I found recently I had an absolute ton of these witchy mysteries on my kindle, because I download books and promptly forget what I’ve downloaded, and with Halloween coming up next month I thought I’m in the mood to read some of them.
Title: Witch Is When It All Began (A witch P.I. Mystery 1) by Adele Abbott
Date Published: 24th August 2015
Genre: Cozy Mystery
When the going gets tough…
Private investigator, Jill Gooder, has been hired to find a serial killer because, as usual, the police can’t buy a clue. Jill, the not so proud owner of a crazy, one-eyed cat, probably can’t expect too much help from her PA/Secretary, Mrs V, who spends all day knitting.
And just in case all of that wasn’t bad enough, Jill’s just about to discover she’s a witch.
…break out the custard creams.
So I love a cozy mystery and I love witches too, so what better than a book that combines both?
Jill is single handedly running her adoptive father’s P.I. business, but business is slow so she takes on a client convinced his girlfriend was killed by a serial killer dubbed The Animal. If that wasn’t enough for her, she finds out she’s a witch. It’s all a bit much for her OCD tendencies, especially when she finds there are dark forces after her. Can she solve the case and get to grips with her new powers?
Witch Is When It All Began was a fun light hearted book, with some quirky characters with a dash of magic in there too.
I really enjoyed the magic system in this book. She pictures certain things rather than waving a wand or casting a spell, I don’t think I’ve come across this before so I always love to find a fresh approach.
My favourite characters were Mrs V, Jill’s knitting obsessed secretary, and her troublesome cat Winky, they really added some fun to the story with their rivalry.
My main issue was the two storylines, discovering she’s a witch and her serial killer investigation, didn’t quite gel together. I felt the discovering the witch part was a bit more interesting and overshadowed the investigation.
Will I carry on with this series? I think there’s a lot of potential for this series so I just might.
About The Author:
Adele Abbott’s world is full of mystery, magic and a whole lot of crazy. Come join in the fun.
Title: The Potion Commotion (Happy Blendings Witch 1) by Constance Barker
Date Published: 13th September 2019
Genre: Cozy mystery
Goodsprings Georgia is home to a secret witch’s coven. Sam, earth witch, owns the local smoothie shop. She likes to put a little magic in her brew and she can cure most ailments with her smoothie potions. Her one employee, David aka Tank, has tattoos out the ying yang and a Harley in the parking lot. Regular customer Phineas and his pet rooster Chuckles enjoy lounging in the shop’s courtyard seating. Chuckles gets his own shot glass of magic brew. Lucky bird.
Tessa, fire witch, owns the hottest grill in town. Mara, wind witch, can hear the whispers of the town, which comes in handy when an investigation is needed.
Amelia Windemere was the coven’s water witch until her untimely demise. She wasn’t the most loved person in town….oh heck, she was the most despised. But how does a water witch drown? Are there witch hunters in town or something more evil? And why did the police force hire two new twin detectives just in time for a murder?
Find out in the first installment of the Happy Blending Witch Cozy Mystery Series
Earth witch Sam runs a smoothie shop in the small town of Goodsprings. Tragedy strikes when Amelia Windmere, the water witch from Sam’s coven is found dead. It’s being treated like an accident but Sam knows that a powerful witch like Amelia could never drown without foul play and takes it upon herself to investigate.
The Potion commotion was a quick little read with a cast of quirky characters and an intriguing mystery to solve.
It has the usual hallmarks of a cozy mystery, a small town, a determined amateur sleuth, an unlikeable murder victim and a limited pool of suspects. Of course this has the twist of having a witch as the amateur sleuth with a few supernatural occurrences along the way.
I’m always intrigued by the magic systems that each other puts in place for their witch characters, this time it was elements, earth, wind, water and fire.
I did wish there may have been another suspect or two as I kind of guessed the murderer quite early on.
If you’re looking for a quick supernatural read and you just happen to love a cozy mystery too, I’d recommend this book.
