Books/book review/fiction/humour/Romance/Cooking
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What happens under the tree?

Mistletoe And Mystery Book Cover Mistletoe And Mystery
The Paradise Cookery School
Daisy James
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo Escape
(10 Sept. 2018)

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course...

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

Cosy up with this fun, festive visit to the Cotswolds premier cookery school! Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan


This was sweet in all meanings of the word! Unfortunately there were no illustrations or recipes. But then who could compete with a pastry chef with a Michelin star…

I was hungry all the way through the descriptions of the cookery course – the only thing missing was the description of what they ate at the Xmas day meal – apart from Yorkshire puddings – which is a bit strange and very Northern. And they seemed to make different items form those described as being on the menu that day, but perhaps the chef rustled them up for them as extras?

Generally a nice book and very suitable for all cozy readers and everyone who likes to read about cookery.

I’m giving it 4 stars for making me hungry – the descriptions were delightful, and I agree Parkin is heavy – but so gingery…

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Books/book review/fiction/net galley
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aka Hedgehog

Needlemouse Book Cover Needlemouse
Jane O'Connor
women's literature
Ebury Digital
(1 May 2019)

Time to come out of hibernation...

Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it's no wonder she's a little prickly...

Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays - and it makes people think she's nicer than she is.

Only Sylvia has a secret: she's been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax, for over a decade now, and she's sure he's just waiting for the right time to leave his wife. Meanwhile she stores every crumb of his affection and covertly makes trouble for anyone she feels gets in his way.

But when a bright new PhD candidate catches the Professor’s eye, Sylvia’s dreams of the fairy tale ending she has craved for so long, are soon in tatters, driving her to increasingly desperate measures and an uncertain future.

Sylvia might have been sleep walking through her life but things are about to change now she’s woken up…

(actually a hog – a pig relative)

Whilst I quite liked this rather sweet novel about obsession and its consequences – and how stalking can come about – I wish stories about universities were a little more realistic.

Unless ‘her’ Professor was working in an Oxbridge university or was a ‘name’ and thus bought in for prestige, the whole concept of a personal administrator has long gone. Universities just can’t afford them. Nor can they afford Professors who sit around their offices all day writing without producing. It would be nice – but generally speaking, Professors are busy on committees, holding seminars, seeing multiple research students, and networking, as well as lecturing. Administrative staff are usually not required to submit students’ work to any conference – and a conference would require several months notice of submission due to the peer reviewed process it would need to go through. Sometimes they will book flights and accommodation but often these days, staff do this themselves and then get reimbursed.

So a lovely view of what university life must have been like some 20-30 years ago perhaps?

That said, I liked the hedgehog component. It was the saviour of the story really – they really are blameless creatures who are totally dumb, and sanctuaries deserve all the support they can obtain. We once found a nest of babies in our greenhouse. The mother had gone in there, late in the year and had got herself killed by getting tangled in support wires for tomatoes. The babies were too small for hibernation and we took them to Tiddlewinkles and gave a generous donation for their care.

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Books/book review/fiction/humour/cats
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Love the Cats!

Cat Me If You Can Book Cover Cat Me If You Can
The Hissing Booth Chronicles #0
Gemma Thorne
New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Humour
Independently published
(1 Nov. 2018)

The world ends not with a bang but a hiss.Since the Rise of Magic, soothsayer Journi McCutcheon has faced supernatural sycophants, dated zealous zombies, and battled possessed pediatricians, but when an eccentric client hires her to investigate haunted pickles, her day goes from weird to worse.Only demonic dills are the least of her newly acquired problems.What begins as a nuisance call ends in apocalypse when she stumbles across a mass grave and discovers that the cats therein aren’t just dead—they’re harbingers of extinction.And magic is on the endangered species list.To save her family and Deviants everywhere, she must set aside her feud with all things feline to end the threat.Before it ends her. Cat Me If You Can is the exciting prequel to Crazy Cat Lady, Gemma Thorne’s #1 best-selling debut novel. Packed with quick wit, spell-slinging heroines, and cats, it’s a new breed of urban fantasy. Start this beloved series today.

