Murder in the Village by Lisa Cutts @LisaCuttsAuthor @bookouture #20booksofsummer21 (18/20) #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Murder in the Village by Lisa Cutts as part of the blog tour today. I’ve also included this book in my 20 books of summer challenge. This being book eighteen. With thanks to Sarah at Bookouture for the invite to join the tour and for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Meet Belinda Penshurst. Castle owner, dog lover… crime solver?

Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.

Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…

Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?

A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. Fans of M.C. Beaton, H.Y. Hanna and Emily Organ will love the first novel in the Belinda Penshurst series!

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3mb60aM

MY REVIEW

Murder in the Village was a story that I easily found myself caught up in. I really enjoyed the setting of Little Challham, a small village that Harry Powell has just moved to. You might be forgiven for thinking it would be a quiet place to live. However it isn’t long before there are a series of disturbing events including dognappings and the death of pub landlord, Tipper.

The characters were a highlight for me. Belinda is a great character, she’s both determined and speaks her mind. Along with having a definite air of mischief about her. I thought this gave her character a more rounded and realistic feel. Harry was pretty loveable and I was thoroughly entertained by his interactions with Belinda. Especially as he was expecting to enjoy his retirement from the police until he finds himself tentatively teaming up with Belinda. There is a hint of romance woven into the story but nothing overpowering. Just there in the background adding an extra special layer of charm. There were enough characters or should I say suspects included in this book. Perfectly placed to provide suspicion but not too many that I felt overwhelmed with remembering who was who. I really enjoyed trying to play detective although admittedly not very well.

I do love a cosy mystery and Murder in the Village is a great example of how well they can work. I couldn’t help but smile at Belinda and Harry’s conversations. The way they are pretty opposite in personalities but equally determined to work together to figure it all out. I really enjoyed tagging along and playing detective with them. Murder in the Village is an engaging, fun and brilliant start to a new series. I can’t wait to catch up with Belinda and Harry along with the rest of Little Challham’s quirky inhabitants in book two!

Author Bio:

Lisa Cutts is a full-time detective constable investigating murders for a living. When off duty she writes a fictitious version of her day job. She lives and works within the county of Kent with her husband and Labrador.

She is the author of the DC Nina Foster books, Never Forget and Remember, Remember. Never Forgot was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2013 and the winner of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award 2014 for Best Thriller. She has also written four books in the East Rise Incident Room series, Mercy Killing, Buried Secrets, Lost Lives and Don’t Trust Him. All four centre around DI Harry Powell and his Major Crime Team battling to solve the latest murders within the county. Currently she is writing the Little Challham mysteries, cosy mysteries set in a fictional village in Kent.

She writes a monthly column, Behind the Tape, for Writing Magazine answering police procedural questions from other writers. In early 2016, she was honoured to become the Patron of Rochester Literature Festival and help establish Murderous Medway, an annual crime fiction festival packed full of amazing author panels. As well as being on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, Lisa has twice appeared on This Morning to chat about TV crime dramas Broadchurch and Line of Duty.

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.cutts.505/

https://www.instagram.com/lisa_cutts/

https://twitter.com/LisaCuttsAuthor

Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch #20booksofsummer (17/20) #Review

Thanks for stopping by! You can catch my review for Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch today. This is also book seventeen of my 20 books of summer challenge. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Award-winning crime novelist Bella Tyson has it all: a successful career, devoted fans – and a bad case of writer’s block. So when a fan sends her a book of Venetian ghost stories and offers her the use of an apartment near Piazza San Marco, Bella jumps at the chance to get her Eat Pray Love on, consume her bodyweight in gelato and explore the atmospheric canals of Venice. She meets Will, a mild-mannered, middle class Interpol agent working in the city, and is swept away by him. And when a series of gruesome murders occur he’s on the case – with Bella in tow. Her writer’s block is well and truly cured, her new novel is under way, and she’s madly in love. But Bella realises that not everything in Venice is as it seems…

MY REVIEW

I’m not quite sure how to start my review other than to say that I went into this story expecting one thing and ended up with something pretty different. However this was definitely in a good way. There was a very intriguing and at times dark edge to this book that worked extremely well at surprising me.

