Thursday, August 31, 2023

THE POSTCARD

MY THOUGHTS:

Twenty year old Mia was raised by her grandmother Ilse.  Mia remembers the stories of happenings during World War Two as if it happened yesterday.  So when Mia’s grandmother Ilse is hospitalized, Mia immediately returns to Germany to be by her side.  Ilse briefly wakes up and asks for Szymon, a man she knew many years ago but Mia doesn’t know who he is.  Why, after all this time, is Ilse so determined to see him?  Mia returns to her grandmother’s apartment to see if she can find any information on who Szymon is.  She discovers a stack of old, faded postcards inside an old suitcase.  As she reads through the stack of postcards, she sees that they are all signed by Szymon.  Mia must find Szymon and convince him that he needs to see Ilse one more time before it’s too late.  


The Postcard written by author Carly Schabowski, is a wonderful time slip story.  This emotional story is a heartbreaking and powerful story of past, present and future lives of people that survived the Great War and the stories that were kept secret for so many years.  If you enjoy historical fiction with secrets revealed and the mystery of finding answers many years later, then this is the book for you.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 5 out of 5.

DESCRIPTION:

THE POSTCARD
Author: Carly Schabowski

Publisher:  Bookouture 
Publication Date: August 29, 2023
Pages: 368 
Buy on Amazon

Holding the faded postcard in her trembling hands, Mia begins to read the one story her grandmother could never tell her, revealing a secret that will change her own life forever…

When her beloved grandmother, 
Ilse, is taken into hospital, Mia drops everything to travel to Germany and care for the woman who raised her. But when her grandmother briefly wakes up and asks for a man called Szymon, Mia is confused. Who is he? And why does her grandmother need to see him so desperately?

Later that night, Mia returns to her grandmother’s apartment to search for clues. She soon discovers a small parcel hidden inside one of Ilse’s suitcases. When she removes the wrapping, she finds a stack of faded postcards neatly bound together, signed with a name that makes her heart stop in her chest: 
Szymon.

Desperate to find Szymon before it is too late, Mia unearths a story her grandmother never told her: of childhood friendship and heartbreaking young love on the eve of the Second World War, and of a plan to rescue a young man imprisoned by the Nazis. Mia can’t quite believe her grandmother was so brave, and risked so much to save this man’s life… 
But did she succeed?

As the final pieces of the past come together, Mia realizes that she is about to find out what really happened to her grandmother during the war. 
But she doesn’t expect to uncover a secret that will change everything…

ABOUT CARLY SCHABOWSKI

Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North   Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

THE GIRL WHO NEVER CAME BACK

MY THOUGHTS:

Paris 1945, as the war rages on across Europe many lives of so many people and families are ripped apart, and will never be the same again. Phyllis was recruited at nineteen years old to be part of the resistance.  Phyllis is sent out on a mission and she never returns, disappearing without a trace.  Present day, Peg and Sylvia are best friends.  They have known each other their whole life, and now Peg is also Sylvia’s caregiver.  Sylvia passes away and Peg is tasked with sorting through all of Sylvia’s papers and belongings.  During the war,  Sylvia worked in an underground spy organization.  She recruited and trained young girls to be spies in Europe.  But Sylvia felt so guilty that the girls she recruited she could not protect.  Sylvia never revealed any details of her assigned mission, in order to do everything possible to protect Phyllis.  Peg finds letters written to Sylvia from Phyllis’ family and is left with the decision, wondering if enough time has passed that she could finally answer them.  


The Girl Who Never Came Back written by author Suzanne Goldring, is a wonderful time slip story.  I loved how the author describes the relationship between Peg and Sylvia and what it meant for them to know each other literally their entire lives.  The plot twists and turns between the war and the present day was so gripping, intriguing and made this a fast-paced novel that I didn’t want to put down.  I always enjoy books by this author and I look forward to reading more of her stories.  I highly recommend this book for every historical fiction fan.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

DESCRIPTION:

THE GIRL WHO NEVER CAME BACK

Author:  Suzanne Goldring 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date:  August 23, 2023
Pages: 390 
Buy on Amazon
 

Someone is trying to hide what really happened to her. I must do anything to discover the truth. Even risk my own life….