About The Author:
Constance Barker lives in the Midwest with her husband and two Akitas where she can look out from her screened porch onto a wooded area brimming with activity. Since she was a young girl she read mysteries, often given to her by her grandmother. She loved figuring out who the culprit was and sometimes she was right and other times startled at who the author picked as the assailant. Now she enjoys writing mysteries herself. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in her favorite vacation spot, Las Vegas or shopping for bargains.
It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again…
Ever since I picked up the Puppet Master a few years back this series has always been a must read for me and the third is no different.
Fingers are being displayed around Cumbria at Christmas, so Poe and Tilly are brought in to investigate. What seems to be a serial killer case takes an stranger turn when they discover a sinister figure, The Curator, is involved. Will they be able to find him before more people die?
The Curator is what I’ve come to expect with this series, a complex mystery, coupled with a few gruesome scenes and nail biting moments.
For me what makes the series a standout is Poe and Tilly. Their relationship is sweet, they’re very loyal to each other and always look out for one another, which makes the perfect contrast to the gruesome/upsetting murder cases they investigate.
Truthfully, it kind of lost my attention a bit in the middle but the tense and emotional ending really made up for it.
The Curator is a good addition to this great series, I’m looking forward to Tilly and Poe’s next adventure!
About The Author:
M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .
M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.
Title: Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium
Date Published: 13th July 2020
Genre: Horror Anthology
Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.
I want to thank Yvonne at Insidious book tours for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love short stories and I don’t read them often enough, particularly horror, and I saw that Diabolica Britannica was all for a good cause, with all profits going to fund the NHS’ efforts COVID-19 research, so I thought why not.
What I loved was the variety of British horror that was in Diabolica Britannica, from monsters to folklore inspired tales to psychological horror and so much more. Another thing I loved was I now have a whole host of new authors I want to read.
Each story may have only been short but they were creepy, chilling and utterly captivating! Of course there were a few stand outs for me:
Tourist Traps by Christopher Henderson, is a story about a boy who is obsessed with ghost hunting, so much so he takes a ghost tour of London and gets more than he’s bargained for.
The Secret of Westport Fell by Beverley Lee, was an atmospheric historical story about a young woman sent to look after her ailing aunt and ends up taking in a young girl she finds wandering in the cold.
Scripted in Shadows by Morgan K Tanner, is a blood soaked story about a mysterious and murderous book.
The Coven by Sarah E England is about a woman who returns to the town she was born in to find out why her family was forced to flee the country.
I could go on but I’d think I’d be boring you with this review soon!
Diabolica Britannica is packed to the brim with talented authors and a must if you love horror.
About The Authors:
Catherine McCarthy is a spinner of dark tales, often set in the wilder regions of her native Wales, U.K.
She has published two novels and a collection of short stories, and is currently querying a dark fantasy novel,The Wolf and the Favour, which is entwined with ethereal elements and Celtic lore.
Several of her stories have been published in anthologies such as Graveyard Smash, Dead Alive, and Diabolica Britannica, and earlier this year she won the Aberystwyth University Imagining Utopias prize for creative writing.
She lives in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse with her illustrator husband and its ghosts, and when she is not writing she may be found hiking the rugged coast-path or squirrelling among ancient churchyards for story inspiration.
Keith Anthony Baird is the author of The Jesus Man: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Horror (Novel), Nexilexicon (Novel), And a Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares (Book of Shorts) and This Will Break Every Bone In Your Heart (Novelette). His works can be found on Amazon and Audible. He is currently working on a dystopian novel titled SIN:THETICA.
Diabolica Britannica is his brainchild and was developed in response to 2020’s global pandemic. A collective of British talent seemed the obvious vehicle to bring further horror to the masses, but ensuring some relief in the process by donating all profits to help fight COVID-19.
When not at his desk writing, you might find him up a mountain, snorkelling on a coral reef with his partner Ann, or having fun with his grandson. Failing that, it’s a good bet he’ll be on Twitter.
Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre as a child reading ‘Salem’s Lot – and she hasn’t looked back since. She is inspired by Stephen King and cites Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz as her favourite current writers. She likes to shock with her writing, there is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing … She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband and daughter and her mentor, Graeme Reynolds. She chews the fat with fellow authors on her blog – Janine’s Ghost Stories and reviews for Scream Magazine and Nightworms.