I loved the setting of Venice it was almost like taking a mini trip there. So I really enjoyed that escape aspect of the book. Although with all the murders maybe it wasn’t the best place to be. The characters were also surprising with Bella and her likeable down to earth personality. Her thought process and the way she had no filter made for some amusing moments. Will was also a welcome character. It was so much fun seeing him and Bella team up to investigate. Romance did play its part in the plot but it wasn’t the main feature. I would describe it as more of a welcome addition that overall helped to create a rounded and intriguing story.

The mystery had me guessing all the way through. I tried to play detective but couldn’t quite get things clear in my head. So I decided to just sit back and enjoy the crazy journey that Fiona Leitch was taking me on. Dead in Venice was a book that held surprises and humour within its pages. Alongside twisty and at times dark elements. It’s safe to say that I’m already looking forward to catching up with Bella and seeing what trouble she can find in the next book.

The Bluestocking Duchess by Julia Justiss #20booksofsummer21 (16/20) #MiniReview

Thanks for stopping by! You can catch my review for The Bluestocking Duchess by Julia Justiss today. This is also book sixteen of my 20 books of summer challenge. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Her good friend…

Is suddenly a duke’s heir!

Miss Jocelyn Sudderfeld is working at Edge Hall, indulging her love of translating ancient texts with her librarian father – and evading the need to marry! She’s always enjoyed a teasing friendship with estate manager Mr Alex Cheverley. Until he unexpectedly becomes the duke’s heir. Now his first duty is to marry a suitable debutante, not consort with an earnest bluestocking like her…so where does that leave their friendship?

MY REVIEW

The Bluestocking Duchess is a lovely heartwarming friends to lovers story. I thought the fine line between friendship and romance played out wonderfully between Jocelyn and Alex. I couldn’t help but root for them.

The pacing of the story was steady and I thought that there was the perfect amount of drama to create a few obstacles on the way to a happy ever after. It was also lovely to see Jocelyn and Alex’s engaging interactions. Seeing their connection grow and the chemistry between them increasing with every turn of the page.

The Bluestocking Duchess is a sweet, engaging story filled with friendship and romance.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware #20booksofsummer21 (15/20) #Review

Thanks for stopping by! You can catch my review for The Lying Game by Ruth Ware today. This is book fifteen of my 20 books of summer challenge. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…

MY REVIEW

I have to start by saying I do enjoy Ruth Ware’s books. In fact The Death of Mrs Westaway is high up on the list of my favourite books. Unfortunately The Lying Game just didn’t have the same impact. I enjoyed parts of the story but there were also large parts where I felt my attention wandering, which is not ideal.

The Lying Game was a definite slow burn for me. It’s safe to say that it took a while before any secrets were revealed and these brought forward even more questions. In one sense this worked because the tension gradually built. I was intrigued about what happened all those years ago. Just not necessarily enough to grab my complete attention. There were a few occasions where I found my focus on the story wavering. However for the last part of the book I will admit the pace picked up which definitely helped.

Overall The Lying Game was a bit hit and miss for me. I enjoyed the premise and the idea of friendships forged in childhood having a lasting effect. This group of characters were tied together forever by a lie and it was still having a ripple effect years down the line. Even though this book might not have been quite right for me it has in no way put me off reading more books by Ruth Ware.

The Bookshop of Forgotten Dreams by Emily Blaine #20booksofsummer21 (14/20) #MiniReview

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my mini review for The Bookshop of Forgotten Dreams by Emily Blaine today. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. This is also book fourteen of my 20 books of summer challenge. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Sarah and Max should never have met. She’s a shy bookworm who’s barely ever left her little village; he’s a bad boy actor with the world at his feet. But when Max crosses one line too many, he’s faced with community service in Sarah’s bookshop.

