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Let the Sleuthing Continue! Hattie Goes To Hollywood by Caroline James. #BookReview.

Let the Sleuthing Continue! Hattie Goes To Hollywood by Caroline James. #BookReview.

I have been a fan of Caroline James’ books for a long time now. If you search my blog for Caroline James, you will see quite a few praising reviews.

Now a new series has begun based around Hattie who was a secondary character in previous books, but has been promoted to the star of the show in Hattie Goes To Hollywood.

Thank you to Author Caroline James for my copy of your book. This is the first of my #10BooksofSummer challenge and it was a great start.

Description

Introducing a new cosy crime series from best selling author Caroline James.

A Cumbrian Village…
Three suicides…
A red-hot summer…

When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born. During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?

Hattie Goes to Hollywood is the first is a new series of stand-alone books by Caroline James.

My Thoughts:

Shenanigans ” what a great word to describe Hattie and her life. Hattie is the brilliant character that I loved from previous Caroline James’s books. Now she has a star role of her own .

This is the first in a series that the author is writing and what a fabulous start. Hattie inherits a house in a seemingly quiet village where she soon finds out that there are plenty of nosy neighbours about. But also perhaps a secret or 3.

Hattie’s first mission is to investigate a suicide for her neighbour. ‘H & H investigations’ begins her sleuthing and shenanigans.

I loved this easy read book. I liked that the characters are older but still loving and living life. ( well most of them). Caroline James has a style all of her own in her books and one that if I  read a book without knowing the author, I think I could tell you it was Caroline that had written it. Easy flowing writing, charismatic characters and usually some tasty food involved. In this case, Hattie’s hearty breakfast bacon sarnies and the plates full of good pub food from the local. There is another attraction in the local for Hattie too 😉.

A quirky little co star of this book is Drake, the duck that follows Hattie home and makes himself her pet. How nice to have a pet duck. Thoughts of duck l’orange must disappear at this point. 😋

This cosy mystery is a fabulous start to the new series staring Hattie as investigative sleuth extraordinaire. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

If you like cosy mysteries with great atmosphere and not your typical “detective”, then this is a book for you. Lovers of Caroline’s previous books will definetly enjoy it and if you haven’t been introduced to Caroline James’ characters then Hattie Goes To Hollywood is a good place to start. Highly recommended.


Links:

Goodreads

www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk
 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2020 in Books

 

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Here’s my Calling Card. Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

Here’s my Calling Card. Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

The Chestnut Man book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I always knew it was going to be a good read as it was given to me by my fellow book loving, book blogging friend Irena, and she knows my taste. The reason I hadn’t read it until recently was that I was daunted by the length of the book being over 500 pages. Many of the reviews I have read of this book say, don’t be put off by thickness! But I was! Now what better time to enjoy an excellent book than during lockdown.

Translation by Caroline Waight.

Description:

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

My Thoughts:

I had never heard of Chestnut dolls before, but I do know I love a book whereby the murderer has a calling sign. This caller sign is Chestnut dolls. Chestnuts and match sticks made into little people. But what is the significance? The significance becomes even more strange ( intriguing for the reader) when the fingerprint of a girl that went missing a year ago is found on the chestnut!

The plot focuses on two main detectives who are on the case. Neither of them particularly happy about having to work with the other and both with other places they would like to be. Not a good match for a serious hunt for a serial killer with an agenda you might think? Perhaps not, but it was a nice change to read about detectives having to be a partnership and not wanting to be there.

This Scandi Noir books deserves all the praise and rave reviews it’s got. The short chapters enabled me to read ” just one more chapter” more times than I could have imagined. The finger prints on the chestnut were what got me turning the pages. How are there finger prints of a girl who has been missing presumed dead for a whole year. The missing girl is the daughter of a government minister, so should this case be re opened? Most think ‘No’, but a good detective leaves nothing uncovered.

Are the murders anything to do with the missing girl? What’s the link between Chestnut Men and the victims? Are the victims patterned? Who is next? All questions that whizzed through my head leading to the ” just one more chapter” feeling.

The plot was long, but gripping. The characters were individual but forced to come together. The murderer, well I can describe this damaged soul as gory, blood thirsty, clever and original. If that sounds like a serial killer you’d like to meet on these pages, get reading The Chestnut Man.

I had no idea of who the killer was. I had no idea how the book would end, but when it did end after investing all that time into reading it, I was pleased, satisfied and so glad that I took the plunge into this big book.

