Book Review: A Letter to Three Witches by Elizabeth Bass

About the Book:

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From acclaimed author Elizabeth Bass, an bubbly, quirky paranormal rom-com set in the sleepy college town of college town of Zenobia, New York, a place where witches have been banned from practicing their magic…until romance problems among the great-granddaughters of the witch whose destructive spells invoked the edict cause their long-suppressed inner witches to go berserk…

In the sleepy college town of Zenobia, New York, the only supernatural trace on display is the name of Gwen Engel’s business—Abracadabra Odd Job Service. But Gwen’s family has some unusual abilities they’ve been keeping under wraps—until one little letter spells big trouble…

Nearly a century ago, Gwen Engel’s great-great-grandfather cast a spell with catastrophic side-effects. As a result, the Grand Council of Witches forbade his descendants from practicing witchcraft. The Council even planted anonymous snitches called Watchers in the community to report any errant spellcasting…

Yet magic may still be alive and not so well in Zenobia. Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, receive a letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, informing them that she’s bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. While Gwen frets about whether to trust her scientist boyfriend, currently out of town on a beetle-studying trip, she’s worried that local grad student Jeremy is secretly a Watcher doing his own research.

Cousin Trudy is so stressed that she accidentally enchants her cupcakes, creating havoc among her bakery customers—and in her marriage. Perhaps it’s time the family took back control and figured out how to harness their powers. How else can Gwen decide whether her growing feelings for Jeremy are real—or the result of too many of Trudy’s cupcakes?…

My Thoughts:

A Letter to Three Witches starts of with just that. A letter arrives at each of the three cousins’ houses, Gwen, Trudy and Milo. The letter is from Gwen’s adopted sister talking about her leaving and maybe taking one of their partners along. This message turns the three lives in disarray.

The story then follows the three cousins as they try to investigate and find out the truth behind Tannith’s words. The main secret they are keeping, they are witches but are not allowed to practice. The author gives us enough of the history to understand what happened in the family and how it has impacted the current generation. The story is simple and fun at times. There is unexpected magic, turning humans into animals and vice versa and a lot of bonding between family members. Secrets are found out and new relationships are forged in this fun rom-com style book.

I did find it a little difficult to connect with the characters and was not as invested in their lives as I would have liked to have been. I did however enjoy the story and how the cousins finally take back control of their lives and love. Some parts of the story seemed rushed but on the whole I think it was an enjoyable one time read! The writing is quirky and gives us a lot of happy vibes.

I would definitely recommend this for those who would like a light read with some fun, magic, love and family all in one.

Book Review: Little Bones (Detective Lottie Parker Book 10) by Patricia Gibney

About the Book:

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She lifted up her granddaughter from the cot, clutched her to her chest and, without looking at her beautiful daughter lying dead on the floor of her bedroom, ran from the house. Only when she was outside did she let a wail escape her lips, frightening the baby who joined in her screams.

When Isabel Gallagher is found murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery by her mother, it’s a gruelling case for Detective Lottie Parker. Isabel’s pyjamas have been ripped, her throat cut and an old-fashioned razor blade placed in her hand. As Lottie looks at the round blue eyes and perfect chubby cheeks of Isabel’s baby daughter, she can’t understand who would want to hurt this innocent family.

That very same day she receives a call with devastating news. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, has gone missing, and her four-year-old son Evan has been abducted from daycare. Lottie is sure that the missing mother and son are linked to Isabel’s death, and when she finds a bloody razor blade in their house, her worst fears are confirmed.

Desperate to find little Evan, Lottie leaves no stone unturned as she delves into Isabel and Joyce’s pasts and when she realises the two women have been meeting in secret, she knows she must find out why.

But when Joyce’s body is found in a murky pond and some little bones are found on a windy hillside, it feels as if this merciless killer will stop at nothing. The bones aren’t Evan’s but can they give Lottie the final clue to find the innocent child before more lives are taken?

This absolutely gripping and unputdownable crime thriller from bestselling author Patricia Gibney will leave you gasping for breath. A perfect read for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.

