blog tour · book review · historical · justice · mashup · Societal change · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Little Brown Dog

One nameless stray. Two fearless young women. A heroic fight for justice. It’s 1903, and Britain is desperate for change, but widespread calls for social and gender reform flounder against entrenched misogyny. 

Navigating this world are best friends Lena Hageby and Eliza Blackwood – two thoroughly modern young women determined to live life on their own terms.  

Rumours abound of barbaric experiments taking place within London’s medical schools, and when the women covertly witness a shockingly brutal procedure performed on a semi-conscious dog, they resolve to take down the perpetrator – renowned physiologist Dr William Bayling.  

In their fight for justice, the women are drawn into an increasingly vicious ‘David and Goliath’ battle with an all-powerful male medical establishment who will stop at nothing to protect the status quo. But how much are the women prepared to risk? Their friendship, their loves, their freedom, even their lives? 

Based on extraordinary true events that shook Edwardian society, Little Brown Dog is a tale simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Although a century has passed, it remains a strikingly modern parable of female bravery in speaking truth to power 

A lyrical, accessible literary novel, which brings to life  a series of intriguing historical events concerning the  curiously intertwined battle for animal rights and  women’s suffrage. 

To be published 115 years to the day after the  unveiling of the controversial, ill-fated memorial to a  small dog in a London park. 

Buy Little Brown Dog at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Buy at Amazon com.

For readers of Lucy Ribchester, Elizabeth MacNeal  and Lissa Evans. 

Market: literary fiction  – ISBN: 9781912905430  – Price: £8.99 

About the author

Paula is something of an accidental novelist. A scientist, with a PhD in climate chemistry, she has spent her career writing, educating, campaigning and fretting about the state of our planet.

Her late foray into fiction was down to a serendipitous encounter with an amateur historian at Battersea Arts Centre. The incredulous, but true, story he told, and the themes it portrays, stole her heart and became an obsession.

Hence Little Brown Dog was conceived. Paula is Welsh born and bred and now lives in London with her partner and a menagerie of rescue animals. 

My Review

little brown dog is a novel with so many layers. What starts as two women meeting over a debate against animal cruelty soon escalates into a campaign against the mistreatment of animals in the name of science. The medical profession claim their actions are humane and that without such experiments then human lives will continue to suffer from a myriad of disease and illness.

It is only when the two heroines of the story disguise themselves as men to see for themselves what happens “under the knife” that the true brutality is exposed. Shocked to their core at what they have witnessed, Lena and Eliza cannot sit back and allow the status quo to continue. So, it is with the support of a renowned and outspoken barrister, Coleridge, they are able to take on the might of the male-dominated perpetrators. Note this is all set when women have finally been allowed to enter medical school yet do not have the right to vote. As suffragists are still campaigning, the voices of women in general are derided and mocked by society, however, the animal cruelty element brings Lena and Eliza much-needed support.

Coleridge does not hold back, he has no fear of the leading doctor against whom the women are making their complaint. Such is his contempt for Dr Bayling, that he out and out accuses him of negligence. A court case beckons and support for the cause intensifies amongst the locals of Battersea.

Without spoiling the story regarding the court case, the ladies also feel compelled to pay tribute to the little brown dog in the hope that no other animal suffers in such a manner again. A beautiful statue is erected, but it is to be a bone of contention; it faces abuse and destruction for years to come.

This is a time of great societal change and, for some, the statue is simply the tip of the iceberg, a monument to something they cannot ignore. The fighting accelerates, to the point that even mild-mannered Eliza finds her patience tested to the ultimate degree.

Political and societal change is at a peak here, and reactions are extreme to the point of violence. Yet little brown dog is a story of friendship, love and betrayal, trust, and consideration for other species as well as other humans. It has so many layers, each one peeled back with a delicate touch that nonetheless packs a punch. Blending history with emotion, fact with fiction, and injustice with justice, little brown dog shows how easy it is for egos to fracture, for tempers to fray and for pain to be inflicted in the name of self-preservation. It’s a heart-warming and heart-breaking story in equal measures, rendered all the sadder for the fact that time and again – even now – those with power still overreach. Nonetheless, it inspires how that change is possible.

I enjoyed reading this – it was hard at times to read due to the nature of the cruelty it seeks to banish, but it had so many points of high emotion, both positive and negative but all so very memorable.