Paris 1945. I sent nineteen-year-old Phyllis, my youngest recruit, into a city crawling with enemy soldiers. But she was smart as a tack, and her gold-flecked hazel eyes could capture anyone’s hearts. I was certain she would succeed. But then she disappeared without a trace. And no one will help me discover what happened to her.

I am desperate to find her – the girl I told to lie to her family about where she was going. She was excited to be doing her bit, but she was young and na├»ve. It was my job to make her understand the peril she would face. 
Is it my fault she is missing?

Now I creep into a beautiful house on a tree-lined street, the headquarters of cold-hearted German soldiers. It was the last place she was seen. I trail my fingers along the gilded furniture and see the light dance off the glittering chandeliers. On the top floor, I find the dates inscribed by beaten prisoners, and my heart sinks as I realise she was shown no mercy here.

As I search for the answers her family are begging for, I learn that the girl I swore to protect was moved around in secret. And when I find a message scratched on a food tin in a damp cell, I know I am getting closer to Phyllis at last…

But there are some who want the secrets of the war to be left in the past. Someone is sending me threatening letters, trying to scare me to stop... 
In finding answers about the girl who haunts my dreams, am I not only risking her life but my own too?

ABOUT SUZANNE GOLDRING

Following an eventful career as a public relations consultant, specialising in business and travel, Suzanne Goldring turned to writing the kind of novels she likes to read, about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Whether she is working in her thatched cottage in Hampshire or her seaside home in North Cornwall, Suzanne finds inspiration in the secrets hidden by everyday life.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A BODY IN A CORNISH VILLAGE

MY THOUGHTS:

Kate Palmer enjoys her life in the picturesque seaside village of Tinworthy.  So naturally it is no surprise that the village would be the beautiful setting for a new television show.  Kate can’t help but be excited that they chose her house to film in.  And to top it all off Kate, her husband Woody and her sister Angie were asked to be extras.  As the filming begins the show’s writer and producer Crispin Wyngarde drops dead.  All eyes are on Angie as she quickly becomes the number one suspect.  Kate knows that her sister isn’t a murderer and she must prove her innocence.  There is an enormous array of possible suspects but Kate knows that whomever the murderer is, they are doing everything they can to make Angie look guilty.  Time is running out and Kate must find the real killer before the final scene.


A Body in a Cornish Village written by author Dee MacDonald was a wonderful cozy mystery.  This fast paced rapid read was an absolutely superb story with great characters.  I especially love the banter between Kate and her sister Angie.  At times I was at my wits end with the two sisters but they made the story fun.  The twists and turns of this well-written story had me wondering who the culprit was right up to the very end.  I enjoyed this cozy mystery very much and I highly recommend it.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 5 out of 5.

DESCRIPTION:

A BODY IN A CORNISH VILLAGE
Author:  Dee MacDonald 
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Publication Date: August 17, 2023
Pages: 287 

Cornish cream teas in the sun, dog walks on the beach and… a murder investigation? Can Kate Palmer – part-time nurse and cake-loving sleuth – solve her most baffling case yet? 

Kate Palmer is delighted when she learns that her home, the beautiful seaside village of Tinworthy, is the setting for a new TV show. She’s even more excited when she, her handsome husband Woody and her drama queen sister Angie are all invited to be extras. But when the cameras start rolling, the trio are in for a nasty surprise when the film’s writer and producer, Crispin Wyngarde, drops dead…

Before long, rumours start flying and Angie is in the spotlight for murder. Kate knows her sister had a brief, stormy fling with Crispin during her younger days as an actress, but surely Angie couldn’t have hated him 
that much, could she?

Kate is certain of her sister’s innocence, and is determined to prove it. But who would want to kill Crispin and set the stage for Angie to take the fall? 
Could it be Fergal, Angie’s jealous boyfriend? Sonja, the eccentric director, who had a love-hate relationship with Crispin? Or gorgeous Guy, the hairdresser who’s held a grudge against the problematic producer for years?