My Thoughts:

Little bones is Book 10 in the series that follows Detective Lottie Parker and her team. This is the first book that I read in this series and by the author. I liked the fact that I was able to read the book as a stand-alone though a little bit of the backstory is lost. This did not reduce the impact of this mystery thriller.

Lottie is dealing with two different crimes: the murder of a young woman while her four month old child is in the room; a missing woman and her four year old child. These seem to be different events, but Lottie suspects a connection due to razor blades that keep popping up which she seeks to find. The main target is to find the missing child and save him before something bad happens.

The story is well-written, fast paced with a strong focus on the plot and development. The characters are intriguing and I enjoyed the group dynamics of the team of investigators. As the plot unravels, the characters are pulled in different directions making us wonder about what is going on. This is the best part of the writing. It keeps the reader involved and guessing until the very end and then delivers a final punch.

I am also looking forward to reading the previous books and to getting to know Lottie Parker more. Her story is interesting as it gives us an insight into who she is and how she ended up where she is today! I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it for those who are interested in police procedurals, detective stories, mysteries and thrillers that lead to a satisfying (though sad at times) end.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

About the Book:

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Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

My Thoughts:

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books, netgalley and the author for giving me this opportunity to read this book. The review is my own honest opinion.

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a delightful read full of heartbreak, family, friendship and the promise of love.

The story follows Hollie as she deals with running the Café that her mother owned and the loss of her parents and brother. Christmas is always the worst time of year for her and the story follows her journey as she navigates it this particular year! We also meet Jake, a lovely person who has seen tragedy and faced a lot of bullying in his childhood. It’s thanks to the love and understanding shown by his grandmother that he grows into the wonderful human being that he is. I instantly fell in love with Hollie and Jake individually the moment I met them in the book.

The story follows these two people are they find each other by chance thanks to a small fluffy dog who brings about tremendous changes in their lives. He not only forges a bond between them, he helps bridge the gap and acts as a catalyst to the breaking down of multiple walls. I truly think that the dog is the true hero of this story!

The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the characters. The place is described really well and to me it felt magical. There is something welcoming about a café by the sea and the warmth of family and familiarity. As for the others, I loved Angie and her daughter Katie. They brought light to the book and stability to Hollie as an extended and accepted family. 

Be prepared to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions as the characters’ pasts are revealed and as they start to deal with loss and move towards acceptance. Overall this is a lovely book about two people who find their way back to being themselves and in the process find lasting love. 

Book Review: The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman

About the Book:

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An unthinkable crime—and the tattered threads of a friendship gone wrong—come roaring back to terrible new life in Jody Gehrman’s riveting psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Joshilyn Jackson.

Twenty years ago, Tansy was drawn to Selene’s hard edges, her grit, and her knack for survival. Since then, the confused tangle of guilt about covering up a murder shattered their friendship, and even now, at thirty-eight, Tansy has never come to terms with what happened that night.

But now, Selene is back, demanding her old friend repay her. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter, attends the college where Tansy works as a guidance counselor. Selene is convinced that Jupiter’s boyfriend, Colton, is abusive, and wants Tansy to intervene. As she is drawn back into the intensity of Selene’s world, Tansy discovers the ugly truth about Colton. But Tansy suspects there’s far more to the story, and now she’ll finally have to confront Selene once and for all.

My Thoughts:

A huge thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author for approving my request to read the eARC of the book. 

The Summer We Buried follows Tansy’s first person narration as we meet her and the various other characters through her experiences. The story starts of with an encounter between Tansy and Selene, an old friend. Their friendship was complicated and filled with a secret buried deep down. 

The author starts off alluding to this secret and builds up the story around Selene’s request, expectations and personality. We also see the influence she has on people around her through Tansy’s eyes. The story starts off quite slow and picks up momentum towards the middle.

Tansy, having ignored a secret from her past for a long time is forced to revisit the last summer that she and Selene were together, even as she navigates meeting Selene’s younger brother and her daughter. There is some mystery to the plot, but not enough to be intriguing. Some of the plot lines could have been further developed to include details and situations that help us understand the characters better. I found Tansy’s relationships and past to be under-developed as there was not enough of an explanation. There are just enough facts about what has happened. There are also some plot lines that do not get a proper conclusion leaving us to wonder as to what happens in the end.