As always,

book blitz · middle-grade · there's a dog

Book Blitz – Dog Park

DogPark copy

How cute is this book! Read on for more info about Dog Park by Kathryn Kazoleas!

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Dog Park

Publication Date: May 30th, 2021

Genre: Middle Grade/ Chapter Book

Gibson the labradoodle is about to begin her first day of training to become a dog park ambassador, something she has been dreaming about her entire life. Dog park ambassadors hold a very high honour within the dog park community and have many important roles to make sure the dog park is a fun and safe place to be. She has so many great ideas and cannot wait to get started.

While Gibson is training alongside lead ambassador and trainer, Meistro the bulldog, things don’t go as planned. Gibson meets challenge after challenge and isn’t allowed to introduce any of her new ideas. Being a dog park ambassador isn’t what she thought it would be so she starts to question whether the role is really for her.

At the end of her very first training shift, and just as she’s about to give up and tell Meistro she isn’t cut out to be a dog park ambassador after all, there’s an emergency at the river. One of the dog park’s new puppies, Clover, has swam too far out and cannot get back to shore. Gibson’s best friend and greatest supporter Stretch the dachshund, convinces her she has to go help. Gibson springs into action, with Stretch at her side and encouraging her the entire time. Gibson saves the day…almost!

Having been swept downstream and far away from the dog park, Gibson is forced to lead the trio back to safety. There’s only one way back and it’s through a dark forest with strange sounds and smells. The sun is starting to go down and everybody is tired and scared. But, Gibson knows she has to get her friends back home, despite what, or who, gets in her way.

Excerpt

Tyler didn’t know it, but today was an important day and one that she had been looking forward to for a very long time. Each week, the regular pack at the dog park delegated a dog park ambassador. It was a job that held a very high honour within the dog park community. Dog park ambassadors were to make sure all the dogs at the park got along, and that all the humans felt welcomed so they would bring their dogs back. As ambassadors, they were to intervene in any disagreements between dogs, explain the rules to the new dogs and puppies, and were to greet the humans to welcome them to the park.

Gibson had been asking to get involved for months now, but the committee always told her they didn’t need any more ambassadors. But finally, her persistence paid off and they agreed to let her start training. Today was her first day.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indigo

About the Author

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Kathryn is from Alberta, Canada where she lives with her dog Koa and her cat Keeva. In her free time, she can be found playing ball with Koa, enjoying the outdoors, reading or writing.

Kathryn Kazoleas | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blitz Organized By:

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blog tour · contemporary fiction · Giveaways · women's fiction

Blog Tour – Where Are We Tomorrow?

wherearewetomorrowBT copy

Welcome to the blog tour for award-winning novel, Where Are We Tomorrow by Tavi Taylor Black! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Where We Are Tomorrow

Publication Date: May 31st, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Alex Evans, a thirty-six year old touring electrician, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she truly wants a family. But to attempt another pregnancy, she’ll have to change both her career and her relationship; her partner Connor, ten years her senior, isn’t prepared to become a father again.

When Alex is implicated in an accident involving the female pop star she works for, she and three other women on tour rent a house together in Tuscany. While the tour regroups, confessions are made, secrets are spilled: the guitar tech conceals a forbidden love, the production assistant’s ambition knows no limits, and the personal assistant battles mental issues.

Through arguments and accidents, combating drug use and religion, the women help each other look back on the choices they’ve made, eventually buoying each other, offering up strength to face tough decisions ahead.

TRIGGER WARNING: MISCARRIAGE/ ADDICTION/ GRIEF

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Inside the concrete arena, programmed lights whirred and spun in rhythm; eleven thousand fans watched, mesmerized, as vibrant magenta and violet beams sliced through midnight black. On stage, the band regurgitated the same set as the night before, and the night before that. They’d performed the set in Mexico City and Guadalajara. As far south as Santiago and Lima. The road crew for Sadie Estrada’s Home Remedy tour knew each dip in volume, each drop in the beat. They knew exactly, down to the second, how much time it required to step outside and suck down a Marlboro. These time-zone travelers planned bathroom breaks by the songs’ measures; no one missed a cue to mute the stage mics, to hand out room-temp bottled water for set breaks, to pull up house lights.