You can find her work at Tales to Terrify, Ghost Stories the Podcast and The Horror Tree. Several of her short stories have been published, including an all female anthology with Kandisha Press.She is currently writing a splatterpunk novella about a teenage vampire hunter. .
Christopher Henderson was born in Streatham, south London (UK), a few months after the first human beings landed on the Moon. At the same time, only a few miles away on the other side of that city, other human beings were preparing to hunt and stake a supposedly genuine vampire in its lair in Highgate Cemetery. It was the beginning of 1970, the overture to a very weird decade.
Throughout Christopher’s childhood, popular culture was steeped in the eerie, the macabre, and the uncanny. The supernatural, it seemed, was only ever a half-heard whisper away – and it never stopped talking to him.
Half a century later, Christopher continues to haunt south London. In a parallel life, he was for many years involved with the scientific and open-mindedly sceptical study of paranormal and fortean phenomena, and he is the author under a different name of several non-fiction books specializing largely in folklore and ghost stories. In this incarnation, however, he writes horror fiction, and especially supernatural horror fiction, as he attempts to escape the deeper horrors that plague the real world.
He is the author of Artemis One-Zero-Five (a horror/SF novel set in the near future, partly in London and partly on a remote asteroid) and The Horror at Lavender Edge (a supernatural horror novel set in 1970s London). Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Horror at Lavender Edge.
Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her latest work includes the novella, Bottled, published by Silver Shamrock, who will also be publishing her novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel in October. She has recently been published in Flame Tree Press’ A Dying Planet anthology with “Milking Time” and is included in Silver Shamrock’s upcoming Midnight in the Pentagram anthology with “Family Reunion”. Her poetry can be sampled in the Horror Writer Association’s Poetry Showcase Volume 6 and in the upcoming Volume 7. She has collected a number of her published, and some unpublished, short stories in The Reckoning, her dark verse in Dark is my Playground, and flash in The Dark Bites, all available on amazon. She is co-editor of Trembling With Fear, HorrorTree.com’s online magazine. She is an affiliate member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.
Alyson lives in West Yorkshire, UK with her husband, teen son and four rescue animals. Her fiction has been published widely in print anthologies – DeadCades, Women in Horror Annual 2, Trembling with Fear 1 &2, Coffin Bell Journal 1, Stories from Stone, Ellipsis, Rejected ed. Erin Crocker)and in many ezines, but most often on the Horror Tree site, in Siren’s Call and The Casketof Fictional Delights.
In May 2019 Night of the Rider, was published by Demain in their Short Sharp Shocks! E book series and later that year Demain published her 1940’s crime novella – Maggie Of My Heart.
Currently she has stories appearing in the Strange Girls anthology (ed. Azzurra Nox), two charity anthologies, Burning Love from Things in the Well, and Amongst Friends (Gypsum Sound Tales); another Gypsum anthology, Colp: Black and Grey and by Emerald Bay Books, Horror for Hire: First Shift.
Her work has been read on BBC Radio, local radio, on several podcasts (e.g. Ladies of Horror), posted on YouTube and placed in competitions.
She performs at open mics, teaches, edits for an indie publisher and hangs out with her dog on the moors – in all weathers.
A full list of her publications can be found via her author page on amazon:-
John F Leonard
John messes around with words for a living. He was born in England and grew up in the industrial Midlands. That was where he learned to love scrawny cats, the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.
His official education mostly involved English, Art and History. Everything else came later. The employment record is somewhat difficult to summarise. Chequered is probably a good word for it. Shop worker and office boy, sculptor and odd-job man, fraud investigator and thief. It’s all the same, when you boil it down. Pay your way and try to have a good day.
He enjoys apocalyptic stuff, horror, comedy and football (not necessarily together). A family man, John now lives a few miles from the old Victorian house in which he was born. Scribbling scary stories seems to keep him vaguely sane (accurate at time of writing). Current projects include more tales from the Dead Boxes Archive, another everyday cosmic horror novel from the Scaeth Mythos, and new books set in the post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.