My lockdown experience definetly included Chestnut Men. 😊

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2020 in Books

 

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Who or What is it? Niegfrid, by Darren Tarditi #BookReview

Who or What is it?  Niegfrid, by Darren Tarditi #BookReview

Thank you to Author Darren Tarditi for gifting me a copy of his first published novella. And many congratulations on self publishing his first book.

This is one of the extremely rare books that I accepted to review without really knowing what it was about. I fancied a novella and Darren contacted me at just the right time.

Description:

A brutal and horrific crime occurs, shaking a town to its core, not least Sergeant Stevie McBride.
Prior to this, Paul Michaelson was a normal lad, going about his life when he suffers an accident. Due to a brain injury he suffered during this accident, he lands in a coma for many months.
When he awakens his life has been turned upside down, with the sudden departure of his girlfriend whilst he was still in the coma and feelings of rage and injustice that he cannot clear.
As his recovery progresses, he starts hearing a persistent voice in his head. He has no idea that not only is the voice real, but that it belongs to an incredibly powerful creature who has ravaged and desecrated its own world for millennia.
Now Earth is its next target and Paul its vessel.
Slowly but surely, it twists and manipulates Paul into performing a series of horrific deeds.
With all this going on it catches the nose of Sergeant Stevie McBride. As times passes, he starts to realise something is not right, but he can’t quite put his finger on it.
As the creature and Paul ramp up their agenda, Stevie scrambles from one clue to the next, hoping to catch a killer, and unknown to him, stop something so much worse…

My Thoughts:

This is not my usual kind of read. I went in blind and hoped for the best. Sometimes this is a refreshing way to go into a book as a bookblogger where there are no expectations.

I was very pleasantly surprised that within the first few pages I found that the book was based not far from where I live in Scotland.

As I read on, I realised that this isn’t your average crime thriller book. There are realms of crime, possible supernatural and gory horror. This book is not for the faint hearted. I’m not a fan of supernatural, but the plot could leave it open to the readers imagination, real or ghostly?

The horror part of the plot was graphic and bloody. I’m used to it with all the crime, murder books I read. But even at that, this was very dark.

The novella is a quick read with a gritty plot and characters that get you thinking. If you are wondering why the title Niegfrid, well who and what Niegfrid is will become apparent as you read on.

I liked the Scottish dialect that was added in. If a book is based in a place then it has to be believable that the Author knows the area and this is true for this novella and Author.

The descriptive work in the novella shows good potential for more books to come from this new Author.

“…….like a virus he was working his way into Paul’s psyche….”

If you like dark books with violent crime and a bit of a weird plot, then this book is worth a download.

As a first novella and self published Darren Tarditi has good potential for more books to come.


Links:

Amazon

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2020 in Books

 

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#MenCanWriteRomance Review: Jack and Jill Went Down Hill. By R J Gould.

#MenCanWriteRomance Review: Jack and Jill Went Down Hill. By R J Gould.

Thank you to Author R J Goulds for contacting me with this book. It was a nice change to read amongst my crime books.

I often look at Goodreads before starting a book, especially if it’s been waiting on my shelf for a while and I have forgotten what it was about. I was a little frustrated when I did this for this book as one of the reviews I read was far too detailed for my liking. I will keep my reviews always about my thoughts in the book rather than relay the plot / story. 😠

Anyway, after reading Jack and Jill Went Down Hill, these are my thoughts, with no spoilers attached. 😊👍

Description:

Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their university years. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work, Jack in the City and Jill as a teacher.

Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot – Jack falls down and Jill comes tumbling after.

Their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?

Publisher: Lume Books (11 July 2019)

My Thoughts:

When I decided to download this book, I was expecting a bit of a ride back to my uni days and city life. Fun times for me and it was fun times for Jack and Jill who meet each other on the very first night at university.

I did enjoy reminiscing about those days while Jack and Jill did their time there. The Author got the right mix of other types of students, the atmosphere and the mind frame of two very different students. Jack’s Uni plans were not the same as Jill’s. But both were relatable.

It’s no spoiler to say the book follows Jack and Jill’s relationship and lives.

The Author has brilliant way of writing people. I really liked Jill. She would be the type of girl I would like to know. Jack not so much, he had his good sides and his quirky sides. As the pages turned the characters developed together and separately.

As I said the story follows Jack and Jill’s relationship and lives. But we also meet their parents, friends, other family and this allows us to get further insight into why Jack and Jill are the way they are.