Behind heavy velvet curtains, separated from the frenzied pace of the show, Alex unscrewed the cover of a moving light to expose the core: circuit boards and capacitors, motors connected to color wheels. Deep bass, feedback, and the fevered pitch of collective voices penetrated the curtain, the familiar, almost comforting reverberations of life on the road. Alex continued her diagnosis, removing the light harness as a mother removes a soiled diaper— routinely, with a touch of tenderness. While she located and replaced the broken part, she kept an ear to the music, alert to the final measure of the set, ready to repack her multi-wheeled toolbox, move on to the next city, set up again.

Alex ran the light through all its functions, testing and retesting once she’d replaced the gobo wheel. The body of the light panned and tilted, working fine. A small victory.

“Sure you know what you’re doing, little lady?” Alex turned at the familiar voice of the tour’s production manager.

“Funny,” she said. “Very original. For that, you get to help me put it away.” Alex waited for another barb, one about her not being able to lift the seventy pounds by herself, but Joe simply helped her flip and crate the unit, a harder task for him at 5’2” than it was for Alex, a good five inches taller.

The arena crackled in anticipation of the show’s climax. Thousands of voices swelled and surged, a unified congregation. The body of the moving light settled into the carved Styrofoam, and Alex tucked its tail inside the handle. As she slammed the case shut, Joe’s laminate got caught inside the box, and he was jerked down by the lanyard around his neck. He freed the latches and yanked it clear, smoothing the wrinkles from the photo of his two young children, a wallet-sized clipping he’d taped behind his backstage pass. Joe caught Alex eyeing the photo.

“When are you gonna give in and pop out a few yourself?” Joe asked.

Alex breathed slowly, letting a brief sadness settle into her body, though her face wore a practiced, blank expression. She gestured into the smothering dark, into the roar of the crowd and sweat-filled air. “And give up all this?”

Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | B&N

About the Author

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Tavi Black lives on an island near Seattle where she designs sets for the ballet, works as the tour manager for a musical mantra group, and has founded an anti-domestic violence non-profit organization. Before earning an MFA from Lesley University, Tavi spent 14 years touring with rock bands. Several of Tavi’s short stories have been shortlisted for prizes, including Aesthetica Magazine’s Competition, and the Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose.

Tavi Taylor Black | Instagram | Kirkus Reviews | Indie Reader

Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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Featured Author - Phyllis Entis · Mystery Authors International · series · The Damien Dickens Mysteries · thriller

Guest Post: Phyllis Entis

I’m often blogging and writing reviews about books and authors I’ve never connected with in real life, but not today. Phyllis is a good friend and fellow mystery author, and I’m thrilled to say she’s just released the sixth book in The Damien Dickens Mystery series … and it’s a corker, heading more into the thriller category than her past books.

So, let’s hear it for

THE SILVER STAR CAPER

Genres: Mystery/Husband-and-wife private investigators/Woman Sleuth/Thriller

Check out the blurb and tell me you’re not hooked!

Damien and Millie take on their most dangerous assignment yet.

After a string of arson fires drives migrant farm workers from their homes and threatens Millie’s daughter-in-law, Damien agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the white-supremacist, neo-Nazi militia responsible for the fires and unmask the identity of their leader.

Millie covers his absence by spreading the news that they have separated, while he travels back to Atlantic City. When Damien reappears in California, it’s in the guise of a former cop with neo-Nazi sympathies.

Left alone to run their detective agency while maintaining a brave front, Millie dives into an investigation of a friend of the new mayor of Carmel-by-the Sea, a local resident she suspects of being a Nazi war criminal in hiding.

The action is non-stop as Damien and Millie risk their lives to eradicate the spectre of violence and racism from their community.

You need more?

Then the prologue will have you one-clicking for sure.

Thursday, March 20, 1986

We were seated on the patio of the Hog’s Breath Inn, the downtown Carmel restaurant owned by Clint Eastwood. The place was packed with a lunchtime mix of tourists and locals, most of them talking about the upcoming municipal elections and the likelihood that Clint would be the town’s next mayor. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a couple of friendly waves, but I ignored them, focusing my attention instead on Millie, who was slowly crumbling a sourdough roll into pieces small enough to feed to the birds.

The last few weeks had been hard on her as we engaged in an ever-rising tide of public displays of discord. Our friends had started asking what was wrong. Had wondered out loud whether our marriage was on the rocks. Today, they would have their answer.