Here we have a parallel world where magic exploded and the strange creatures came out to play.

I thought this was a good, feisty, female PI heroine. I really loved her Mum and as for Grandma! grandma is a witch who bespells marbles – which make good slingshot ammunition – but you never know what is going to happen when they hit their target…

Nice fun read with lots humour and cats…. purrfect.

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Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction
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Shorn of their trees – an environmental disaster






Gray Mountain Book Cover




Gray Mountain





John Grisham





crime, thriller, mytsery, legal




Hodder Paperbacks; 01 edition (2 July 2015)



Donovan Gray is ruthless and fearless. Just the kind of lawyer you need, deep in small-town Appalachia.

Samantha Kofer is a world away from her former life at New York's biggest law firm. If she is going to survive in coal country, she needs to start learning fast.

Because as Donovan knows only too well, the mountains have their own laws. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line . .

A very apposite read as Trump trumpets about jobs for Coal – Make Coal Great Again! Which is the last thing of course that environmentalists want to happen, especially if retrieving that said coal means strip mining off forests and taking the top of mountains!

Coal is one of the worst air pollutants (see London Smog) and burning it and mining it is a sure way to ill-health and eventually death for the miner – my husband’s grandfather was a coal-miner.

The lack of legislation still, in the US, about health insurance, working conditions and environmental responsibilities makes me very glad I don’t live there. And this novel is a telling tale that reminds us why not to go and live in the Appalachians.

So not a fun read, but a worthy read and one that reminds us that the technological revolution has brought misery to many as well as life improvements to others, and that we humans are raping our planet’s riches and destroying our life giving eco-systems.

Rant over.

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Books/fiction/humour/Romance
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A TV appearance comes to the rescue






What Happens in France Book Cover




What Happens in France





Carol Wyer





contemporary fiction, romance, humour




Canelo




28th January 2018



Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their
father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What
Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public
platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.
With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet
heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high
maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their
work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.
Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that
brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…
This heartwarming romantic comedy of friendship, family and laugh-out-loud
adventures is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian
Keyes.

A light fun read especially for those who might consider going on a quiz show – the answer is don’t!

A novel quiz show and one that might actually work in real life is undertaken by our all star cast – including a Professor who thinks he is the bees knees and an Instagram star of a pug. Actually, the pug belongs to a male ballet dancer and has a very strong following – as so many people like to see dogs dressed up. I’m not sure what that says about their owners. But do recall our daughter would dress our cat up when she was a toddler and persuade her to ride in a pram. Very long suffering that cat!

Enjoyable but not intense and the ending is much as expected – happy of course.

Note for Editor – check dates and facts – how many grandchildren? When did they start filming? What did she teach?

Small inconsistencies that irritate.

About the author

Carol Wyer is an award-winning author and stand up comedian. In 2017 she stepped away from writing comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on writing a series of thrillers which became best-sellers and have been translated into several languages. She won the 2015 People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction, and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published alongside journalism in many magazines.

Quiz!
Fun Facts about Carol Wyer
1. How many game shows has Carol Wyer been on, on Television?
Answer: Three! The Tipping Point with Ben Shephard, Masterpieces with Alan Titchmarsh and Decimate with Shane Richie.
2. True or False: Was Carol Wyer once paralysed from the waist down?
Answer: True. At the age of 21, a simple procedure left Carol paralysed for three months.
3. What other careers has Carol Wyer had, besides bestselling author?
Answer: A language teacher, a personal trainer and a stand-up comedienne
4. Which famous comedian is Carol related to?
Answer: Ernie Wise, of Morecambe and Wise fame
5. Name five crazy hobbies Carol Wyer has?
Answer: Scuba-diving, zorbing, swimming with sharks, belly dancing and quad biking up mountains

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