Book reivew: Murder Most Cornish by Kate Johnson

Murder Most Cornish (A Molly Higgins mystery)Murder Most Cornish by Kate Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ned is running a murder mystery weekend in his crumbling old mansion. Kitty, a well known actress, playing one of the roles in the cast. Everyone is expecting a fake murder, but they get a real one instead!

This is the second book in the series, but you could read it as a standalone. Molly and Connor, who are the main characters in book one are in this one too. Molly is the one who solves the mystery. Ned and Kitty are the romantic subplot for this book. Kitty is smart and outgoing and the perfect foil for Ned, who is rather shambolic. I love Ned. He’s such a delightful mess.

There’s a big house, glamrous guests and a murder. There’s also romance and jokes and quite a lot of Cornwall. I really enjoyed this book.

Usual disclaimer. I know the author in real life. We belong to the same writers organisations. I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley.

UK Buy link

US Buy link

Book review: The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

The Ultimate Pi Day Party (Baldwin Village, #1)

The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

This is a lovely story about Josh (tech CEO) and Sarah (pie maker extraordinaire). Josh is throwing a pi day party in the hope that it will be the catalyst to healing the rift between him and his dad. He hires Sarah, from the Happy As Pie shop to cater for the event.
The characters are all really well developed and I felt I knew both Sarah and Josh. I loved that Sarah has been working so that she feels she hasn’t made many female friends and these friendships are almost as important to her as her budding relationship with Josh.
I also adored Josh’s mum.
There is a lot about food in this book and I kept having to go fetch myself a snack.
Very nice, low angst, (relatively) high heat, feel good romance. And there are maths jokes!

Buy link UK

Buy link US

Book review: House Rules by Ruby Lang

House Rules

House Rules by Ruby Lang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a second chance love story. Simon and Lana were married and then divorced. Now, in their mid forties they meet again when they’re both looking for somewhere to live. Circumstances lead to them sharing a lovely apartment. Their lives are sufficiently different that they don’t need to see much of each other, but they can’t stop looking for each other.

There are many things I liked about this story. The characters were so relatable. I loved that they were starting to feel old. Simon was often tired, not from doing anything especially tiring, but just from the day!

Simon was very sweet, if a little self centred. He grew a lot by the end. Lana is thoughtful and independent in a way that felt hard won. I liked that she was physically strong and this was hard won too.

There were a few little observations that I especially liked – like Lana taking the fact that she wouldn’t be the only Asian woman in the neighbourhood into consideration when thinking about moving.
I usually like Ruby Lang’s books and this was no exception. A lovely read.

With thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for letting have an advance copy.

Buy Link UK

Buy Link US

Inheritance Books: Jenni Fletcher

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week’s Inheritance Books are from romance and fellow cake aficionado, Jenni Fletcher. Welcome to Inheritance Books, Jenni. Have a biscuit. Why don’t you set things off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Jenni Fletcher

I’m from Aberdeenshire, but now live in East Yorkshire with my family. I spent seven years at university studying English and never wanted to leave so becoming a writer seemed like a good solution. I could happily spend every day in a library, although I spent a couple of years working in various admin jobs, writing in my spare time. My favourite hobby is baking and, because I have to do exercise occasionally, I like mountain biking and hiking. I also teach creative writing part-time.

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
My mother gave me her copy of Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman when I was fifteen. She was a history teacher so there were always a lot of historical novels in our house, and she knew I liked the Medieval era. It’s all about King John and Llewellyn the Great and I remember being absolutely engrossed, reading until 3am on a school night. Katharine by Anya Seton was the first historical novel I ever read, but Here Be Dragons is the one that made me fall in love with the genre. Fortunately, my mum also had most of Penman’s other novels so they kept me busy for a while. Then we got to have discussions about Simon de Montfort and Welsh history over cake – I was that kind of rebellious teenager!