This morning, it was Millie’s turn to pick the fight. She did so in my office, her accusations about my excessive drinking loud enough to carry through the walls to the dental offices next door. I followed through by giving my wastebasket a noisy kick, sending its contents flying, and punctuated my angry retorts by slamming my fist into the wall so hard that the plaster cracked. Millie retreated into her own office, slamming the door with such force that Hershey, our 60-pound labradoodle, took shelter under the reception counter.

A few seconds later, she emerged from her office, a grim smile on her face. “That should about do it, especially since Malvina was scheduled for a dental check-up this morning. Let’s go to lunch and get this over with.”

Now, you want the buy links, don’t you? 😉

Amazon Buy link: mybook.to/TSSC

Amazon Buy link for Damien Dickens Mystery series: mybook.to/DDMSERIES

Author Bio:

Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper, The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper, The Gold Dragon Caper, The Blue Moon Caper, and The Silver Star Caper. She was the recipient of the 2019 Top Female Author award (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller).

Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In December 2020, she released TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, an exposé of the shortcomings of the food manufacturing and foodservice industry sectors on which we all rely to supply us with safe food.

Phyllis lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, baking bagels and pastries, or enjoying her garden.

A message from the author:

Writing fiction is a very intense experience, at least for me. Once a story starts to develop inside my brain, I feel as though I am simply a reporter, taking dictation from the main characters.

In December 2019, I bade a temporary farewell to Damien and Millie Dickens and shooed them out of my head while undertaking a non-fiction project.

The dynamic detective duo started clamoring to return late last fall, and have been with me ever since.

The first draft of this novel wrote itself in only four months—an extremely fast pace for me. There were nights when Damien and Millie entered my dreams, and days when the emotional content of the plot was so overwhelming that I had to stop and open a fresh box of Kleenex tissues. At times, I was afraid of shorting out my keyboard!

Although set in the mid-1980s, The Silver Star Caper embraces themes that are relevant today: racism, domestic terrorists, white supremacy militias, and neo-Nazi movements. Although fiction, the story is grounded in history.

I’ll be sharing pieces of that history from time to time on my blog. I hope you’ll drop by and read the stories behind the story.

Website and blog: phyllisentis.wordpress.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PromptProse

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DamienDickensMysteries/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/PhyllisEntis

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/phyllis-entis-1697a849/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Entis/e/B001JRZM1K/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1750852.Phyllis_Entis

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/phyllis-entis


As always,

book review · NetGalley · romantic comedy

Book Review – Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions

‘A big-hearted treat of a read’ – Catherine Walsh, author of One Night Only

Love may be blind, but to find it she’ll have to open her eyes…

In January, Rachel Ryan’s New Year’s Resolutions are fairly predictable. Exercise more, put money into savings before spaffing it all on clothes, remember ridiculous rule that potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day…

Before long, though, the year ahead of her is very much not going to plan. When the creative agency Rachel works for is taken over, one of the new suits in the office is very familiar. And very handsome. Surely it can’t be… Jack Harper. The man she has spent years trying to forget. Not only is Rachel now working with him, she has regular sightings of the gorgeous woman Jack cheated on her with – who happens to be plastered to the side of every London bus.

Thank goodness for Tom, who is always there to listen (and pour wine). But when work stirs up her most painful memories, her best friend makes a major announcement and Jack dials up the charm, Rachel starts to question everything.

As life throws her a world of crazy, will Rachel have to make some very different resolutions?

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Ruth Jones.

What Readers are saying about Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions:
‘Funny, sweet and heartwarming. It was the perfect romcom’ Mrsandmother

‘This has been my favourite romantic comedy of the year!’ – Karla_Bookishlife

‘A fun adventure, with great characters and some deeper issues’ – Netgalley Reviewer

‘This book is SO good. It’s officially made my favourites list’ – Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase link

My Review

Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions is one of those stories that simply resonates with its readers. How many of us have made similar resolutions, only to abandon them within a few days (or even hours)? Rachel tries – not always very hard, especially when it comes to exercising (and who can blame her?) – to stick to them, and as the story progresses the list expands slightly to take into account the difficulties she has in sticking to some of them.

But it is when Jack Harper comes back into her life that her struggles really begin. He broke her heart at university, and it seems she hasn’t really got over it. Trouble is, he knows it, and goes out of his way to inject himself back into her life, under a thinly veiled disguise of “I’ve changed”. (He hasn’t!)