Beverley Lee is the bestselling author of the Gabriel Davenport vampire suspense series (The Making of Gabriel Davenport, A Shining in the Shadows and The Purity of Crimson) and the gothic horror, The Ruin of Delicate Things. In thrall to the written word from an early age, especially the darker side of fiction, she believes that the very best story is the one you have to tell. Supporting fellow authors is also her passion and she is actively involved in social media and writers’ groups.
You can visit her online at www.beverleylee.com (where you’ll find a free dark and twisted short story download) or on Instagram (@theconstantvoice) and Twitter (@constantvoice).
Morgan K Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
He is the author of An Army of Skin, The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality, The Unbeliever & The Intruder; a Short Sharp Shocks! Book, and The Snuggle Zombies; his attempt at a horror book for kids.
You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666 and Instagram @morganktanner
S.J.Budd is a dark fiction author from Cornwall. Her work has appeared in The NoSleep Podcast, Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome and many others.
When not writing she is mostly reading, tending to her huge collection of cactus plants and going for long walks in the country-side..She spends far too much time on twitter @sjbuddj. You can find out more about her stories at www.sjbudd.co.uk
Title: Grubane (Lost Tales of Solace 2) by Karl Drinkwater
Date Published: 13th June 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Novella
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with a copy of Grubane in exchange for an honest review.
This is actually the second novella in the Lost Tales of Solace series but each story is written as a standalone so you don’t need to have read the other book in the series to read this one. Each of the novellas also tie into the author’s Lost Solace series there’s plenty to read for sci-fi lovers out there.
I read and enjoyed the first book in the series Helene, a couple of months ago so I was eager to see what Karl Drinkwater had in store for me this time.
Grubane is a major in the UFS (they basically run most of the colonies in space and pretty much want to take over everything). He’s been sent on a mission that quickly turns ugly and we see the fearsome major in action.
What I love about these books is the unique perspective the author uses to tell the story, this time it was mostly from the AI Aurikaa 12’s POV. As the story goes on, you can see it becoming more self aware, trying to interpret the world around it, particularly Grubane himself.
For me, this book lacked a little of the humour of the first book Helene but that was a minor thing overall.
Grubane is a slick sci-fi story and a perfect way to escape reality for a while.
About The Author:
Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.
He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.
Today, as part of the blog tour, I not only have my review of This Side of death by Andrew Barrett but I have a UK giveaway to win a paperback copy of the book (see bottom of the post) but first a little about the novel:
Title: This Side Of Death by Andrew Barrett
Date Published: 14th August 2020
This Side of Death. When the past comes back to hunt you.
Alex Sheridan believes the only way she can be free of her demons is to kill the men in her life. She has a list, and Crime Scene Investigator Eddie Collins is on it.
Death misses Eddie by inches, and Alex is locked away in Juniper Hill high-security hospital.
Everything is fine for Eddie until one day four years later, when Alex escapes. This time she’s better prepared.
The week that follows ruptures Eddie’s life and shatters the belief he had in his own past, leaving him wondering what really happened, and facing one stark choice: who to kill and who to save.
This Side of Death is the most revealing CSI Eddie Collins novel to date. Prepare to see inside his past and understand what makes him the angriest, most feared, and yet most respected CSI in England.
If you like fast-paced and gripping crime thrillers with a strong forensic element, you’ll love Andrew Barrett’s This Side of Death. It will appeal to fans of Kathy Reichs, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons.
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
So this is the sixth in the Eddie Collins series and can easily be read as a standalone, something I can attest to having not read the previous books in the series.
Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Alex has escaped from a mental hospital and she has one goal in mind, kill Eddie. She failed once but will she succeed a second time?
This side of death is a story about your past not only coming back to haunt you but hunt you down and make you suffer.
What really drew me to this book was the fact it was like a police procedural but told from a CSI perspective, which having loved the TV show CSI, I could help being intrigued.
The story is told mostly from Eddie and Alex’s POVs, really getting inside the character’s minds. I’m still not entirely sure whether I like Eddie all that much, he’s rude, grumpy and genuinely unpleasant most of the time but we do find out why he behaves like that through his history and there are a few occasions throughout the story where you do see his kinder side.
