has Eddie making references to the various slasher movies throughout which made me laugh a little, but didn’t lighten the tension.

It’s hard to say much more about the book without giving the plot away so I won’t. If you fancy a quick read with a gripping plot and a touch of horror thrown in that will make you jump out of your skin, this is a good choice.

The Lock is available now as an ebook and you can get your copy here.

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour as detailed on the tour poster below:

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About the Author

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Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire. 

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 120,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Connect with Andrew:

Website: https://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk

Facebook: Andrew Barrett Author

Twitter: @AndrewBarrettUK

Instagram: @andrewbarrettauthor

Exclusive Readers’ Group: Barrett ERG