However, all this does not take away from the fact that the book kept me hooked until the end. I got the chills in some sections and was even able to empathize with some of the characters’ feelings. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter is in an abusive relationship that she wants to save her from. She turns to Tansy for help in spite of their broken friendship. There is a lot of negativity, some abuse and a budding romance that make the story interesting to read. With all the troubles the characters face, we also see that a mother can do anything for her child and that love knows no bounds.

I would love to recommend this book to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller as the book touches upon some aspects of the human mind that makes us pause to think about people’s actions and the reasons behind them! This is definitely worth reading at least once.

Blog Tour – Book Review: We Belong Together by Beth Moran

Book Blurb:

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Eleanor Sharpley has been living a lie…
Needing to escape her London life quickly, Eleanor throws her things into the back of her car, and heads to her erstwhile best friend Charlie’s family farm.
But Charlie isn’t there. Instead she finds Charlie’s grieving brother Daniel, her eight-month old daughter Hope (a daughter Eleanor had known nothing about), and a crumbling and unloved Damson Farm.
Damson Farm lies at the edge of the village of Ferrington, with the river Maddon flowing at its heart. But Ferrington is a village divided by more than just a river – it is split in two by an age-old feud – between the Old Side and the New Side. Eleanor has run from her problems, straight into a family and a world that has problems of its own.
But Damson Farm has magic too, and as winter gives way to spring, the old farm starts to come to life under Eleanor’s love and care. The orchard starts to blossom with daffodils and bluebells, and the sound of bees busy in their hives fills the warming air. Can Eleanor bring Daniel and the feuding village of Ferrington back to life too, or will her secrets catch up with her first?

Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3g55WF3

About the Author:

Beth Moran
Beth Moran is the author of three previous romance novels, including Making Marion. She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. Beth’s first novel for Boldwood, Christmas Every Day, was published in September 2019.

Social Media Links:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bethmoranauthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/bethcmoran
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bethmoranauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/BethMoranNewsletter
Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-moran

My Thoughts:

We Belong Together is a heart-warming story that is well worth the read! The story follows Eleanor as she escapes to her best friend’s family farm to hide from her demons. At the farm, she encounters situations that she did not expect and in the midst of all the secrets, some mystery (this was unexpected) and the good she tries to do, she finds love!

I loved reading about Eleanor, her secretive past (that is hinted at a lot), he relationships and friendships with people. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and all the people of the village. The characters are pleasure to read about and are very well thought out. The vivid descriptions by the author make it so easy to imagine the village, it’s surroundings and experience the place along with the chanracters.

This is a light read that can be read anytime but would be best for a lazy summer afternoon. I fell in love with the story and enjoyed it completely. This is the first book by the author that I have read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

We Belong Together Blog Tour

Book Review: Saved by the Spell (House of Magic #2) by Susanna Shore

About the Book:

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Magic and I hadn’t exactly had a good start, but thanks to a spell that made me repulsive to men, I was seriously considering becoming a witch hunter.

A chance encounter with a charming stranger makes Phoebe dream of a happily-ever-after, until she learns that there’s a spell on her that makes her repulsive to men. Luckily her boss, Archibald Kane, and her new landladies are experts on magic. Only this one seems to confound them all.

Who has spelled her and why? Is it a challenge on Kane’s leadership of the mages? Or is there a more sinister game afoot?

Phoebe doesn’t mind the space men give her in the tube, but her cousin’s engagement party is coming up. How is she to celebrate, if she makes half the guests nauseous? And how is she to charm the man of her dreams when she suspects he’s part of the problem?

It might take the Archmage to break the spell—if only they could find him. A spell may be needed to save them both.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book by the author that I have read. I dived right into Book 2 without having read Book 1, but that was alright. I was easily able to catch on to who the characters are and what happened in Book 1 based on the references.