Picture of Jenni's messy bookshelves

That sounds like a lovely discussion to get into. Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I’m a bit wary about recommending books to other people because I think we should all read whatever we want, BUT having said that,The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon is one of my all-time favourites so I’d leave it as an example of just how wonderful and thought-provoking a book can be. It’s a combination of historical (it’s set just after WWI and looks at the psychological and practical impact of the war on women), crime (there’s a murder), and romance novel (with a truly gorgeous, but very flawed hero). It also has a sad ending, which is absolutely necessary to the plot and I’m so glad that the author wasn’t forced to write a happy one. I think you can tell when that’s happened and it can undermine the whole book. Fortunately, in this case there’s a sequel (The Woman in the Picture) which allows for a HEA eventually. So this is my ‘you really should read this book, book‘ – I hope to write one just like it someday.
Oh, and if I’m allowed just one other, Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss. It’s my favourite book to read to my children at bedtime and I quote it way too often. 

Oh, sneaky, getting an extra book in! But who doesn’t like Dr Seuss?!

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Jenni. All the best with your new book … and huge congratulations for being shortlisted for a RoNA award with Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess.

You can find out more about Jenni on her website, or tweet pictures of cake to her on Twitter (@jenniauthor). Her latest book The Unconventional Countess is available to buy now.

Inheritance Books: Eleanor Harkstead

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is Eleanor Harkstead. Hello Eleanor. Why don’t you take a seat on the Inheritance Books sofa and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Profile picture of Eleanor Harkstead

I’m Eleanor Harkstead. I co-write romantic fiction with my friend Catherine Curzon. We’ve adventured into all sorts of genres: contemporary, historical, romcom, paranormal, romantic suspense… By day I’m a librarian. My interests include family history and the history of forensics.

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
When I was about 8 or 9, my dad gave me a book that had been his favourite as a child. Now, my dad’s ambition was to be a lighthouse keeper, and to visit every RNLI lifeboat station in the country. He loves Douglas Reman’s WW2 naval adventures, so the book he gave me, and which I read very carefully because it was clearly precious to my dad, came as a surprise.

It was “The Family from One End Street” by Eve Garnett. And there’s very little nautical action in there at all.

The novel was first published in 1937, and it has gorgeous illustrations. The family struggle to get by, the children have adventures, and by the end of the novel, you feel like they’re your friends. Although the novel was almost fifty years old when I read it, it still had the power to enchant me as a reader because the characters, their adventures and their world were so realistic and engaging.

Eleanor Harkstead's bookshelf!

At the beginning of the story, the mum and dad have just seen John Singer Sargent’s painting “Carnation Lily Lily Rose” and they decide to name their daughters after it. And around the time I read the book, we went on a trip to the Tate (you won’t be surprised to learn we only had time for a quick jaunt round the galleries because we’d spent most of the day at the Boat Show in Earl’s Court) and I saw the painting in the flesh. The light from the lanterns in the painting seems to glow. It’s an astonishing artwork, and had an even greater effect on me as it came leaping out of a book at me too.

The Family from One End Street” showed me that even though fiction comes from the imagination, it’s perfectly okay for it to be rooted in the real world too. And it gave me a glimpse into the world of my father’s childhood. Unfortunately, I don’t have the book anymore – I gave it back to my dad!

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
My niece and nephew love books – they view them in the same way they do their toys, they’re sources of fun and amusement to them. I’d leave them Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch novels. They’ve been overshadowed by you-know-who, that wizard boy, but Mildred Hubble will always be my heroine. Those stories told me that even the kid who struggles, who’s awkward and odd, can triumph in the end, and that’s a powerful message for any child when they’re growing up and all at sea.

We love the books and the TV series in our house. Well met!

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Eleanor. All the best with your latest book.

Book cover for The Dishevelled Duke by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon

You can find out more about Eleanor Harkstead and her books on her website, Twitter , Facebook or you can follow her on Bookbub (always a good idea!). Her latest book The Dishevelled Duke is available to buy now

Book Review: Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

Tiny House, Big Love (Love Unscripted Book 2)

Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

This book is a little explosion of delight. Open hearted Lucy is looking for a tiny home that fits within her budget. To make matters more intense, she’s doing it on screen as part of a reality TV show about tiny houses. Helping her with her choice is Sebastian, her best friend.
Where Lucy is open hearted and generous with her feelings, Sebastian has learned to keep his feelings closed off. He adores her, but he can’t bring himself to tell her. When he does try, he’s so subtle about it that even Lucy can’t be sure whether he said what she thought he said.
The search for a tiny house puts them in close (cramped?) proximity to each other over and over again.

