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What happens when blood makes you sick

Adventures of a Vegan Vamp: Book Cover Adventures of a Vegan Vamp:
Volume 1 (Vegan Vamp Mysteries)
Cate Lawley
crime fiction, mystery, thriller, cosy
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (23 Nov. 2017)
23 Nov 2017

Undead and vegan? Not the afterlife this girl had planned. Waking up thin is one thing. But waking up gaunt, hangry,and undead makes for a very bad day. Mallory's killer better hide, because she's just discovered blood, meat, and dairy don't agree with her, and a future with no cheese is grim indeed. She's out to find her killer...and maybe a vegan cheese that doesn't melt her nose hairs. Click to see how Mallory conquers a killer hunger while hunting a deadly vampire.

A Vegan Vamp?!

I so much enjoyed this tale that I read the following 3 stories in the series plus the 2 novellas. Still not a 5 star rating but enjoyable romps through just what happens when a vampire can’t stand the taste of blood and cannot digest it either. So how does she take in nutrition? Protein shakes with a mixture of vegetables etc to ensure she gets the necessary minerals etc.

Each book leads onto the next with a cliff-hanger and with the 2 short stories lying in the middle and intersecting – covering some of the same time periods but other aspects.

They are cosy murder mysteries, with magic, witches, political intrigues and lots of power plays. Living a long time gives vampires lots of time to plot it seems…

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Down by the sea and the plum tree

The Cottage at Plum Tree Bay Book Cover The Cottage at Plum Tree Bay
Darcie Boleyn
Romance , Women's Fiction
Canelo
Pub Date 25 Jul 2019

One summer can change everything...

Catherine Bromley has spent her life in Penhallow Sands, dedicating herself to work and supporting her emotionally fragile mother. Since her father left, it’s always been the two of them and Catherine has no interest in romance. What’s the point when men just leave? And besides, her mother needs her.

But when handsome novelist Mark Coleman arrives to stay at the cottage overlooking nearby Plum Tree Bay, Catherine’s world is changed. She’s soon bumping into Mark everywhere – or being thrown at him by her matchmaking friend! The chemistry is undeniable. But can Mark let go of his painful past to be the man that Catherine can rely on? And will Catherine find the courage to let love in?

A heart-warming romance set in Cornwall and perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley.

I kept reading, but when I was some two-thirds of the way through I was still hoping that something would happen that was new and novel and surprising, but it didn’t.

This book sauntered rather than trotted or even cantered to the end of the story. The trope was on too even a keel.

Darcie can write better and does when writing historical fiction. Just too cosy for me… This story only just reaches the 3 star mark..

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And Cornwall grows fine wines

The House at Greenacres Book Cover The House at Greenacres
Darcie Boleyn
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo escape

All roads lead home…

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…

An uplifting, emotional Cornwall-set romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

This is a gentle second chance romance, set in Cornwall and their vineyards.

It is cosy in style and written so as to be fairly contemporary in language but not explicit in behaviour – the behaviour is implied as we have 2 pregnancies before marriage in it!

It is very family oriented and lauds the benefits of living within a multi-generational household unit – even though this can be very problematic as my mother-in-law would have attested if she admitted it… her mother being a tyrant..

Overall a very pleasant story and style, but for me a little too sweet, I prefer more drama and bite.

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And the magic word is?

Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets Book Cover Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets
(The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries) #2
Holly Bell
humour, fantasy, female sleuths
Independently published
(24 Dec. 2018)

Amanda Cadabra, asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.

An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.

Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.

Only one person who might help: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Please note that to help the reader to be immersed in Amanda's world, this British-set story, by a British author, uses British English spelling, grammar and usage, and includes accents, dialects and a magical language.

Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.

So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.

At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.

That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.

Very light reading but ..

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Which Testament?: Extract

A Testament to Murder Book Cover A Testament to Murder
A Murder Will Follow Mystery Book 1
Vivian Conroy
Cosy Crime
Canelo
18th February 2019

Book Blurb: Suspenseful from the first page to the last, A Testament to Murder is perfect for fans of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Crooked House A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize...  At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever. Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize. As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…

A 1920s murder mystery to keep you guessing

“Anna!” Kenneth ran up to the figure in white who was cutting a few roses at the back of the garden. “I didn’t see you at breakfast. I was worried that you had left anyway.”

She didn’t look at him as she reached out for another soft yellow rose, resting it in the palm of her hand a moment, before cutting it and putting it with the others in the basket on her arm.

“Anna?” Kenneth studied her tight profile. “Is something wrong?”

“Of course not. I had breakfast in the kitchen earlier with the other servants. I was only at dinner last night because Mr Bryce-Rutherford wanted to make his revelation.”