The story follows Phoebe as she once again finds herself in an awkward situation with magic. She has been spelled and is now repelling all men. This makes it difficult for her at work with her boss and at home. Surrounded by mages, Archmages, werevolves and vampires, Phoebe just might have a chance to break the spell. Who knows, maybe being spelled can come in handy or maybe not? Read on to find out.

The story is light and fast paced, the events developing rather quickly. The plot is straightforward but with an element of mystery that adds value to the magic of the book. I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various eccentric characters. The author has added in some humor to lighten the situations further and this helps to set the story apart.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book to join Phoebe, Archibald and all the others on their next adventure.

Book Review: Lord of the Masquerade by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

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A fun, fast-paced interracial romance full of banter, scandal, and devastating secrets, from a New York Times bestselling author:

Entrepreneur Miss Unity Thorne helped two different men amass their fortunes—only to end up on the street. She’s scraping by at the theatre, but this isn’t the show she plans to star in. The next fortune Unity builds will be hers alone. Her masquerade-themed assembly rooms will rival the ton, but to do so, she’ll have to apprentice the most dangerous rake of all.

The arrogant, sexy-and-he-knows-it Duke of Lambley’s weekly masquerade parties are decadent odes to excess: unlimited food, drink, dancing, romantic gardens, and private pleasure rooms upstairs. Everyone loves his balls, and he likes it that way. He’ll take a wife someday, but it certainly won’t be the pretty termagant who challenges him in the ballroom and the bedroom…

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses!

My Thoughts:

This is yet another lovely romance by Erica Ridley this time in the Rogues to Riches series. The story follows the Duke of Lambley as he orchestrates and presides over his masquerade parties. They are well planned and cater to every persons needs specifically while keeping everyone anonymous except to him. One might even say that he is controlling and this is exactly what our heroine Miss Unity Thorne thinks.

Unity hears about these much sought after parties and decides to find a way to observe them in the hopes of one day hosting her own. An entrepreneur in her own right, she helped her cousin with his business before she was cast away. Left with nothing, she tries to find her way, full of confidence. This is what drew me to the character.

This is a simple one time read that follows the two characters as they meet, fight their attraction and eventually fall in love. They are so wrong for another which just makes it right in the end! I have enjoyed reading Erica Ridley’s books in the past and once again am happy to recommend this pleasant and at times scandalous (for the time it is set in) read!

Book Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates, #2) by Julia Golding

About the Book:

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Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
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‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.

Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley. A huge thanks to the publishers and author.

This is the second book in the Jane Austen Investigates series that follows a young Jane Austen on another of her adventures to solve a mystery. Cassandra Austen is invited to attend a ball at her old school and asks Jane to come along. The headmistress of the school has a soft spot towards Cassandra, her favourite pupil. However, Jane’s presence is quite unexpected and received with some reluctance.

What follows is a series of friendships, some cricket and a theft that leads to Jane stepping in to investigate once again. We also meet Arjun and Deepti again, characters from Book 1 who are delightful and add some wonderful color to the book. I enjoyed the different perspectives in the book and everyone’s lives.

I found that this book was a little less impactful when compared to Book 1, but I still enjoyed it thanks to some of the newer characters, a talking parrot and some circus friends. The mystery was well thought out with a simple plot of theft which moves quickly ensuring the reader is engaged. In an attempt to solve the mystery, Jane uncovers many truths that shed light on the various characters of the book including the headmistress. This is the perfect book for middle graders and will give them a thrill to read it. Let’s not forget the cricket match that has to come to some kind of conclusion with the girls all showing off their amazing skills in a “boys game”! Not to be outshone, the boys also show off their skills in dancing at the ball! It’s all fun and more fun until things go wrong!

I am delighted to have read the books in this series so far and am looking forward to reading more of Jane’s adventures and her witty, sarcastic letters. She had a gift for writing and the author of this series does her justice in my opinion!

Book Review: A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball by T.E. Kinsey

About the Book:

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A locked room. A mysterious death. Just another gig for the Dizzy Heights.

When London’s finest jazz musicians, the Dizzy Heights, are booked to play the glitzy Midsummer Ball at a country house in Oxfordshire, they expect a weekend filled with flappers and toffs having a roaring good time.