I will warn you there’s a few gruesome scenes/murders that are definitely not for the faint of heart.
This side of death is dark, at times a little twisted, with a good few shocks and surprises along the way.
About The Author:
Andrew Barrett became a CSI in 1996, and finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead in 1997. Two more books completed the SOCO Roger Conniston trilogy.
Andrew still produces authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour. He’s known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals. Eddie’s series is five books and three novellas in length.
Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels in Leeds.
Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of This Side of Death (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Title: A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing
Date Published: 12th June 2019
Genre: Non Fiction/Writing
‘A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook’ provides detailed guidance on the pillars of storytelling as well as aspects of writing that rarely feature in other books, such as writing fight scenes and world-building. At times the focus shifts away from the technical elements and considers the philosophies behind writing, ways to help you maintain focus, and methods of battling the demons of doubt that forever loom over our shoulders.
Section two explores the thriving genre of fantasy and the many facets that make it what it is, before looking at the histories of our world that so often inspire our fantasy tales.
The final part looks at the things that come after you’ve finished your story—formatting, peer-reviewing, finding publishers—and other things the contemporary writer can do to enhance their careers, such as making and maintaining a website, blogging, and marketing methods.
By the end, you’ll have a sound foundation upon which to build as well as the tools to venture on alone with courage and confidence.
This is a seriously overdue review, Richie Billing himself sent me a copy of this last year and I’ve only gotten round to reviewing it now!
I write mostly mystery but I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with fantasy but I thought there was no way I could write something like that, so I was interested to see what A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook had to offer.
Written in a friendly conversational style, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook offers advice on characters, world building and even editing.
Don’t be put off by the title A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook because there are plenty of practical tips on things like characters and plotting that are helpful to any wannabe author no matter the genre.
What made this standout for me was not only was there loads of writing advice, there were suggestions of extra reading on writing and editing which I really appreciated.
Like most writing advice books, not everything will work for you but writing is a learning curve afterall!
A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook is a well written and helpful book that I’m glad I’ve got a copy of on my kindle shelf for when I want to tackle a fantasy story in the future.
About The Author:
Richie Billing writes fantasy fiction, historical fiction and stories of a darker nature. His short fiction has been published by, amongst others, Kzine, TANSTAAFL Press, Bewildering Stories, Liquid Imagination, The Magazine of History & Fiction, Aether and Ichor, and Far Horizons. His debut novel, Pariah’s Lament, will be published by Fiction Vortex in Summer 2020. He co-hosts the podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, a venture inspired by the requests of readers of his acclaimed book on writing, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. Most nights you can find him up into the wee hours scribbling away or watching the NBA. Find out more at www.richiebilling.com.
Title: Vanilla Bean Vengeance (Claire’s Candles 1) by Agatha Frost
Date Published: 28th February 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Claire Harris loves nothing more than crafting homemade candles. She has always dreamed of one day opening a quaint candle shop in her home village of Northash, but at thirty-five, she still can’t afford to take the risk. Stuck in a dead-end job at the local candle factory, and back living with her parents, Claire knows her life needs a shakeup.
The last place she expected change to come from was the factory itself, but when the owner is shockingly pushed to her death, Claire’s life is flipped upside down. She isn’t the only person in the village depending on the factory, so when the murder plunges the business’s future into uncertainty, Claire feels compelled to solve the crime.
With the help of her retired-detective father and closest friends, Claire uncovers a tangled web of conspiracies, cover-ups, secrets, and lies, but can she uncover the truth before her candle shop dream slips through her fingers forever?
Before I get into my review, I want to show the cover of Vanilla Bean Vengeance some love. I don’t usually go on about the covers, because you know you should judge a book by its cover and all that, but it’s so cute and fits the book perfectly.
So I read the first in Agatha Frost’s Peridale Cafe series a few months ago, so when I saw Vanilla Bean Vengeance, the first in the Claire’s candle series, I want to see what that’s all about. I’m always on the lookout for a new twist on the whole cozy mystery tropes, .i.e. Bakeries, witches, bookshops etc and I thought, I haven’t come across candles before, so I’ll admit I was intrigued on how the two would mesh.