I loved the characters in this book. Sebastian in so sweet and faithful. Lucy, with her worry stone and hairy legs and lack of underwear is so comfortable in her skin. The dog and the cat were lovable too. Friends to lovers is my absolute favourite trope and this book had so much pining and adoring-from-a-distance in it! Brilliant.

This is a short book, so I galloped through it in a day. I will definitely read more by Olivia Dade.
I received an ARC of this book, this is my honest review.

Buy link UK

Buy link US

Book review: Not Your Knight In Shining Armour by Kate Johnson

Not Your Knight in Shining Armour (Royal Weddings #3)Not Your Knight in Shining Armour by Kate Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my word, I loved this book.
Scarlet is a plus sized heroine (she’d say ‘fat’). She’s been a rock and roll brat and done that. Now she’s relauching a career as her new, sober, self.
Tom is a mess. He’s suffering from PTSD, tends to drink too much and is often depressed. He has tried just about every treatment money could buy (and he’s a Prince, so he has the money to buy just about everything!) but it’s not helping.
He meets Scarlet by chance and is kind to her. He falls in love with her voice first and then the rest of her. He doesn’t care that she’s fat. He loves her love of food. She loves that he’s kind. They end up having a clandestine relationship where they are mindful of each other’s problems. Being with Scarlet makes Tom WANT to give up alcohol… which helps with everything else.
There were some genuinely funny moments (at least one was a period joke). I liked that Tom wasn’t miraculously ‘cured’ and that Scarlet didn’t feel the need to get thinner – even though the media kept going on about her weight.
I’ve read the whole series of ‘Not Your’ Royal weddings books. I think this one and Not Your Cinderella are my favourites.
Usual disclaimer- I know the author. I bought a copy of this book on preorder because I expected it would be good… which it is!


Buy link UK

Buy link US

Cover Reveal: This Stolen Life

My alter ego Jeevani Charika has a book coming out on the 8th of May. It’s a story about motherhood, student life and the secrets we hide from the people we love. It will be published by Hera books.

Here’s the cover and the blurb. 🙂

Book cover for This Stolen Life by Jeevani Charika. Asian woman smiling with book title text.

Would you tell the truth, if it meant losing your one true love?

Soma is a shy young woman adrift in a strange new country. After moving from Sri Lanka to Yorkshire to become a nanny to baby Louis, Soma tries to settle into life in the U.K., even if every day presents her with a new challenge, from trying new food or getting to grips with the language. 

But the one thing Soma never counted on was falling in love. When she meets Sahan, a Sri Lankan student at the local university, the two feel an instant attraction. Meeting in secret so that Sahan can teach Soma English, their friendship quickly blooms into something more. But their differing backgrounds – Soma is from poverty, while Sahan is the son of a wealthy family and cousin to Soma’s employer – means they have to hide their love from the world. 

While they bare their souls to each other, Sahan has no idea that Soma is hiding a huge secret from him – but as her lies come crashing down, Soma is faced with an impossible choice. Should she tell the truth – even if means losing Sahan?

A moving, unique and utterly engrossing love story about how well we really know the person we fall in love with – fans of Amanda Prowse, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain will be captivated.

Preorder it now for 99p

Christmas At The Palace is on tour this week!

Christmas At The Palace in on tour of some awesome book blogs this week.

It’s already been to:

A Cat, A Book and a cup of tea who gave it 4 cats!

and Jera’s Jamboree 

You can click on the links to read the reviews. (I’ve read them both – over and over… )

Tune in for the rest of the tour.

Did I mention that Christmas At The Palace is available in ebook, paperback AND Audio now? Did I? Oh, okay. As you were.