“He can’t let you eat with the servants. You’re not like them.”

“How would you know?” Anna asked, but he saw the smile tugging at her lips.

Encouraged, he continued, “I’ll ask Uncle Malcolm if you can eat with us every day. I bet he’ll think it’s a great idea. He must like you. He doesn’t have any people around him who are…” Young, fresh, breathtaking. “Who can cheer him up. I think he needs that. He thinks he’s dying. But perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he’s only depressed because everything is so sad here and everybody treats him like an invalid. We could make things different for him.”

“You honestly think he isn’t dying?” Anna asked. A frown hovered over her eyes.

Kenneth shrugged. “I would feel ill if everybody treated me like I was ill all of the time. Theodora with her things that he has to eat because they are good for him. And that darkened room. He needs to do something fun.”

Anna held his gaze. “Can we take him on our boat trip?”

Kenneth suddenly saw his whole boat trip where he would impress Anna with his skills and his strength ruined by the presence of a nagging old man. Or worse even, an old man who would look at him with knowing eyes, smirking at the schoolboy trying to win a woman of the world.

He said quickly, “I think that would be too dangerous. The sea could be rough and rock the boat. What if he fell out of the boat and drowned?”

Anna’s eyes were a deep endless blue. “Yes,” she said slowly, “what if…”

Here outside the house her smooth skin didn’t seem so porcelain-like but had more of a tan, a healthy glow, blending out her freckles. Her hands moved with quick determination as she chose just the right rose to snip off and put in her basket.

One threatened to slip off from the top of the bunch and she grabbed it. “Ouch!” She retracted her hand and a drop of blood sat on her fingertip. She stared at it with a pained expression.

Kenneth pulled out his handkerchief and offered it to her. She used it to dab at the blood, leaving a bright red stain on the handkerchief. She smiled at him as she handed it back to him. “Thank you. How clumsy of me.”

Kenneth put the handkerchief back in his pocket and studied the blue skies above. “We could go boating now. Uncle Malcolm doesn’t need you right away.” He said it in a blunt, confident tone.

Anna looked doubtful. “I promised to bring in these roses and arrange them for him in a vase.”

“Theodora can do it. There she is.” Kenneth pointed at the drab figure in grey which had come out of the house and stood on the terrace.

“She doesn’t like me,” Anna said. “I don’t know why. I take good care of my patient.”

Kenneth shrugged. “Some people think they can do everything better. That’s just the way they are. Let me take the basket to her. You go get a cardigan or something. It can be chilly on the water.”

Anna suddenly laughed out loud. She handed him the basket and the cutting tool and then threw her arms up in the air and cheered. “Ken, you’re a doll.” She ran off around the house to where the kitchen entrance was.

Kenneth stood motionless, his cheek burning as if she had leaned in and kissed him there and then. He thought she might have wanted to do that if Theodora hadn’t been watching them.

He turned to the woman with resentment clawing at his stomach. That ugly old witch had to ruin everything for everyone. If anybody ought to die here, it ought to be her.

He carried the basket to her, holding the tool out like a weapon.

Theodora was studying the view and only noticed him at the last moment. She yelped and clutched her hands together. “Kenneth! What are you doing?”

“Here are some roses for Uncle Malcolm. I thought you would like to arrange them in a vase and take them up to him.” Kenneth held the tool and basket out to her. “He’ll appreciate all the trouble you go through for him.”

Something lit in those dull eyes over the long, forever sniffing nose. She said in a surprised tone, “That’s very kind of you, Kenneth.”

He shrugged. Her eyes made him uncomfortable as if she could see right through him. “I think you care very much for him. And he needs that.”

The eyes lit even more. “Yes, he needs that.” Theodora ran a finger over the soft petals of one of the roses. “Even if he will never admit it.”

Kenneth pulled back his shoulders and repeated something he had heard his mother say to her friends, “A man will never admit he needs a woman.”

Theodora nodded. “How true. You’re extremely intelligent for your age.” She cast a long loving look at the roses and then turned away. Before she entered the house, she called to him, “Remember one thing though: Anna can’t swim.”

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Author Bio:

Armed with cheese and chocolate, Vivian Conroy sits down to create the aspirational settings, characters with secrets up their sleeves, and clever plots which took several of her mysteries to #1 bestseller in multiple categories on Amazon US and Canada. Away from the keyboard, Vivian likes to hike (especially in the Swiss mountains), hunt for the perfect cheesecake and experience the joy in every-day life, be it a fiery sunset, a gorgeous full moon or that errant butterfly descending on the windowsill.

Twitter: @VivWrites

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