‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.
I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.
‘Breathe’ by Cari Hunter is the story of asthmatic paramedic, Jemima Pardon (Jem), the unluckiest woman in England. Or so she thinks. Meeting cherry, fun police officer Rosie Jones might be the start of something different in her life. They keep bumping into each other on call-outs and it’s full-on excitement from the beginning.
Cari Hunter’s sense of humour is a mixture of leg-pulling, sarcasm and the gallows humour that anyone working in the emergency services has to adopt to survive. The banter between the main characters is brilliant. It is so real and natural . The language and local lingo and dialect pulls the reader into the world of her characters in a way I’ve never seen with other authors. It’s hilarious. Also Cari Hunter- you make me starving every time I read one of your books! From dunking biscuits to roast dinners and hot buttered toast, I need to eat after every chapter.
The story itself is tightly plotted and full of action and excitement. The two women find themselves in danger more than once and Ms Hunter had me on the edge of my seat. I’m totally in awe of Cari Hunter. Her skill as a storyteller is unparalleled. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
‘A Taste of Love’ by Clare Lydon is a sweet, heartwarming story set in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. It is the second in a series written by Ms Lydon, T.B. Markinson and Harper Bliss. Once you have visited this particular village, you’ll never want to leave.
Natalie Hill works for the family gin business and has been spectacularly unlucky in love thus far. When a gorgeous Londoner opens an ice cream shop across the street, she can’t help but be affected. Can she ever forget her past failures though? Can she trust an in-comer who might leaves as quickly as she arrived?
Ellie Knap has had enough of the rat-race. A bad relationship has made her realise she has to get out and start anew somewhere else. Will Upper Chewford be a place to call home? Will her beautiful neighbour become more than a friend?
The story is romantic, sexy and of course very funny. It wouldn’t be a Clare Lydon without embarrassing situations and laugh out loud moments. The characters are relatable and feel like family and old friends by the end of the book. And, as with every novel I’ve ever read by Ms Lydon, I was left with a smile on my face. It was a delight.
This is the tenth and final book by Kiki Archer. And boy, will we all miss her- especially after reading this. It was quite a rollercoaster of a ride and the perfect story to sign off with. Piano teacher, Sophie is distraught after splitting from her soulmate, Jazz, a comedienne. Apparently straight up until setting eyes on Jazz, she fell hard. She tells the story of their relationship to her friend Laura who is training to become a life coach, the latest in a long list of jobs. Laura’s attempts to get the story out of Sophie were hilarious, but then Ms Archer surprised me by taking it off in a very different direction. The story is slowly revealed as layers are peeled back. One minute I was laughing out loud and scaring the neighbours, the next I was surprised at the depth of emotion. The funny moments were hilarious. Her description of a character having a ‘breast ledge’ took me back to high school and one of my teachers who had the aforementioned ‘breast ledge’. I was mesmerised by it, as was half of the school. The heat level was scorching between Sophie and Jazz. It was certainly not vanilla and will have you blushing. But Kiki Archer’s trademark humour had me in stitches even at these sexy moments. I loved it. And when I read the words ‘Say You’ll Love Me Again is Kiki’s 10th and final novel’, I shed a tear.
I’ve been an admirer of Annette Mori’s books for a few years now and I realise that it is her unique take on life that draws me in. She takes an idea and goes off in a direction I could never have imagined. She is funny and quirky and embraces love. ‘A Window to Love’ does all of that and more. Mandie and Gail meet in very unusual circumstances after both being involved in accidents. They click immediately and seem to be made for each other. But this is an Annette Mori story, so things are not as they seem. Will the two soul mates find true happiness? Well, I recommend reading it to find out as I don’t want to give away any spoilers. It’s a lovely story, full of imagination and warmth. As always, she uses humour and love to make me feel invested in her characters. Bravo!
‘The Book Witch’ is funny, quirky and full of surprising twists. The first book in the series ‘The Book Addict’ introduced us to Elle and Tanya, who are now all loved-up. When Imara, a book witch with the power to bring characters to life, appears in town things begin to get exciting again. She wants to help Jai, a local teacher, find love at last. But she needs her friends to help. Things are never that simple though and enemies, old and new, try to put a spoke in the machine.
Ms Mori uses some unique plot devices to take this story in very unexpected directions. Fans of the author will be thrilled to find some of their favourite characters from other series turn up. This really worked for me. In a book about the supernatural I was was surprised to find myself suspending belief and really going with the premise. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if book witches did exist and our beloved characters came to life? This was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read and I salute the imagination of Annette Mori.