Vanilla Bean Vengeance has all the typical cozy ingredients, a village setting, a determined amateur sleuth with a hint of potential romance.
My issue with Agatha Frost’s other series is I felt the characters were a little flat but I really liked Claire, she’s a character I really found myself rooting for. Plus a fab array of quirky back up characters, although Claire’s pushy mother who’s obsessed with her daughter getting married and having kids kind of got on my nerves.
The story kept me guessing to the end and I’ve already put the second in the series, Black Cherry Betrayal on my tbr list.
If you love a cozy mystery, I’d highly recommend this book!
About The Author:
Agatha Frost is a lover of all things cozy. She is a crime fiction fanatic and enjoys nothing more than sinking her teeth into a good murder mystery with a cup of peppermint and liquorice tea, and a cat curled up in her knee.
She lives in a quaint village in a sleepy corner of England, which provides more than ample inspiration for her bestselling Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series!
Sign up to Agatha’s newsletter to get ★FREE★ copies of new releases!
Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.
She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.
Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Bella and her husband Will are invited on a murder mystery cruise and end up stuck in the middle of the Atlantic with her ex husband and her writing nemesis. To make matters worse the fake murder mysteries become real and Bella ends up the prime suspect.
So this is the second in the Bella Tyson series it can easily be read as a standalone, something I can attest to having not read the first. There’s no spoilers for the first book either and having enjoyed this one so much I will be getting myself a copy and reading that too!
Murder Ahoy is a cozy mystery with a little more edginess to it that your standard cozy with a small smattering of swearing and some saucy language which on more the one occasion had me giggling out loud.
There was a fantastic array of interesting characters from Bella’s self centred cheat of an ex-husband Joel to her new more mild mannered beau Will. And there of course there’s Bella herself, who is wonderfully sarcastic and self deprecating, even though she could be a little snarky at times.
I have to be honest I had the killer pegged quite early on but the motive wasn’t clear until the end.
Murder Ahoy! is a light hearted and fun filled mystery that I enjoyed from beginning until end.
About The Author:
Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.
In the distance Leah heard sirens. She ignored them. Right now, her daughter needed her and Emily was just out of reach, curled up under the bed, her eyes closed, desperately shaking. Leah did the only thing any mother would do. She crawled through the blood to get to her daughter.
Dr Leah Wright returned to her childhood home in rural Pennsylvania with her husband to find peace and quiet, start afresh and raise her six-year-old daughter Emily. But when she gets home one dark winter night, clutching roses in her hand, she finds her daughter huddled under her bed and her husband’s blood all over the floor…
When Detective Luka Jericho is called to investigate, he’s shocked to learn that the killer left a witness behind – the victim’s young daughter. The scene is a painful reminder of his fiancé’s unsolved death, and he is desperate to find out what Emily saw that night. He knows that the killer could still be out there, waiting to strike again.
But growing up, Leah learned the hard way that the only person she could rely on was herself. And it’s not until she and Emily are attacked again that she realizes just how close the killer is. Can she trust Luka to keep her daughter safe?
Fans of Karin Slaughter, Kendra Elliot and Tess Gerritsen will devour this fast-paced and chilling new crime series from New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons. You won’t be able to put this book down.
I want to thank Noelle Holten for inviting me on this blog tour and Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dr Leah Wright returns home one evening after a tough shift at the hospital to find her husband dead and her daughter Emily huddled under her bed. All evidence points to Leah but can she prove her innocence and keep her daughter safe?
The Next Widow is a real whirlwind of a novel! Fast paced, fraught and full of tension. There were also a few heartbreaking moments too, especially as Leah struggles to connect with her traumatised daughter in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
There was a nice back and forth in the POVs and we get to know the characters of Leah and Luka really well. They both have their own sets of personal problems, even before Leah’s husband is murdered, but both are tough and determined to push through their emotional scars.
I have to be honest I pegged the killer fairly early on, although the entire motive wasn’t clear until the end.