Armed with a list of possible culprits, Kate sets out to interview everyone she can. Over cups of tea, secrets start to spill out about overheard conversations and mysterious money transfers. But just as Kate thinks she’s finally on the right track, her main suspect is found dead after a party in the village. To make matters worse, he’s one of Angie’s old flames too…

Kate needs to solve the crime – and quick – to save her feisty sister. Can she untangle the clues and get to the truth, before it’s curtains down for Angie?

ABOUT DEE MACDONALD

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years. She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise. Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70! Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

MURDER AT THE VILLAGE FAIR

MY THOUGHTS:

Kitty and Matt recently tied the knot and are enjoying a belated honeymoon in the beautiful Yorkshire Hills.  They are visiting Matt’s family and they decide to attend the Village Fair.  Kitty and Matt pop into the fortune teller’s tent and they are shocked to discover the body of Madame Zaza.  She had predicted the future of so many villagers but she never predicted her own murder.  There are so many suspects and this is not how they expected to spend their honeymoon.  How will they ever narrow down who the culprit is?  It could be anyone from the village doctor to the reverend to someone that had lived there for decades.  Kitty and Matt think they are onto something when they find an old photo album full of pictures of the villagers that Madame Zara had known throughout the many years of living there. Matt and Kitty believe they have narrowed down the search for the killer and are ready to solve the murder.  Could they be right or did they just put their own lives in danger? 


Murder at the Village Fair written by author Helena Dixon was a wonderful cozy mystery. This fun story had me running through the beautiful Yorkshire Village and just when I figured out who the culprit was, the twists began.  I  loved the way the author described the sights and sounds of the fair and I was ready to buy my ticket to ride the carousel.  This is the thirteenth installment to the wonderful Miss Kitty Underhay Mystery Series.  I enjoy how each book is a different story and can be read as a standalone. This is the perfect story for cozy mystery fans and I definitely recommend it.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Rating: 5 out of 5.

DESCRIPTION:

MURDER AT THE VILLAGE FAIR
Author:  Helena Dixon 
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: August 10, 2023
Pages: 286 

Kitty Underhay is riding a carousel… with death. 

Summer
 1935. Enjoying a belated honeymoon visiting her new husband Matt’s family in the rolling Yorkshire hills, Kitty strolls through a village fair. But when Kitty persuades Matt to visit the fortune teller’s tent, the lovebirds are shocked to find the body of Madame Zaza slumped over her crystal ball, pearl necklace askew and a half-drunk cup of tea at her elbow.

After predicting so many of the villagers’ misfortunes, how did she not foresee her own murder? From a pompous old colonel to a reticent reverend and a dodgy village doctor, Kitty soon feels like half the village had a motive for murder. But with more suspects than tarot cards, she and Matt are no closer to finding the culprit.

Madame Zaza had been a part of the community’s life for decades and discovering a photograph album of the villagers through the years gives Kitty and Matt the breakthrough they’ve been searching for. Kitty is soon hot on the killer’s trail when her sleuthing puts her in terrible danger.
 Will her lucky stars align, or is her life line about to run out?

ABOUT HELENA DIXON

Nell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

THE BERLIN WIFE’S CHOICE

MY THOUGHTS:

Berlin, 1939; Julius and Edith lived a perfect life.  They were happily married and so much in love with each other.  They lived in their beautiful historic mansion enjoying the fancy parties and guests dressed in their finest attire.  But as soon as the war began, those days slipped away and the glitz and glamor turned into darkness and sorrow.  Julius loses everything he has because he is Jewish.  What little possessions they had left, they were forced to sell in order to buy food.  They scraped together whatever they could in order to survive.  Julius was able to avoid being captured by the Nazis but Edith is convinced that he won’t be so lucky a second time.  But Edith is faced with the decision of her life, and Julius will do whatever he has to to keep her safe and alive.


The Berlin Wife’s Choice written by author Marion Kummerow was a heart-breaking and wonderfully written historical fiction.  This author has an amazing gift of incorporating real life facts and teaching the reader through fiction story telling.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  My heart broke for Edith and Julius and the wonderful life they lived and were forced to give up.  This is the second installment in the German Wives Series, and was every bit as great as the first book.  This can be read as a standalone novel but my suggestion is to read the whole series.  Thank you Marion Kummerow for such a wonderful story, I definitely recommend this story.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 5 out of 5.