Rachel, however, has a few weapons up her sleeve (ones that she doesn’t quite appreciate nor even realise are there yet, but she will) in the form of her best friend and flatmate, Anna, and her very good friend of four years, Tom.

At times, I was screaming in my head at Rachel: Listen to Anna! Don’t go there! Only for my warnings to go unheeded. By which time, damage limitation was needed. But, as most of us know, sometimes we have to make our own mistakes to learn from them. But, I’ll be honest, it did look as though Rachel and her blinkers were not ready to be parted!

Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions is a rom-com with a difference; as expected, it’s funny (laugh-out-loud chortling funny) and there’s romance (you just have to wait for it), but it’s also quite poignant in the way Rachel’s barriers are broken down so that she really can see what we, as readers, have known all along. No spoilers, but it’s quite refreshing to see how those layers are stripped away. I’ll admit, it brought a tear to my eye since I can empathise with the reasoning behind those barriers.

Structurally, I was a little distracted when the story switched without warning to another character’s POV, a character who I hadn’t really expected to mean so much, but who eventually became pivotal to the story. That aside, I loved the “realness” of the banter, the humour between friends, the office rivalries and jealousies, and the sheer awfulness of some of Rachel’s clients (Humphrey knows who he is 😉 )

A thoroughly enjoyable read. I’ll be sure to look out for more from this author. This is hilarious fun in word format, but so very visual and all-consuming.

My thanks to the author, Embla books (publisher) and Netgalley for my copy.

As always,

Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

blog tour · book review · suspense · tense

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Carrying Clover

Carrying Clover

Newly single Camille Robins’ luck is about to change as she embarks on a new chapter of her life, moving to the city near her best friend, Lizzie.

At a chance meeting at Lou’s B&B, Camille meets George, a handsome man who sweeps her off her feet.

Can Lizzie forgive Camille for stealing her previous boyfriend, or will she seek revenge?

Camille can’t believe her luck! George can’t believe how perfect she is….

Was it a fate romance, or part of an evil plan?

A fresh new twist on a psychological thriller, fast-paced, clever, and thought provoking that will make you question who is the lucky one.

Luck, love, deceit, and heartbreak will keep you turning the page. And a breathtaking twist you won’t see coming, will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09BZZHNHH

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BZZHNHH

Author Bio

Lorey Durston is an author of thriller and suspense novels. 

CARRYING CLOVER is her debut novel.

She is currently working on her next suspense novel to be released late 2021.

Social Media Links – Twitter @loreydurston

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lorey-Durston-Author-101764481996748

Instagram: loreydurstonauthor 

My Review

This was an enjoyable read for the most part, well-paced and suspenseful. There are three main characters, of which Camille and Lizzie are “related” in that they grew up with the same foster family. And while Camille sees Lizzie as her best friend and sister, the same cannot be said for Lizzie. She bears a hefty dose of resentment towards Camille, initially stemming from jealousy from when they grew up together – Lizzie saw Camille as the favourite child who always got what she wanted. That resentment is further inflamed when we learn that Camille “stole” Lizzie’s boyfriend, although seeing as he turned out to be an abusive partner, you might think she’d have been glad to see the back of him.

Fast forward to present day and Camille has escaped that abusive relationship and is looking to start over. She’s bought a new flat (from inheritance money – and another reason for Lizzie to be jealous) and will be working for Lizzie in her Bristol café. Camille is going into this full of hope and optimism. Her positivity proves to be remarkably naive.

As the flat is not ready to move into, Camille books into a B&B for 2 days. This is where she befriends the owner, Lou, and another resident, George – the third of the main characters. Once again, her positive nature sees no issue with the speed in which George goes from fellow resident at the breakfast table to sending her flowers and gifts when she moves into her own place and starts work.

The story is told mainly from Camille’s point-of-view, interspersed with short chapters that give an insight in what’s really going on in George’s mind – and there is a lot of bitterness and ill-will in his thoughts. He clearly sees Camille as gullible, as the perfect prey for his plan, though we are never sure of his plans until the very end. What we do discover is that there is an accomplished liar behind all that charm.