The Next Widow is a gripping and fast paced read, I’d recommend to any thriller lovers out there. I’m looking forward to seeing where this new series is headed.
About The Author:
As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
Title: The Dying Light (Matt Ballard 3) by Joy Ellis
Publisher: Joffe Books
Date Published: 23rd July 2020
Genre: Psychological Thriller
From multiple #1 best-selling author, Joy Ellis, comes a psychological thriller that will have you glued from first page to last.
WHISPER FEN HOLDS DARK SECRETS As the mists roll over the fens and enigmatic lights twinkle in the distance, only the locals know their way along the hidden paths through the mysterious watery terrain of one of England’s most beautiful and sometimes dangerous places.
Detective Matt Ballard may have retired but there’s still plenty going on the fens to keep him busy.
Someone trashes an old lady’s garden and daubs her isolated cottage with hateful graffiti. Emilia Swain seems to be totally harmless, so why is she being targeted?
Matt’s best friend Will and his wife Kate moved to Holland House to put their past behind them. But Kate’s mental state is deteriorating and she’s obsessed with the tragic history of the house and an old doll she finds in the garden.
And why is Kate suddenly friends with a loner who haunts the fens?
Has the dreadful past come back to haunt the present owners?
Former detectives Matt and Liz want to help their friends and neighbours. But how can you help people who don’t want to be helped?
DISCOVER A TOTALLY ENTHRALLING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM JOY ELLIS
What readers are saying about JOY ELLIS
“The suspense starts on Page 1 and continues through the twists and turns until the very surprising ending.” Linda Strong
“OMG, this book was fantastic I absolutely loved it. I was gripped from the first page but as the tension and suspense mounted throughout the book it just got better and better and that ending, well just WOW!” Dawn Jones
“I absolutely loved it.” Viv
“Will keep you guessing until the end of the book.” Barbara
“What a book!!!” Sian
“I was so engrossed I sat up way too late to finish it in one sitting.” Elaine
The Setting England’s rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves (the old livestock routes) that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.
ALSO BY JOY ELLIS THE BEST-SELLING NIKKI GALENA SERIES Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS Book 10: HIDDEN ON THE FENS
JACKMAN & EVANS Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS
DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD Book 1: BEWARE THE PAST Book 2: FIVE BLOODY HEARTS Book 3: THE DYING LIGHT
I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw at Books n All Promotions for inviting me on this tour and Joffe Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited when I heard there was a new Matt Ballard book coming out! I loved the first two and I was eager to see how Joy Ellis would carry on Matt’s story. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the other novels (you should because they’re really good) as it’s easily read as a standalone.
The Dying Light is something a bit different from Joy Ellis’ usual police procedurals but it’s just as enjoyable.
I love Matt and Liz, they’re such a sweet and loving couple and even though they’re now both retired they still use their time as private detectives to help other people. The addition of former colleague Will’s POV made it even better.
I got a slightly creepy feeling during the novel, Whisper Fen makes an ethereal backdrop to the story.
The ending was jaw dropping. I’m still thinking about it as I’m writing this review and honestly, it’s one of the most fraught and emotional I think Joy Ellis has ever written.
I will warn you that mental health is one of the main themes in the story which may be triggering for some people although Joy Ellis does handle this with sensitivity.
I did wish the plot had been streamlined a little more, there were a couple of times I got a little confused at the beginning.
The Dying Light is a complex, emotional and atmospheric read that will really stick with you after you’ve read it. .
About The Author:
UK #1 BEST SELLER WITH THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS, DARKNESS ON THE FENS, THE FOURTH FRIEND, BEWARE THE PAST, FIRE ON THE FENS, AND THE GUILTY ONES
OVER 2 MILLION BOOKS SOLD!
“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, a highly decorated retired police officer, and our four barking mad Springer spaniels. If I do get any spare time, which is rare these days, my one relaxation is painting, especially using soft pastels. We have been here for twenty years now and although I’ll never be a true ‘Yeller Belly’, a native born to this county, I have adopted it as my own. I love the mists, the big skies and the endless waterways. All my books are set here on the Fens, and why not? The location is perfect for murder!”