DESCRIPTION:

THE BERLIN WIFE’S CHOICE
Author:  Marion Kummerow
Publisher:  Bookouture
Publication Date: August 9, 2023 
Pages: 240 
Buy on Amazon

“I love you more than life itself. But you’re not safe. If you weren’t married to me, you wouldn’t suffer like this, terrorized by the yellow star on my chest. I could never live with myself if something happened to you—because of me.”

Berlin, 1939Edith Falkenstein once lived a fairytale life. Falling in love with Julius introduced her to a world she had only dreamed of. She wore the finest silk dresses to host parties in their historic mansion home.

But those days are a distant memory. Under Nazi rule, her Jewish husband Julius has been stripped of everything. Now the couple share a cramped apartment with other destitute families, and the priceless jewels that once adorned Edith’s neck have been sold to buy food on the black market.

Julius was lucky to escape being imprisoned once, and Edith knows he won’t be so fortunate a second time. The echo of boots marching across the city is a constant reminder of the danger they face. She begs Julius to flee the country, while they still can.

But as war rages across Europe, the journey will be fraught with peril. All Julius has ever wanted is to keep Edith safe. He knows there is only one way to truly protect the woman who stole his heart all those years ago—even if it means breaking hers.

Time is running out and Edith must decide: let Julius go or follow her heart and her husband into the danger that lies ahead…

ABOUT MARION KUMMEROW

Marion Kummerow is a USA Today Bestselling author of historical fiction.

She was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to “discover the world” and lived in various countries. After many years abroad she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she’s now living with her husband and two children.

After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING is the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime. It’s a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing. Since then she has started writing the War Girl Series. Intended as a trilogy, she grew so fond of the characters that she’s now plotting book 12 in the series.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

THE INN ON BLUEBELL LANE

MY THOUGHTS:

When Ellie’s husband Matthew loses his job, it causes them to almost lose their home.  Matthew and Ellie move their family from Connecticut, across the ocean, to the small village of Llandrigg in Wales.  Matthew’s mother, Gwen, ran the local Bed and Breakfast for many years when Matt’s dad, David passed away over twenty years ago.  The Inn was old and run down and it became too much for Gwen to continue to run by herself.  Matt and Ellie believe this could be the new beginning they need for their family.  Things begin to go awry when the oldest daughter Jess hates her life in Wales and misses her best friend Chloe back in the States.  Ben, Josh and Ava had their own issues with their new life, and their unhappiness shows in their actions.  But the biggest problem was the tension between Ellie and Gwen.  They tolerated each other but they can’t seem to agree on anything and that made Matt question why they ever made the move to Wales.  But not wanting to give up and not having a home to go back to in Connecticut, they have no choice but to make things work and make Wales a place they can all learn to love.


The Inn on Bluebell Lane authored by Kate Hewitt was a wonderful, heart-warming and inspiring story.  I love stories of new beginnings and starting over in a new place. All the characters in the story, from Gwen, Matt, Ellie and the four children were so likable, I found myself cheering them on, and hoping that they would love each other through the hard transition.  I loved every member of the family and I felt a connection to each of them.  Author Kate Hewitt does an amazing job of transporting the reader from the States across the pond to Wales.  Her detailed description of the beautiful setting of the small village of Llandrigg, was such a wonderful escape.  I could feel the warm sun on my face and the cool breeze across my cheek as I walked through the village.  I am so happy that this is the start of a new series, and I look forward to reading the next installment.  The Inn on Bluebell Lane is an absolute must read that I wish I could give ten stars.  I loved it and I highly recommend it.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: 5 out of 5.

DESCRIPTION:

THE INN ON BLUEBELL LANE
Author:  Kate Hewitt
Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: August 4, 2023
Pages: 365 
Buy on Amazon 

As Ellie gazes up at the inn, with its white walls and purple flowers, she can’t believe this charming place is her new home. It looks like an idyllic image from a postcard, but will her troubled family fit into this picture-perfect setting?

When 
Ellie and her family move to a tiny village in rural Wales to run her husband’s family inn, it’s meant to be a new beginning for all of them. Having left their troubles behind in America, Ellie has high hopes for a fresh start, and a chance for her family to forget the stress of the last year.