Lizzie’s viewpoint is also explored in similarly short chapters, long enough to reveal her contempt towards her sister-friend. I did wonder what Lizzie’s motive was in offering Camille a job if she really didn’t like her that much. At least George seemed to have a plan – to control Camille – but the reasoning behind Lizzie’s action was less clear. Nonetheless, both George and Lizzie have personality issues in that they can be so nice, welcoming, and thoughtful to Camille to her face, yet in reality both of them vilified Camille in their thoughts. It was quite disturbing to see how they managed such strong emotions. Such is the strength of the story in that the tension is high, and it keeps you guessing as to how it will end, especially as Camille comes across as so needy. There are times when she does question things, but those are fleeting, and she is too easily manipulated to see what’s going on until it’s too late.

The ending is surprising, but – it might just be me – I didn’t quite get why George needed to use other women in the way that he did given the “other” relationships in his life. I have to assume there were fertility issues elsewhere, though it was never confirmed as such (try writing that without creating a spoiler alert).

Whilst Carrying Clover has an exciting plot with oodles of suspense, the writing itself would have benefitted from another round of editing (unless I unknowingly received an uncorrected proof) Nonetheless, an enjoyable read … and I do love that cover.

For more news and reviews:

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts


family · Publication Day · romantic comedy · series

Publication Day Push – The Ticklemore Tavern

The Ticklemore Tavern

Violet makes her own gin.

Logan Cassidy sells it in his pub, The Ticklemore Tavern.

It should have been a match made in heaven, especially since the pair of them fancy the socks off each other, and they are both young, free and single.

Except…

Logan’s mum, Marie, doesn’t think Violet is good enough for her son. No woman is, or ever will be. And when she becomes ill, Logan is torn between looking after his mum or following his heart.

However, neither Logan, nor Marie, has taken the sheer force of nature that is Violet into account. What Violet wants, Violet gets.

Usually…

But maybe not this time, eh?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

US – https://www.amazon.com/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

Author Bio

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Website: https://lizdaviesauthor.wixsite.com/home

Social Media Links

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

My Review

Oh my! Where have I been? How did I miss the previous books in the Ticklemore series? I LOVED The Ticklemore Tavern! So much. Fortunately it’s easily read as a stand-alone. That said, I shall look forward to checking out the other books in the series.

So, what exactly is so wonderful about The Ticklemore Tavern? By that, I mean the story, not the pub – which sounds amazing too. Well, putting aside the glorious gin concoctions that Violet makes, the story is one that hooks you like a soap opera. Both Violet and Logan are such likeable characters, and from the moment they meet, it’s impossible not to root for them. They have great chemistry that is infectious … until Logan’s mum, Marie, gets involved.

I understand (a wee, tiny bit) that she is worried about losing Logan, and that she feels no woman would ever be good enough for him, but when those headaches start, it’s blatantly obvious what she’s up to. And, Logan, bless him, won’t have a bad word said about his mum, and consequently the tell-tale signs go way over his head.

Thank Heavens for Hattie – who I know now to be the stalwart of Ticklemore’s residents – the mender of broken hearts, the fixer of all things wrong, and, unfortunately for Marie, the seer of fake illnesses. It doesn’t bear thinking what might have happened to Logan and Violet had this wise octogenarian not done what she does best and stepped into the fray between the loved-up couple and Marie.

The Ticklemore Tavern is a sweet, heart-warming story that really pulls you in. It’s a happy, feel-good read with plenty of inner turmoil and conflict to keep you turning the pages. And those Gin flavours – please tell me they are real!

I hope there’s more to come from Ticklemore, but in the meantime I’ll busy myself catching up with the author’s back catalogue.

Highly recommended for those seeking some respite from everyday issues. Grab a copy, a cup of tea (or gin!) and put your feet up in Ticklemore.

As always,

Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

book review · dual timeline · historical fiction · romance · WWII

Book Review – The Secret Notebook

A page-turning, emotional WW2 novel for fans of Barbara Taylor Bradford, Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes

A view to the past…

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

Readers are loving The Secret Notebook:

I loved this book from beginning to end! I couldn’t put it down’ Laureen

A truly lovely, sweet and romantic story…A gorgeous, relaxing read’ Jenn

‘An excellent and heart-warming read filled with love, secrets, betrayals, and growth’ Etta

‘Made me feel very nostalgic for the place I grew up in’ Ruth

‘A great read that should be at the top of your summer book list’ Meredith

‘A beautiful story, I loved every word!’ Laura

Purchase Link

My Review

The Secret Notebook tells two love stories that despite parallel themes are separated over time. Following the death of her writer husband, Rufus, Izzie has returned to her Nan’s former home in Blackpool with whom she had a very close relationship. As she sets about doing the place up so she can sell it, she finds her nan’s notebook hidden away in her old attic bedroom. Nan Molly’s notebook is filled to the rafters with diary entries, letters, photos and a zillion other memories written during the war years and telling her love story with Jack.