With an unruly theatre group to run and a gorgeous, tattooed stranger under her roof, Sarah’s about to discover that real life is more complicated than anything she’s ever read in her beloved books…

MY REVIEW

In a way I kind of ended up having mixed feelings about this book. I loved the premise but maybe I went in with high hopes and too many expectations?! Who knows? For the most part I did enjoy the story and it was definitely an entertaining read. In fact I read it very quickly as there was always something to keep my interest. So a definite plus point there.

The romance was fun and on the whole I was rooting for them but I have to admit I did have some reservations. Mainly about the Maxime’s anger issues. Sarah was a likeable character and I completely understood her love of books! It was great to see her character develop and gain in confidence as the book progressed. I do have to mention if you aren’t a fan of steamy, sizzling scenes then this book might not be for you. This aspect never bothers me but yes, it’s safe to say that Maxime and Sarah have a sizzling chemistry. It’s a real case of opposites attracting! Overall The Bookshop of Forgotten Dreams is a fun, sizzling and romantic read!

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn #20booksofsummer21 (13/20) #Review

Thanks for stopping by! You can catch my review for The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn today. This is also book thirteen of my 20 Books of Summer challenge. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.

When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

MY REVIEW

The pacing is pretty steady throughout The Seven Doors as we see Nina undertake an investigation of sorts. With Nina determined to uncover what happened to the missing woman. In a way this was also to distract from certain issues in her own life. The reader slowly but surely sees Nina digging into the young woman’s life trying to uncover her secrets. What will she find?!

I have to admit I didn’t necessarily find the characters that likeable. Especially in the beginning where there is little to no thought put into their actions. Even though I might not have connected that well with them. There was something about all of them that kept my interest.

After really enjoying The Bird Tribunal I was looking forward to picking up this book. I found The Seven Doors to be an intriguing story but it didn’t quite have the same impact as The Bird Tribunal had on me. Although I really shouldn’t compare the two because they are pretty different. What The Seven Doors definitely had was a way of creeping under my skin. Especially with the short chapters that made it very easy to keep turning the pages. The folk tales aspect that was dotted throughout also added an intriguing edge. I love the way these tales brought with them a little bit of a dark presence. I have to admit there were plenty of red herrings placed, with suspicion hanging over everyone in this book. However pretty much from the start I had my suspicions and I was eager to see how it would all play out. The Seven Doors is dark story with a slow creeping tension.

Sunlight over Crystal Sands by Holly Martin #20booksofsummer21 (12/20) #MiniReview

Thanks for stopping by! You can catch my mini review for Sunlight over Crystal Sands by Holly Martin today. This is also book twelve of my 20 Books of Summer challenge. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Love is in the air on the sun kissed sands of the Cornish coast, where the sea sparkles and romance sizzles on golden beaches. This stunning new novel by Holly Martin, bestselling author of Ice Creams at Emerald Cove, is guaranteed to steal your heart this summer.

Lyra Thomas has dreamed of living on Jewel Island ever since she first visited its breathtaking shores. And now her dream has come true – she has her own little cottage and a brand new job. But when Lyra sets out for a bike ride to explore her new home, a mishap has her crash-landing at the feet of the very handsome Nix Sanchez.

A true gentleman, Nix comes to Lyra’s rescue. His face is so familiar and yet they are strangers. But the more they talk, Lyra feels as though she has known Nix forever. What follows is the most magical night of Lyra’s life… until the spell is broken when the next morning she finds Nix has gone.

Feeling foolish Lyra vows to be more careful with her heart from now on. She’ll pretend Nix never existed. But destiny has other ideas and in a perfect twist of fate Lyra will discover that Nix Sanchez is impossible to forget…

MY REVIEW

Well, this was a hug in a book! There was a gentle, sweet way about this story that instantly appealed. However there was also the addition of a sizzling chemistry between Nix and Lyra which I found to be a great combination. I also loved the charm of the setting it is definitely a place that I wish I could visit.