The plot is not predictable. It’s easy reading and fun. When books are so centred on characters, it’s important for the reader to be invested in them, and I was. I wanted to see where they ended up. I was rooting for them.

As I said it’s not predictable so you will have to read it to see where they end up.

Light, easy reading, relatable and the characterisation is fantastic. I recommend Jack and Jill Went Down Hill.


Links:

Amazon.co.uk

www.rjgould.info

 
9 Comments

Posted by on May 17, 2020 in Books

 

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Book Review: The Mysterious Writing Group by Susan Willis

The lovely Author Susan Willis has released another fabulous short story. I have to admit after reading many of her short stories ( All of which you can find reviewed on my blog), The Mysterious Writing Group is my favourite so far.

I downloaded when it was available to download for free. So thank you Susan for this freebie little coffee break read.

Description

Christine has joined her four friends from a writing group at a murder-mystery weekend in a manor house. Although they enjoy each other’s company in their writing sessions, Christine wonders how the dynamics of the group will work over three days? They have been studying the golden age detectives and she is huge fan of Sherlock Holmes.
To even out numbers Christine pairs up with a newcomer, a Welshman, called Owen who she immediately likes when he offers to be her sidekick, Doctor Watson. While using their powers of deduction they discover some mysterious happenings, which makes Christine wonder if everyone is who they say they are?

My Thoughts:

The Mysterious Writing Group is a perfect coffee break read. Like I have said with all of my reviews for Susan Willis’ short stories, they are a great little escapism read when you have a little time to yourself.

I liked this story because it’s all things bookish. The characters are from a writing group where they meet to discuss their work. The main character Christine begins within the first few pages talking about well known authors who write crime books. And to top it all off they go to a murder mystery weekend. It is a booklovers perfect set up.

The writing flows, the characters are relatable, and the story has a full rounded plot within its shorter styled book.

I have to say as well, I was not expecting it to end as it did……..

A cracker of a read and my favourite short story by Susan Willis so far. I’m readily waiting for the next one. 😊


Links:
susanwillis.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter – @SusanWillis69

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 10, 2020 in Books, Uncategorized

 

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The Currently Reading Book Tag. #Booklover

The Currently Reading Book Tag. #Booklover

I have found myself with more free time to read at the moment, and although it started off with a slight lack of concentration, I’m really enjoying my books again. So this is the perfect tag for me at this time.

I saw this tag on Meggy’s site and thought it was a fun tag to do. I haven’t done one in ages. You can read Meggy’s answers HERE!

The Currently Reading Book Tag was created by Charly Reynhorse.

How many books do you usually read at once?

I usually have 2 books on the go. One in paperback and one on my kindle.  But they have to be completely different stories and usually different genres.

 

If you’re reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch to reading the other book (do you read a certain amount of pages in each?)

I read my paperback when I have more time to sit and relax with my book.
I read or listen to my kindle when I have less concentration and when I’m doing other things, like ironing, driving, chopping veg etc.

Do you ever switch bookmarks while you’re part way through a book?

Not usually part way through a book, but usually after I finish a book. Part of the joy of choosing a new book also includes choosing a new bookmark.  Here are some of my favourite bookmarks.

Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?

My paperback is usually on my bedside table, unless I’m reading it in which case it’s in my hands. 😁. My kindle doesn’t have a “place”. That could be found anywhere from my bedside table to sofa to in my bag.

This is what I’m reading at the moment.

What time of day do you spend the most time reading?

This varies depending on what’s going on in my life at the time. During this lock time period, I’ve been reading a little in the morning with a cuppa when I wake. A little as an afternoon break and then sometimes in the evening.  When life becomes more ” normal ” again though, this will change.

How long do you typically read for in one go?

Again depends on what’s going on at the time. At the moment this can range from 5 minutes to 2 hours. I guess a usual time would be about half an hour before I take a break to make another cuppa or do something else.

Do you read hard covers with the dust jacket on or off?

Always on! I know some people like to keep them in perfect condition, but my books are most enjoyed when reading them. So always jackets on so I can keep looking back at the cover if I choose to. The cover always relays more of the story the more you read of a book.

Which position do you mainly use to read?

Either sitting up in bed or on the comfy chair in my living room. I used to be able to read lying down in bed…… now my reading glasses don’t allow that!

Do you take the book you’re currently reading with you everywhere you go?