Molly’s story tells of her first encounter with her eventual husband and his twin brother when they are billeted to stay at her step-mother’s B&B. From dancing to falling in love, mistaken identities to getting pregnant, her nan’s story is full of love and hope, but it’s not without sadness and drama.

As Izzie reads this, she has met up with her own first love, the man she always thought rejected her, Justin. It becomes clear the two still have feelings for each other – can they overcome the misunderstandings that affected their lives as her nan did with those in hers?

It slightly amused me that when Izzie read about her nan stepping out with Joe, she presumed him to be her grandfather – the man she’d grown up with – as opposed to his twin brother, Jack (cue the misunderstanding that changed Nan’s life for the better) Maybe it’s just me, but as an adult, I knew my grandfather’s name; Izzie didn’t seem to.

Overall, the storyline is a tad predictable, but it is sweet and heart-warming and an easy read with some great insights into the war years and life in a Blackpool B&B back then. A quick read and most enjoyable as the two stories intersect.

My thanks to #NetGalley #HarperCollinsUK #OneMoreChapter and the author #JuliaWild for my copy of #TheSecretNotebook in exchange for an honest review.

As always,

Amazon Reviewer Name
Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts


crime · police procedural · series

Book Review – Broken Girls

Brambles catch her dress, scratch her legs, pierce her feet. To escape, she’d had no option but to go barefoot. They’d been laughing together a few minutes before, but things can change in the blink of an eye…

The woman is dark-haired and young, judging by the short red dress. Any other signs of her identity have been erased during her long wait to be found, but it’s clear she was strangled: this was a passionate and personal murder.

D.I. Bernadette Noel knows that every second counts if she is to catch this killer, but she has no leads – until the discovery that the dead woman’s rings match a stolen property report, and the rings’ owner mentions Rosa, her missing nanny.

Just when Bernie and her team think they’re getting somewhere, a shocking discovery about Rosa – and the news that another young girl has been abducted – changes everything the team thought they knew about the case.

Laura is only twelve, and her parents are beside themselves with worry – but Bernie has an additional fear. Laura’s home is right next to the woods where their murder victim was found: are the cases connected?

When Bernie notices similarities between descriptions of the man last seen with Rosa and someone Laura was messaging online, these fears grow stronger. But they still have no clear leads as to the identity of the culprit.

With few options left, and time running out, she makes a desperate plan to trap the predator. But any mistakes will mean another innocent life lost…

A gripping crime thriller with a nail-biting climax. If you like Angela Marsons, Val McDermid or Cara Hunter, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Readers can’t get enough of Joy Kluver:

Wow!! Just wow!!… This book is brilliant! More than brilliant, amazing!!!… Absolutely gripping, addictive and captivating… I was absolutely hooked from the first page to the last. I had a complete shock at the twists… Love, love, loved all the characters!!!… I would love to see this made into a movie.’ Bookworm86 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read it in a few greedy gulps…It gets a very easy five stars from me… gave me goosebumps as I was reading it… If you haven’t yet started this series, then you really need toTop stuff!’ Hooked From Page One ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

More red herrings than an Agatha Christie will have you burning the midnight oil… When the killer was identified my jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t have been more shocked if the perpetrator had been Bernie herself.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

That ending! Talk about a twist you won’t see coming!… This is such an addictive series… I don’t know how I’m going to make it until the next one comes out!’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Impossible to put down. I downloaded it this Monday morning, and by evening, I had finished. The rollercoaster was intense, the twists and turns unexpected, and the element of surprise insane… gripping read.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Twisted, intense and heartbreaking… Once you start this book you just can’t put it down! Out of all the books that I have read this year none of them shocked me as much. There was one twist that I literally was yelling and screaming at the character!!!’ Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I am blown away by this book, the twists and turns are mind-boggling!… BRILLIANT… If I could I would give it more than 5 stars.’ Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brilliant… had me eagerly turning the pages as I not only wanted to know more about the crime but also about the investigating team… I adored this… A story that takes a dark turn, has several surprises and kept me on my toes.’ Vonnibee ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase link

My Review

The author’s first book, Last Seen, left me with great expectations for book 2, and boy did she exceed them. I read this in two sessions, not wanting to put it down. Doesn’t happen often!