But when they arrive, Ellie realizes everything is in a far worse state than she’d imagined. And as her husband, 
Matthew, begins to tackle the renovations before the guests arrive, stripping flowered wallpaper and sanding floorboards, he becomes even more distant. Ellie had hoped being back in Wales would help him recover, but if anything he seems more haunted than ever. Is there something he’s not telling her? As Ellie tries and fails to reconnect to him, dodging pots of paint and ladders, she finds herself feeling lonelier.

As things go from bad to worse with the renovations, Ellie’s reality feels a million miles away from the rural bliss she had imagined for her family. 
Why did she think a run-down inn would be the place to reignite her marriage?

But as she stares out at the rolling fields beyond the windows, she can’t let go of the feeling that the Inn on Bluebell Lane needs her family to restore its fortunes, and that this magical place might bring the husband she remembers back to her once more…

ABOUT KATE HEWITT

Kate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of women’s fiction, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea series set in the Lake District, the Willoughby Close a series set in the Cotswolds, and Tales From Goswell written as Katharine Swartz. Her novel A Mother’s Goodbye has been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers. Her latest novel, Not My Daughter, is out now, and No Time to Say Goodbye is available for preorder.

She lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways on her website, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads.

Friday, August 04, 2023

MURDER AT THE INN

MY THOUGHTS:

Julia Bird is happy to join her teammates at the Berrywick’s village pub to participate in the pub quiz.  It is always the first Tuesday of every month and has turned out to be one of Julie’s favorite events that she looks forward to.  But when Lilian, a quiz participant and a police constable is found stabbed to death the competition takes a turn for the worse.  The fun and games quickly end. Detective Investigator Hayley Gibson is unable to respond because she is at home recovering from breaking her leg.  So a Superintendent arrives from a nearby town to investigate the murder.  The police are sure that the murder has to do with the fact that Hayley is a police officer, Julia is not completely convinced.  She begins her own investigation and starts to question the pub goers.  When another quiz team member is attacked, Julie knows for certain that she is on the culprit’s tail.  But will she discover whodunnit before another team member is found dead?


Murder at the Inn written by author Katie Gayle was a wonderful English cozy mystery.   I was hooked from the very first page to the last.  This fabulous story was entertaining and the wonderful description of living life in the village was heart-warming.  I enjoy Julia’s character so much.  She sounds like a close friend that I would love to spend my days with, sleuthing around here and there.  This is the fourth installment in the Julia Bird Mysteries Series and it is just as good as the first book.  If you haven’t read this fantastic series I suggest you do, it is absolutely fabulous. Murder at the Inn can be thoroughly enjoyed as a standalone novel or as a part of the amazing series. I highly recommend it.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


DESCRIPTION:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
MURDER AT THE INN
Author:  Katie Gayle 
Publisher:  Bookouture
Publication Date:  August 3, 2023 
Pages: 266

Julia Bird loves the village pub quiz, but it seems one of her team won’t make it to the next round alive… 

On the first Tuesday of each month, 
Julia Bird and her Agatha Quizteam teammates take part in Berrywick’s village pub quiz. They take it seriously – what’s the point of playing, after all, if you aren’t in it to win it? But it seems someone connected with the quiz night has taken the competition to a whole new level when Lilian, the local police constable and all-round general knowledge expert, is found fatally stabbed after the evening’s final round.

With local 
DI Hayley Gibson stuck home with a broken leg and an incompetent Superintendent brought in from the nearby town, it’s up to Julia to make sure the investigation stays focussed – whether they like it or not! While the police are convinced that the murderer is linked to Lilian’s professional life, Julia turns her amateur sleuthing eye to suspects much closer to home. Perhaps Lilian’s personal life could have something to do with the dreadful crime?

When another quiz team member is attacked, Julia is finally put on the right track. But what could possibly be important – or dangerous – enough for two attendees of the pub quiz night to meet such foul ends over? Could the culprit really be among them on that busy Tuesday night? As Julia’s race to identify the killer ramps up to desperate heights, she wonders, where will the murderous spree end?

ABOUT KATIE GAYLE

Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.