No. I don’t take my book to work with me as I don’t have any free time to read it there. If I’m going to most other places then usually yes. This could be either my kindle or a paperback. 

How often do you update your progress in the book you’re currently reading on Goodreads?

Only when I start it and when I finish it. Although I often forget to do this and have a catch up process of what I’ve read and am reading. 

If you have done or fancy doing this tag, link your post in the comments below so I can read your answers too. If you don’t fancy doing the whole post, just let me know an answers or two in the comments. I’d love to hear your reading habits too.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 3, 2020 in Books, Tags, Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: Degrees of Guilt, by H S Chandler.

Book Review: Degrees of Guilt, by H S Chandler.

Thank you very much to the Author H S Chandler, the publisher Trapeze and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Degrees of Guilt. I am a sucker for most legal thrillers and was excited to read Degrees of Guilt. Also it has been recommended highly by other brilliant book bloggers, in particular Meggy where you can find her brilliant review HERE!

Description:

When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.
She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.
Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.
She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.
You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.
You will be wrong.

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Published May 16th 2019 by Trapeze


My Thoughts:

Degrees of Guilt is my first book by this author but certainly not my last.

At first I contemplated Maria’s plea of not guilty, but admittance to killing her husband! As the trial went on and we hear from both lawyers and the behind the court room door private discussions between the jurors, I wondered what if my fate lay in the minds of regular people, some I found so single minded and some so selfish. And then after having been part of a jury myself recently, the lawyers themselves! They can twist the evidence they have using clever words and phrases. I didn’t know until the jury decided themselves which way Maria’s fate lay.

How unfair it seemed sometimes, but this is our legal system and whether it’s down to clever lawyers or manipulative jurors, there are 12 people, 2 lawyers, a judge and whatever witnesses ( if any) to decide whether someone is innocent or guilty.

The author did an amazing job of portraying the courtroom, the jurors room and the characters. I felt like I was in the courtroom watching and then anonymously and quietly in the jurors room watching.

The main juror that the author focuses on is Lottie who has problems of her own. Although I felt for Lottie in her own marital situation, I didn’t agree with a lot of her decisions. She is a great character to get to know and her strength of character developed throughout the book.

This book drew me into Maria’s world, Lottie’s world and allowed me to consider what would I have done in Maria’s world and what would I have done if I were on that jury.

A thought provoking fabulous courtroom drama with a twist of thriller and domestic noir. Just grippingly fantastic.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Twitter/@HSCinkpen

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 26, 2020 in Books

 

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Book Review: Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke.

Book Review: Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke.

Thank you very much to Author Amanda Brooke and Publishers Harper Collins for my copy of Don’t Turn Around.

Description:

She died.
You’re next.
Now he’s coming for you
Ten years ago, Jen’s cousin Meg killed herself after failing to escape an abusive relationship.Now, Meg’s ex is back and Jen’s domestic abuse helpline has started getting frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg – details that only the dead girl or the man who hurt her could have known…
As Jen starts to uncover the past, someone is determined to stop her. Can she save this young woman from Meg’s fate? Or is history about to repeat itself?

Published by Harper Collins January 2019.

Potential Trigger Warnings:

Contains details of suicide, death of a child and grief.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read by Author Amanda Brooke. I was intrigued by both the cover and the description.

The story is told from.the perspective of Ruth ( Meg’s Mum) and Jen ( Meg’s cousin and best friend).

Meg committed suicide ten years ago. Since then understandably the family have not gotten over her death and the way it happened. They believe that she was abused by her boyfriend Lewis but with no proof, nothing could be done.

In attempt to help others and themselves Ruth and Jen set up a helpline to try to help other people who feel they may be in vulnerable relationships.

The book is a domestic thriller, which kept me intrigued and attached the whole way through. The Author did a great job of describing how I imagine the grief would feel like for Meg’s family. Everyone deals with grief differently and this was shown by the people who knew Meg.

I read the second half of the book a lot faster than the first half as I had more inklings of what may happen as the pages turned at this point.

Don’t Turn Around is very well written. In the acknowledgements at the back the author thanks Alder Grief Centre for their help and support, which sounds like an amazing and such a supportive group of people. There should be many more of these types of helplines.

Although the plotlines and trigger warnings imply this is a difficult book to read, it is a suspense thriller which got me gripped and rooting for Jen and Ruth to find a life that they could be content with. Whether or not this happens you will need to read to find out. But things are not as they first seem. And that is what makes a good thriller and a good author for me.