It’s safe to say that the characters don’t have it easy on their road to a happy ever after. At first everything seems perfect until misunderstandings and miscommunications end up putting a real spanner in the works. Throughout all this I couldn’t help but root for Lyra and Nix. Even though there were times that I wanted to shout, just talk to each other! 😂

I love Holly Martin’s books they are always entertaining, romantic and a joy to read. Sunlight over Crystal Sands has all of this and more. This wonderful story provided the perfect escape with romance and a charming adventure at its core!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty #20BooksofSummer (11/20) #Review

Thanks for stopping by! Today I’m sharing my review for Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty today. This is also book eleven of the 20 books of summer challenge. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Nine perfect strangers, each hiding an imperfect life.

A luxury retreat cut off from the outside world.

Ten days that promise to change your life.

But some promises – like some lives – are perfect lies . . .

MY REVIEW

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked up Nine Perfect Strangers. I guess I had an idea in my head of where I thought it would go. However I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the direction it did take. I wouldn’t describe Nine Perfect Strangers as a thriller but equally there were some tense moments that created some highly charged scenes.

For me my favourite part of reading this book was getting to know the broad range of characters. They all brought something to the story but I have to single Frances out because she definitely stole the show. Frances wasn’t in a great place with disappointments seemingly at every turn but she still had a strong and determined attitude. Nine Perfect Strangers is told from the characters different perspectives which might not in theory work but in this book it totally did! I thought this way of telling the story ended up giving the reader a real feel for the characters. Especially the way we experience their inner thoughts and feelings. I guess this made it easier to connect with them.

The pacing is steady throughout and managed to keep my interest especially as the whole situation gets more intense. There were some highs and lows as the characters began to deal with their pasts. However there were also some moments where I couldn’t help but smile which definitely helped to balance things out. In a way it felt like I had gained some friends. I couldn’t help finishing the book with a smile and the added feeling of receiving a kind of strange but comforting hug. Which was definitely unexpected. Although it’s safe to say that I’m in no way eager to visit a retreat anytime soon! 😂

Camp Death by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @QuestionPress @zooloo2008 #CampDeath #QMPHorror #QuestionMarkPress #ZooloosBookTours #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Camp Death by Jim Ody as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Zoé at Zooloo’s Book Tours for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

The place had a gruesome past that nobody wanted to talk about…

Camp Deathe is now a great place to spend the summer. Ritchie soon finds a group of outsiders like himself. Teenagers who ignore the organised activities, and bunk off in the old abandoned cabins deep in the woods. The cabins that have a history.

The campfire monster stories were meant to just scare them. Nobody expected them to come true. Then one of the teenagers disappears in the middle of the night.

Something is watching them. It hides in the woods and hunts at night.

Ritchie will have to uncover the secrets of the camp and understand his own problems in order to survive.

Camp Death is Book 1 in a new series brought to you by Question Mark Horror. For fans of Point Horror, Christopher Pike & Nicholas Pine.

Check out Book 2 – Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell

Pre Order Links :

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Camp-Death-Question-Mark-Horror-ebook/dp/B0999JVT1F

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Camp-Death-Question-Mark-Horror-ebook/dp/B0999JVT1F

MY REVIEW

In Camp Death we meet Ritchie and his family as they arrive at Camp Deathe for a summer break. What follows is the scary stories that are told by the campfire shockingly come to life.

I loved the nostalgic feeling I got while reading Camp Death, it took me right back to being a teenager. Which to be honest was while ago now! 🙈😂 However this book reminded me just how much I used to love reading Point Horror and similar books. The pacing is pretty good throughout with a strong eerie opening chapter and a great introduction to the main characters. Here I found a great selection of personalities. Characters that you will root for and some where you kind of hope they get their comeuppance! Ritchie soon begins to settle into camp making friends along the way. However at the same time there is an underlying tension where you just know that something bad is about to happen.