But the festivities at Bilverton House take a turn for the worse when the group are stranded by a summer storm. And when a member of the Bilverton family turns up dead in a locked room in an apparent suicide, Skins, Dunn and Ellie realise this is going to be a much tougher gig than they thought.

But here’s the lick. What if it was in fact cold-blooded murder? And what if the killer is still at large? It’s up to the Dizzy Heights to once again put down their instruments and get improvising if they want to solve this confounding mystery.

My Thoughts:

Note: A huge thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an ARC of the book.

This is  the first book that I have read by author T.E. Kinsey. Of course this is the second book in the Dizzy Heights Mystery series, but it can be read as a stand alone book. This story follows the Dizzy Heights band as they arrive at Bilverton House to play at the Midsummer Ball. What is expected to just be a band performance for an evening turns into a situation of house arrest due to the rains. With the Bilverton family members and the Dizzy Heights band stuck together, the plot becomes more interesting when there is a death – in a locked room that is almost ruled a suicide.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to the various members of the band as well as the Bilverton family. It is indeed quite a mix of interesting characters, each with their own quirks, personalities and habits. It also looks like everyone in the Bilverton family is up to something and is keeping secrets. When Ellie hears a gunshot and finds the dead body, she along with Skins and Dunn agree that the circumstances are suspicious and suspect murder.

This turns into an interesting investigative few days for them while the band also plays music and mingles with the family to pass the time. I love how the plot unravels and Ellie’s perceptive nature. She is one of my favourite characters in this story. The author has done a great job in building up the atmosphere and describing each situation and person to the readers! It feels as though we are involved in the investigations and discussions along with the band. I would also like to point out that there are some great references to music from the time period of the setting ( a lot of which I don’t even know), but I felt like I could relate anyway due to how it was described.

This is one murder mystery I would recommend to all fans of the genre and I cannot wait to join the Dizzy Heights band on their next performance and adventure!

Book Review: The Girl from Venice by Siobhan Daiko

About the Book:

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Lidia De Angelis has kept a low profile since Mussolini’s racial laws wrenched her from her childhood sweetheart. But when the Germans occupy Venice in 1943, she must flee the city to save her life.

Lidia joins the partisans in the Venetian mountains, where she meets David, an English soldier fighting for the same cause. As she grows closer to him, harsh Nazi reprisals and Lidia’s own ardent anti-fascist activities threaten to tear them apart.

Decades later in London, while sorting through her grandmother’s belongings after her death, Charlotte discovers a Jewish prayer book, unopened letters written in Italian, and a fading photograph of a group of young people in front of the Doge’s Palace.

Intrigued by her grandmother’s refusal to talk about her life in Italy before and during the war, Charlotte travels to Venice in search of her roots. There, she learns not only the devastating truth about her grandmother’s past, but also some surprising truths about herself.

A heart-breaking page-turner, based on actual events in Italy during World War II.

My Thoughts:

This is a riveting read that takes the reader into Italy during World War II. This is the first book in the historical fiction genre that I have read that focuses on Italy and the events that unfolded here. The book talks about the war, the people, the impact it had on their lives and the secrets kept to move on in life.

We are introduced to Lidia and her granddaughter Charlotte, two strong and unique women, so different and yet similar in all the ways that matter. When Lidia passes away, Charlotte embarks on a trip to figure out who her grandmother was and what secrets she was hiding while living in London.

The story is told from each of their perspectives, giving us an insight into the present day world as Charlotte explores Italy and the events in Lidia’s life as she is careful not to be caught, but is helping out the partisans. Betrayed by some of the people she trusted and forced to endure a lot, Lidia shuts down after the war and moves away, adapting her new identity and never going back to her roots. Charlotte discovers a whole lot of things and along the way meets the people who saved her grandmother and made a difference to her life. She also ends up finding her place, love and a purpose so different than what she started out with.

This is a heart-breaking story that brings to us a reality we cannot imagine and talks about family in a way that makes us appreciate those around us. Lidia’s story enumerates that of so many others whose voices are not heard! A brilliant and well-written story, this is a must read!