Highly recommended book. And as I now know there are many more books written by Amanda Brooke.

If you have read this or any other book by Amanda Brooke, feel free to recommend your favourites.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Twitter/@AmandaBrookeAB

www.amanda-brooke.com

Facebook

 
Comments Off on Book Review: Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke.

Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Books

 

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Social media’s positives and negatives! Book Review: Megan’s Mistake by Susan Willis. #ShortStory

Social media’s positives and negatives! Book Review: Megan’s Mistake by Susan Willis. #ShortStory

I have read a good few short stories by Author Susan Willis. So when a new one came out, I was quick to download it.

Short stories make good coffee break reads and I like to have a few on my kindle for when I want a quick but full story.

Description:

With a group of friends Megan is heading off to Glastonbury. She has a ticket to see Kylie and is beside herself with excitement. Her friends are all commenting online, and she posts a photograph of her ticket. To her cost, Megan faces the perils of social media and realises the big mistake she’s made.
Can her friends rally around to help?

My Thoughts:

This was a nice quick read that I enjoyed while waiting for my dinner to cook.

Although described as a cosy crime read, it also had a very modern fiction feel. The dangers of social media were very obvious much to Megan’s dismay.

I liked the completely modern and relatable feel to this short story. Despite it being short, I got a good feel for Megan’s character and her relationship with her sister.

The crime part of the plot was good as we heard from the criminals point of view too.

I really enjoyed this short read as I have with all the other short stories I have read from.author Susan Willis. So much so, I have just downloaded another of her books.

This short story and 10 Short Reads is available to download from Amazon HERE!

Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads

Twitter/@SusanWillis69

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2019 in Books

 

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Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery (Whipped and Sipped Mysteries Book 1) by G. P. Gottlieb

Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery (Whipped and Sipped Mysteries Book 1) by G. P. Gottlieb

Thank you to Author G.P. Gottlieb for my copy of Battered , A Whipped and Sipped mystery. I was happy to read and review this book after the Author contacted me with a recipe for chocolate sauce! Tempt me with chocolate and I will agree to many things 😉

Description:

Alene Baron is the proud owner of Whipped and Sipped, a café that offers healthful, delectable food and drinks. Her life consists of dreaming up new recipes, raising her three children, and arguing with her ex-husband–until her neighbor and close friend is murdered. She imagines nearly everyone she knows as a possible suspect. After a second attack, Alene is determined to find the true killer … before she, or her family, become targets.

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Published August 6th 2019 by D. X. Varos, Ltd

My Thoughts:

I was attracted to this book because it seemed like a cosy mystery filled with foodie talk. I was right in that it is a cosy mystery and the food chat is deliciously tantalizing

Alene runs the Whipped and Sipped cafe. She has a lot of friends, family and colleagues. When one of her friends is murdered, she is shocked and wants to find out who the killer is. Then when someone else is hurt, Alene gets worried. Who is this dangerous person around her friends, family and much loved cafe.

Along the chapters, we read about lots of comforting foods that Alene makes. Her recipes sound so delicious and most of them are healthy too. These kind of tasty morsels make me enjoy books even more so.

I did find that there were a bit too many characters to keep track of at first. There is a list of all the characters and who they are at the beginning of the book. While this would be very helpful in a paperback, it wasn’t much use in my ebook.

Alene is a great character and she is described so well and fully the the reader gets a real sense of who she is as a mother, friend, employer and person.

Despite being an easy reading cosy mystery, I didn’t guess who the murderer was . There were a lot of red herrings to keep us guessing and keep the plot alive.

“Battered ” is a cosy mystery that made me hungry and led me to really visualize the Whipped and Sipped cafe. I enjoyed the foodie chat within the cafe and Alene’s home actually more so than the mystery.

I would recommend Battered to readers who enjoy cosy mysteries and good foodie books. There is also a list of recipes included at the back of the book which Alene has made within the story. I particularly enjoyed the spiced nuts.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

www.gpgottlieb.com


About the author:
Already known for her imaginative baking and fabulous dinners, G.P. Gottlieb began writing throughout her varied career. After recovering from breast cancer, she turned to writing in earnest, melding her two loves, nourishment for mind and body in recipe-laced murder mysteries. She is also the host of New Books in Literature, a podcast of the New Books Network.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 23, 2019 in Books

 

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