I have never laughed so much in my entire life. Ever. And this woman knows me! I recognised so much of myself in this book and I bet a lot of women will. Kiki Archer has the amazing knack of seeing the humour in situations we all can recognise. She is hilarious and so observant. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time I was reading this book. That and laughing out loud. My chuckling every two minutes got me some very strange looks from the kids.And when I was doubled over in fits of laughter at a certain scene in Boots they thought I’d gone mad!
The story of thirty-something Camila, a mum returner to the workforce and Harriet, high-powered famous business woman is funny, scorchingly hot and romantic. There is such a lovely connection between them and an honesty that shines through. This story has it all. Kiki Archer gets under the skin of Women-loving-Women. She really sees them- and it shows in every beautifully crafted page. A brilliant story that deserves 10 Stars! Highly recommended.
‘London Actually’ is the fifth in Clare Lydon’s ‘London’ series and I can confidently say it’s my favourite to date. Becca and Cleo meet at a wedding and hit it off right away. But twenty-three year old Becca has made a pledge to stay away from relationships for a year and Cleo is still hurting from her painful divorce and doesn’t want anything to do with younger women. So what are they to do? Their story is sexy, romantic, intensely emotional and absolutely hilarious.
Clare Lydon is the queen of observation – and I love her for it. It makes her books so real and funny and true. I felt that I was in London when I read this book. She describes all the sights, sounds and people so well.And I love all the connections between the characters. It makes London seem like a small town rather than a huge metropolis. The writing is seriously impressive and gets better with each book. Never once did I leave the lives of Cleo and Becca and their entourage of friends and colleagues. I was pulled into their world.I couldn’t help but smile at some of the corny jokes and laugh out loud at some of the situations. I loved Becca as she was wise beyond her years, capable and totally adorable. Cleo wanted to do the right thing and wrestled with her conscience – but when you meet ‘the one’ sometimes you just have to go with it. Their friends and family were perfectly drawn and made this a smile-fest for me from start to finish. Duncan was a scream and I loved Heidi so much. The humour they broughtmade my day.This was an excellent story and gets 5+++++ stars in my books .
‘The Big Uneasy’ is about love in New Orleans and being open to the possibility that ‘the one’ is the person you least expect. Rebecca and Arabella are on holiday, trying to find out exactly what their relationship means. Ice Queen Arabella needs time to work that out and wonderfully patient Rebecca is willing to wait. Jenn, a resident of New Orleans, has had her heart broken too many times and wants to find the love of her life. She doesn’t know what to make of whirlwind Kathryn, a woman with very definite views about her beloved city. And they are not all complimentary.
First of all I loved being back with Arabella and Rebecca, who we met in ‘The Road Ahead’. I wanted their relationship to develop and for Arabella to become comfortable with her feelings for Rebecca.She may come across as an Ice Queen, but she was vulnerable and struggling. Kathryn and Jenn’s story was endearing. I didn’t want Jenn to get hurt but I also wanted her to have a chance at love. Would Kathryn be ‘the one’? When they spent time together it was sweet and funny and full of discovery, for both of them. I love AE Radley‘s sense of humour. It is very dry at times and fall off your seat laughing at others. The interactions between both couples and the supporting characters really hit the spot. What struck me though was that the author manages to convey passion and desire with the deftest touch. I was left in no doubt just how much the characters meant to each other.
‘The Big Uneasy’ is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it.
‘In Fashion’ by Jody Klaire is utterly superb. There was so much more than just girl meets girl to this story. There was layer after layer and every layer more fascinating than the last. Darcy McGregor is a former catwalk model, now Style Surgeon on her own ratings winning TV show. She comes across as an appearance-obsessed bitch, but into her life walks Kate Bonvilston and things are never the same. Security guard Kate has no interest in how she looks and doesn’t buy into Darcy’s vision. Until she ends up as one of her ‘patients’.
The story is hilariously funny and the characters are real. They are so well written and I could easily imagine them. I fell in love with so many of them – not just Darcy and Kate. I loved Kate’s brother Mickey. He was an insightful wee guy. Darcy might like people to think she’s a bitch but she is adorable underneath and I loved her. The dynamic between her and Zoe was ascerbic and fun and her relationship with Susannah shows so much more about her.
I found myself laughing out loud at some of the hilarious encounters and the banter between Darcy and Kate and Darcy and Zoe– and not just when I was reading it- but later when scenes popped back into my head.
It was a totally absorbing book that made me smile.