I definitely got that YA feel when reading this book. For me it provided a fun blast from the past and I loved that feeling. With teenage angst, dark tales around the campfire and mysterious disappearances. This all combined to provide an intriguing plot with dark secrets at its heart. I’m definitely eager to read more in the Question Mark Horror series!

AUTHOR BIO

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

Follow him at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JimOdyAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimodyauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jim_Ody_Author

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Ody/e/B019A6AMSY/

On the Seventh Day by Mark Wilson @markwilsonbooks @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #BlogTour #Extract

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing an extract for On the Seventh Day by Mark Wilson as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Zoé at Zooloo’s Book Tours for the invite to join the tour. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

God is furious.

He has run out of patience with humans and decided that our time is over.

We’ve had our chance and it’s back to the drawing board.

Mo, and Jay, best friends who’ve screwed up in the past, beg him for one more chance to get the humans back on track.

Alongside Mr Saluzar, the head of a global charity foundation, and Nick, The Fallen Angel, they hurtle towards Armageddon and their one chance to prove God wrong.

They have seven days to save us.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/SEVENTH-DAY-Mark-Wilson-ebook/dp/B08W8QSQ9Y

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/SEVENTH-DAY-Mark-Wilson-ebook/dp/B08W8QSQ9Y

Stewart turned to the screen and began flicking through galaxies and solar systems looking for planets on which he might begin his experiment of life anew. 

Jay kicked at Mo who was still singing broken songs to himself. Looking at Stewart’s face always made him this way. Mo looked up through tears to see his best friend’s agonised face plead with him for help. With no little effort, he dragged himself off the carpet, onto his feet and stood beside Jay. 

Placing one hand on his father’s shoulder, Jay spoke softly. 

“Dad. Please, for me. Give us a chance to fix things. Let us try one more time.” Stewart turned to face them. 

Jay allowed a minute spark of the Holy presence within him to show in his eyes. 

Stewart picked up on it instantly — this fragment of His own being, His own presence. His power embodied in His son who was so very like He Himself, but… reduced. Jay really was a shard of Himself. The lad didn’t show it often, but he was. Looking at the hazy reflection of His own being, of His presence in another’s form, His son, Stewart softened slightly. He placed His own hand on top of His son’s. 

“Son, there’s nothing to be done. They’ll never change. They had a role… a fate to fulfil. They simply cannot.”  

It was the calmest, most honest Jay’s father had been with him in two thousand years. 

Jay choked back rising emotion and looked deeply into the eyes of his father.  

“I know that they can, I know it. Allow us time. Give us the freedom to re-enter the world and minister to them as we see fit. One chance to do it our way, Dad. If we fail, no arguments. One chance, Dad.” Stewart sighed deeply.  

“Son… Jesus, you will fail.” “You’ll let us try?” Jay asked. 

Stewart nodded once.  

Jay punched Mo in the arm.  

“Go tell Az to go back to torturing kittens.” 

Relieved to have an excuse to leave Stewart’s presence, Mo ran after Azrael, leaving Father and Son alone. 

Jay beamed at his father, causing Stewart’s face to harden once more. 

“You’ve a week. Seven days. Not a minute more. Not a second,” Stewart said. 

There was no point in or room for arguing. Jay nodded his head gratefully. 

Stewart continued. “None of that Holy spirit, immaculate conception shite this time. Both of you will be placed in the body of someone who already exists. You may use whatever methods… whichever powers you wish.”

AUTHOR BIO

Mark Wilson is the author of twelve works of fiction and one non-fiction memoir. He also writes Crime Thrillers under the pseudonym, C.P. Wilson

Mark’s short story ‘Glass Ceiling’ won first prize in May, 2015 on Spinetingler’s Short story competition and will be included in Ryan Bracha’s Twelve Nights at Table Six. dEaDINBURGH reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 and was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 2015.

Mark currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school and writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.

Follow him at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markwilsonbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/markwilsonbooks

Website : https://markwilsonbooks.com/