Broken Girls is one of those police procedurals in which you get a in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the investigation team, and Bernie Noel’s team is one you can have absolute faith that they’ll solve the crime in spite of all the obstacles thrown at them. They have tenacity as well as personality.

Broken Girls begins with the gruesome finding of a young woman’s body, her face unidentifiable and extracting DNA impossible. Even when they finally get a whiff of her identify, things go all kinds of crazy leaving them virtually back at square one. But Bernie is nothing if not determined; she will get justice for the victim. Once again she is aided again by her fabulous team, including the very welcome return of DS Doug Anderson and they turn over ever stone despite the intrusion of her boss DCI Worth, aptly nicknamed Worthless – a selfish, petty man who feigns interest if only to protect himself and his forthcoming retirement.

Out of work, Bernie’s private life has its ups and downs and the atmosphere between her and Doug Anderson brings its own extra zing to their working relationship. The book’s ending – once the case is closed – is sure to stir things up deliciously for book 3.

Joy Kluver is an author I’ll be following from now on, and if you enjoy excellent crime dramas, then be sure to get this series.

As always,


book review · thriller & crime

Book Review – Mummy’s Little Secret

So, who is Daisy Kilbride?

Four little words can ruin a life.

When Jess meets five-year-old Daisy and her mum, Morag, in a local London park, they seem a perfectly happy and loving pair. Until Daisy whispers four little words that send ice seeping down Jess’s spine…

She’s not my mum.

Determined to save Daisy, Jess becomes obsessed with unearthing Morag’s secrets. As she digs ever deeper, her friends and family start to question her own increasingly paranoid behaviour…

Four little words can end a life.

But Jess knows what she heard and she’s certain the fear in Daisy’s eyes was real. Of course she isn’t imagining things… Or is she?

Mummy’s Little Secret is a nerve-shredding new psychological thriller from the author of The Missing Children Case Files – perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and C.L. Taylor.

Purchase Link

My Review

Mummy’s Little Secret is a story that raises a lot of questions as you race through the pages. From page one, you’ll wonder why Daisy would whisper those words She’s not my mum to a strange lady in the park (Jess). You’ll wonder why Jess then takes it all so seriously, especially after the little girl’s mother, Morag, approaches too and tries to be friendly, going so far as to suggest Jess’s daughter Grace might enjoy a play-date with Daisy before school starts for both of them.

Then the story switches from Jess’s viewpoint to Morag’s, and you’ll wonder why Morag is so sensitive about Jess’s reaction to them in the park. And if you’re not convinced by then, the remaining chapters told in alternating viewpoints will have you hooked as they lay the foundations in a before – now – after set of scenarios.

In the before chapters, you’ll see Jess and Morag wallow in uncertainty and paranoia, constantly questioning the other woman’s actions, words and motives. Each woman carries a plethora of issues that have taken their toll on how they live their lives currently, not to mention their mental state. Jess lost a child and was left wheelchair-bound after an epidural during the birth hit a nerve. She’s struggling to cope with losing her child, her mobility, her job and her very essence. Morag has had to move frequently to keep her family safe, the why comes later, but she is clearly afraid of being found and is wary of everyone, but especially Jess. At times, the paranoia on the part of both women is off the scale, maybe even to the point of being beyond belief, however the explosive twist at the end more than makes up for it.

In the now chapters, you’ll see Detective Mike Ferry investigate a bloody murder. Here both women seem to be involved, one covered in blood at the scene of the crime, the other reporting a crime. So, who’s the victim here? There may be more than one.

In the after chapters, you see the impact of that murder on Jess and Morag’s lives. Will they be able to move forward, or does a life in prison await?

Mummy’s Little Secret is a pacy read, and you won’t want to stop until all those questions are answered. The plot builds to a tense ending, as suspicions escalate and the path to the truth is convoluted.

Thanks to the author, M.A. Hunter, to the publishers at HarperCollins, U.K. & One More Chapter, and to NetGalley for my copy of this thrilling read.

As always,

Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts