book review · family · there's a dog · women's fiction

Book Review – Seven Perfect Things

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

You just know this is going to be good!

A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.

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My Review

Can you guess where this is going? I mean, it has not one dog but seven delightful, cute as a button puppies in it – which makes it a must-read in my eyes.

4 paws from me!

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our pets are as much part of the family as their human counterparts, and as this story shows, the dogs are a great deal better behaved! The blurb tells us from the start that the puppies have been dumped in a sack in the river (can I get a boo hiss for the hoomans that did this!!!), so we have to be prepared for a tale of survival, a battle against the odds and a whole lot of love, bemusement and shenanigans to follow.

So, to the story …

After rescuing seven puppies from the river, refusing to leave them at the pound where their future is more than uncertain, and knowing her father will not allow her to take them home, Abby traipses up to a unoccupied cabin nearby to care for them. Buying food and water for them with what little money she has, Abby is determined her puppies will survive. She rushes out of the house each morning to check on them, and again after school, keeping them secret from her dad, although she did tell her mum about them … just maybe not all the facts.

Since school is about to break for summer, she reckons she can spend more time with them while looking for new homes to take them in (she does this with the best of intentions not realising how much she has already grown to love the puppers).

For a couple of days, she copes – helped by some money from her mum (who has guessed from the paw prints on her clothes and her late hours that Abby still has the dogs somewhere). Abby and her mother live in fear of upsetting her father, which makes her mum all the more determined to let Abby have her secret knowing that she is of an age where being responsible for something other than herself will be a valuable lesson.

But, then the owner of the cabin arrives …

Recently widowed, Elliot arrives at his cabin for some alone time, only to find the cabin has been broken into and much of his stuff stolen( not by Abby, I hasten to add). Added to that, when checking out his generator – no longer there – in the shed, he finds Abby’s puppies and a pile of smelly newspaper.

When he takes the same trip as Abby to the pound, the staff member recognises the pups and is sorry to see them again. Elliot cannot leave them to their fate, so he returns to his cabin to find a distressed Abby looking for her dogs. And so begins their relationship which, while it has a rocky start, soon becomes focused on the puppies’ wellbeing. If anything, Abby’s presence stops Elliot from sinking into depression, and instead he is cheered by the antics of the playful seven.

But it can’t go on like that. Elliot will have to leave his cabin eventually, and Abby needs to find homes for the dogs. However, by then the two are firm friends and come up with a plan to look after the puppies which just so happens to also take into consideration Abby’s home life and her mother’s unhappy marriage.

The struggle is real and their plan falls apart early on when Abby’s father decides he’s in charge of his family and “takes” them away. With no way of contacting Elliot, it seems Abby may never see her puppies or Elliot again.

An emotionally-charged story that will keep you reading through to the end to see how things work out.

As always,

art · blog tour · book launch · book review · Italy · romance · there's a dog

Publication Day Push ‘n’ Book Review – Second Chances in Chianti

Second Chances in Chianti

Alice thought her future was set in stone, until her past came knocking…

Alice Butler starred in a successful US sitcom until tensions in the cast and crew caused the show to be cancelled. Now, five years later and working towards her dream job in art history, she’s called back for a revival of the show. It can only end in disaster, surely?

Flown to a villa in Chianti to meet with the rest of the cast, Alice must decide where her future lies – with her boyfriend, David, who laps up the Hollywood company, or with the mysterious Matt, who shies away from public attention?

Purchase Link – mybook.to/SecondChancesChianti

Author Bio

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/tawilliamsbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks/

My Review

T.A. Williams has gifted us with what we all want right now – escapism. And where better to transport us than to Tuscany, where he adds in an extra bit of glam in the form of Hollywood actors and directors, on top of the beautiful scenery, a stunning villa, gorgeous food, an art-related mystery and the inevitable romance. And, of course, there’s a dog in it – so just about everything I could want from a story.

Did I wish I’d been in Alice’s shoes during that sunny July? You betcha: That said, I was more than happy to tag along with her as she explored Tuscany and found out what she really wanted from her life, too. This was not an angst-filled novel, but more a gentle realisation that some things happen for a reason.

Beautifully written, with enticing descriptions of the Tuscan scenery, plenty of humour, a fascinating mystery, believable characters and Guinness, the Labrador, this proved to be a relaxing read that I didn’t want to put down. Definitely not the last book I’ll read by this author.

‘Cin, cin!’ 😉

 

As always,

blog tour · book review · Contemporary Romance · family · romantic comedy · sisters · summer reading · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Summer at my Sister’s

Summer at my Sister’s

 

Twin sisters. One scorching summer.

A bucketful of secrets.

Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much.

Diana has a rich and successful husband, two talented youngsters and an adorable dog. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.

Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends and often looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge.

Although Josie loves Diana deeply, each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.

But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she also hiding something? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance.

Purchase Link – mybook.to/SummeratmySisters


Author Bio

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

My Review

This is not my first book by Emily Harvale and it certainly won’t be my last, particularly this series set in the gorgeous coastal village of Seahorse Harbour. Aptly named, the holiday resort is more than a beautiful location, it’s a place with a heart, where conservation of the seahorses matters to everyone who lives there. Already, you know these are people whose stories will be heartwarming and engaging.

Seahorse Harbour is a place that evokes different memories for the twin sisters. Diana now spends all her summers there with her family, but Josie hasn’t returned since she was seventeen. Heading back from her carefree-singleton lifestyle New York to the place that has bittersweet memories for her, Josie is hesitant but also concerned about her sister – having been alerted that something is wrong by their mother.

Her arrival, however, is wonderfully charming – from the taxi-driver tour guide, to the dashing new host at the local pub. You cannot feel anything but safe and welcome in such a friendly atmosphere. That said, it doesn’t take long for Josie’s wise-cracking humour to come to the fore. While her one-liners are clearly a personal safety net for her, they are also ridiculously funny.

It takes a while for Josie to learn Diana’s secret, and all the while she’s there she is becoming more and more enamoured of the place and its people – some people in particular.

When Diana finally shares, Josie is stunned. All this time she thought Diana had the perfect life. As the secrets unravel, it’s not only Diana who unburdens herself. The family connection here is super strong; Josie loves being around her nephew and niece, and eventually even Henry the dog worms his way into her affections. Throughout, you’ll be wondering whether Josie’s stay is temporary or whether a return to New York is on the cards as Seahorse Harbour gets under her skin again. Can she put aside those teenage memories and settle back in England with her sister and family close by, or is she still the wise-cracking, independent “New Yorker” at heart who can only thrive in a big city? You’ll have to grab a copy and find out 😉

There’s a lot going here, but it all hangs together really well. You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer bunch of people. Drama, humour, incessant flirting, and the fabulous Aunt Elsie all make for a superb summer read.

For more news and reviews:

As always,

 

do what makes you happy · family · there's a dog

I digress … cos Rusty has a namesake.

This post has absolutely nothing to do with books or writing; instead it’s a happy outcome to a sad story. 

It’s been eight weeks now since I said goodbye to Rusty, and it still brings me to tears to write this. 

I saw him at a local animal shelter in Dolores (if ever a place was aptly name, then this was it – dolor is Spanish for a pain or an ache, and losing Rusty was one of the biggest heartaches of my life.) He was the last of six corgi-cross pups who’d been abandoned on a building site. I’d had a corgi before; in fact, my first dog was a corgi when I was ten years old. 

Rusty had been named Arturo by the shelter but was not yet responding to it. He was around 4 months old and came running to me the instant I passed by. No other dog stood a chance. He’d chosen me and the rest is history. 

When my mum had a stroke and got dementia, Rusty was my rock. Taking him for a walk each day was my salvation from those nightmare months when Mum forgot who I was and grew angry with me for not letting her “go home”. He was the sponge who soaked up all my tears when I cried myself to sleep, and he was the only one who could make me laugh in those dark days. 

One time, after Mum had died, we were out on a walk and he dragged me across the road towards an elderly lady who had gone to the shops in her slippers. She had the same hairstyle as Mum, and he insisted on following her home until she was safe. 

Anyway, I digress …there are so many stories I could tell and I’m so grateful to have had sixteen wonderful years with him. He was the best big bro to Toby, who even now waits his turn to do anything as if he’s expecting Rusty to come along in front of him. 

Back to the story: a few days after Rusty’s passing, my friend at the Vets called to say there was a new stray at the animal shelter she volunteered at. 

Don’t panic – I haven’t got another dog. Toby and I aren’t ready for that yet. 

My friend had asked the shelter manager to name the stray after Rusty. And she’d agreed 😀 

OMG! How sweet was that? What a tribute to my dearest buddy! 

Days later, Stray Rusty was registered and chipped. It was official. 

Now came the wait for a new home. I wasn’t even tempted, it was too soon but I so wanted Stray Rusty to find his forever home. Apparently, he’d been roaming the streets for weeks and it was a real struggle to catch him. He was a very nervous dog and clearly didn’t trust people. And who could blame him? As we were in the middle of a very strict lockdown, we weren’t allowed to cross regional borders even though it was only ten minutes away. Instead, they sent me photos of him and kept me updated with messages on his progress. 

We all held our breath when a couple visited him and showed great interest. Unfortunately, they thought he was too scared and didn’t think they could cope with him.

Well, their loss is all I can say! Because, a few weeks later, another couple came to see him. They visited him every day and earned his trust. And, finally, they offered him a forever home. After the necessary checks and vaccinations, they took him home. Now he has a huge garden to explore and doting parents to love him for the rest of his life. 

That couple have their own Rusty buddy, and they probably don’t realise how lucky they are.  

For the time being, it’s just Toby and me …and we’re good with that. As a 14yo himself, he’s adapting to being Top Dog slowly, but most of the time he’s doing what he does best … being so damn cute!

As always, 

thanks for reading and give your furry friends an extra hug right now x

book review · NetGalley · suspense · there's a dog · thriller

Book Review – Tell Me My Name

Tell Me My Name

by Erin Ruddy

When a woman is snatched by an obsessed stranger claiming to be her soulmate, the consequences could be deadly in this suspenseful and darkly twisted psychological thriller … unless she can remember his name.

Ellie and Neil Patterson are eager to settle in to some quality time at their new cottage. It’s the first time in ten years they’ve been alone … or are they?

When a friendly encounter with their new neighbour leads to their violent kidnapping, they awake to a living nightmare. Insisting he is Ellie’s soulmate, the stranger gives her three chances to say his name. If she guesses wrong, it’s Neil who will suffer the consequences. This propels Ellie on a desperate trip down memory lane to dredge up the dubious men of her past.

Only after discovering the man’s true identity and sacrificing her own safety to save Neil does Ellie learn the truth — that everything she thought she knew about her husband and their decade-long love story was a lie.
 

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My Review

4/5 stars

This is a fast-paced suspenseful thriller, and a book that I devoured in no time. The story is set just outside Toronto where married couple, Ellie and Neil, have finally bought their dream house. While the children are away at camp, they spend some long-awaited time together. In recent years they have drifted apart a little, and this alone time gives them space to reconnect. 

All is going well until Hamish, their dog, decides to take a little adventure and explore the area. Oblivious to boundaries, Hamish ventures onto their neighbours’ land. Ellie, in hot pursuit, expects the worst, having been told by the sales agent that her neighbours are not the sociable sort. Yet, when a man introduces himself as Jake Palmer, the grieving widower and her next-door neighbour, she is surprised by his warmth and welcoming tone and – inadvertently -invites him round for dinner.

Jake and Neil seem to get on well that evening, and everything is going well. Ellie and Neil rekindle their romance and the future is looking rosy.

Until Jake arrives the next day when Ellie is alone in the house. His tone has changed, and the charming man of yesterday is not so pleasant. In fact, he is insistent and demanding, and intent on kidnapping Ellie by fair means or foul. 

Later, when she finds herself strapped down and groggy, he reveals his real motives. He merely wants her to remember him, asking her to say his name out loud. It seems simple enough, he clearly knows Ellie, but admits to having changed a lot since those days. And he doesn’t mean he’s grown as a person, or changed his ways, but rather that he’s changed his face. Ellie can’t place him, and when he adds more context to the “game”, she realises that by not naming him he will harm her husband. The stakes are high, and Ellie’s thinking time is limited, plying even more pressure on her. 

As she thinks back, trying to identify who he might be, the tension mounts. It’s a page turner as the reader waits to see if she can tell him his name. If she can’t, what will become of Neil? If she can, what will become of her?  

The concept is so exciting and addictive, I just had to keep reading. However, as the story developed, there were quite a few “convenient” recollections that determined the outcome. And, by 75% in, I had gleaned enough from this foreshadowing to see the twist coming. 

Nonetheless, a great read. Definitely an author whose books I’ll seek out again. 

Many thanks to @netgalley and @dundurnpress for this ARC; I’ve reviewed this honestly and of my own free will.

As always, 

blog tour · book review · Contemporary Romance · summer · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Summer of Falling in Love

The Summer of Falling in Love

The thought of having a dog hasn’t crossed Theo Martin’s mind. It’s not that he doesn’t like dogs – he does – but the idea has simply never occurred to him.

It has occurred to his mother though, and when she decides to buy him a puppy because she thinks it will “liven him up a bit”, his life is turned completely upside down and not for the better as far as he’s concerned. But when he discovers that having a cute dog on the end of a lead attracts a great deal of female attention, he soon changes his mind. All kinds of women stop to pet the pup and while they coo over Poppy, they talk to him. A lot. And for Theo, it looks like his love life is taking a very welcome turn for the better.

But what about Josie Wilde, his dog sitter?

Forced to employ someone to walk his dog when he’s in work, he finds himself increasingly attracted to her, but unfortunately Josie’s interest in him appears to be purely professional. As the summer unfolds and he falls head over heels in love with the sweet and vulnerable pup, he finds himself falling for Josie.

For Theo, it’s not so much ‘love me, love my dog’, but more like ‘love my dog, love me, too’. Please…?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Falling-Love-uplifting-feelgood-ebook/dp/B086DXQ52Y

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Falling-Love-uplifting-feelgood-ebook/dp/B086DXQ52Y

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.

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

My Review

Theo is a maths teacher, tired and jaded by the constant demands being placed on him, and seriously wondering if teaching is still for him. With a week to go, he can’t wait for the summer term to end.  When his parents leave him in the lurch with an 11 week-old pup, he’s convinced it’s a joke and they’ll be back any time now to take the sweet little thing from him. But, they don’t return, in fact, they  hot-foot it to Harrogate for a week, leaving Theo with the Cockerpoo, Poppy. When he manages to speak to his mum – now in Harrogate having a jolly old time – he learns the reasoning behind their little joke that isn’t a joke. His mum tells him he’s stuck in a rut and needs to get out more and live life. Poppy is his responsibility now, and having a pup will give him a new purpose, not to mention get him out of the house over the summer holidays.

Theo thinks she’s gone mad, especially as he still has to go to school for one more week. How can he possibly look after a dog, let alone an untrained puppy? He has no option but to find her a new home. But how?

After spending only a few hours with Poppy, he realises he can’t just give her away to anyone. That wouldn’t be fair on her. So, he searches out a company that offers dog-sitting, and hires Josie to look after Poppy until the school term ends, thus giving him time to find her a more suitable home.

Trouble is, Poppy is super cute, and Theo starts to get attached to her. Not just her, though, as he takes quite a shine to Josie too. Could Poppy really be the solution to his mundane life?

If you love dogs, then you’ll love this book. Poppy is adorable, with oodles of fun and energy to keep Theo on his toes. Having a dog opens Theo up to a whole new world. Firstly, there’s all the women stopping him to say hello, and not to mention some less scrupulous dog-nappers, and even some kids in his class who see him out with Poppy and show new interest in school.

This really is an uplifting story, heartwarming and with lashings of the feel-good factor. A sweet, humorous, entertaining read that will tug at your heart strings and make you want a Poppy of your own.
I can’t recommend reading The Summer of Falling in Love enough!

I can’t thank the author enough, coming along with a doggie story at exactly the right time for me. Having just lost my dog after 16 years together, reading had become a bind. I couldn’t focus, read page after page without absorbing a word, until this book. They often say that when you fall off your bike, you need to get straight back on it. Well, this story took me back in time, made me smile, laugh, and cry. It may have mended a teeny piece of my broken heart.

But, enough about me, people go and get this book. You’ll feel better for it, trust me 😉

For more news and reviews:

As always,

blog tour · book review · must-read · mystery · there's a dog · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Where the Snow Bleeds

Where the Snow Bleeds

“You want to know what I’ve learnt after living in Lone Creek all my life? I know the snow bleeds here …”

Former police officer Dean Matheson has been playing it safe since the case that cost him almost everything. But working as a PI doesn’t quite cut it, that is until a British woman walks into his office with a job that Dean can’t resist. 

The woman’s daughter, Hannah Walker, and her friend Jodie have gone missing whilst working at a ski resort in Colorado. It’s clear there’s something sinister about the girls’ disappearance, but then why are the local police department being so unhelpful?

So begins Dean’s journey to Lone Creek on the trail of the missing girls – and he’ll soon find out that in Lone Creek, everyone has something to hide …

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Snow-Bleeds-Wendy-Dranfield-ebook/dp/B07SNFGYV2

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Where-Snow-Bleeds-Wendy-Dranfield-ebook/dp/B07SNFGYV2

Author Bio:

Wendy is a former Coroner’s Assistant turned crime writer who lives in the UK with her husband.

Who Cares If They Die and Where the Snow Bleeds are the first two books in the Dean Matheson series, with more on the way. As well as her crime thriller series, Wendy has written a YA crime novel – The Girl Who Died – and she has several short stories published in UK and US anthologies. She has also been shortlisted and longlisted for various competitions, including the Mslexia Novel Competition.

For behind the scenes gossip and updates on her books (or photos of her cats), follow her on social media!

Website: https://wendydranfield.co.uk/

Twitter: @WendyDranfield

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WendyDranfield1/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7g8miK6akDG2pFqgGeLFAw

My Review

First up, I have to admit to not having read the first book in the series; in fact, I didn’t realise there was one. That said, it did not matter one iota, since the author gave enough backstory on Dean Matheson to follow this storyline without an urgent need to know more. That doesn’t mean, I don’t want to know more though … and I reckon the first book will be winding its way to my kindle any time soon.

Anyway, back to business as I saw it: After a traumatic time in the police force, Dean Matheson cannot give up the need to be on the right side of the law, and so has been working for some time as a PI. Unfortunately, interesting cases are few and far between until a British woman contacts him about her missing daughter who, together with a friend, has gone missing from a ski resort in Lone Creek where they were both working.  With little to no information forthcoming from the police, the mother is desperate for help, especially since learning the police have closed the case. Dean wastes no time in heading to the resort with his faithful four-legged friend, Rocky.

Over at the police station, the cop in charge is only too glad to close the case – it gives him more time for golf! Unfortunately, one of his team is less than impressed with police efforts. Eva Valdez has just lost her policeman husband, killed in the line of duty, and has returned to work only to find few of her colleagues even seem to care. Eva and the cop in charge of the girls’ case do not have the best working relationship; it’s safe to say they despise each other. He thinks Eva is an interfering woman who should mind her own business, she thinks he is a good-for-nothing time-waster and a disgrace to the force. To avoid any further clashes between the two, Eva persuades her boss to let her further investigate the missing girls.

And so it happens that Eva and Dean find themselves in Lone Creek, shortly before a major snow storm hits the town, cutting them off from the rest of the country. Each is unaware of the other’s reasons for being there, and so there conversation is initially restricted to pleasantries in the dining room. It soon becomes evident to them both that they are on the same side, and together they are quick to pick on significant issues with the police investigation. The incoming blizzard only compounds their problems as they begin to join the dots and discover exactly who is behind the girls’ disappearance.

What follows is harsh reality, as secrets are uncovered that indicate evil exists within the resort, and its impact has much closer links to the town and its police force than anyone could have imagined.

I’ll not say any more on the plot, suffice it to say that it was a compelling read, with amazing twists coming at such a rapid pace it was impossible to put down.

Now you know why I will be catching up on the author’s first book, and eagerly awaiting the next.

While there are gory elements to this story that made me squirm, it was Rocky who brought me to tears – not that that’ll surprise anyone #sorrynotsorry LOL

For more news and reviews, you can check out these blogs too.

As always,

PS – my Amazon reviews are posted to the UK and ES sites sites, under the username of meandthemutts 😉

blog tour · book review · British · community · friendship · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Dog-Walking Club (incl. an intl giveaway)

A book starring dogs? Of course, I had to review it!

The Dog-walking Club

by Liz Hinds

Every dog walk brings new drama into the lives of these dogs and their people. A supermarket shelf-stacker, a stay-at-home dad, an elderly widow and a freelance photographer sound an unlikely bunch of friends but they have one thing in common: they all walk their dogs in Beauville Park at roughly the same time each morning.

And that’s enough for Angela, bored organiser without a cause, to get them together to form the Dog-walking Club.For Jock the Scottie, Benji the spaniel, Pixie the boxer, Mitzi the poodle and Bassett the … all sorts, walking each day with their friends is a dream come true. And it changes the lives of widowed Sybil who’s spent a lifetime hiding her secret sorrow, hopeless-with-women Jon who’s wandering almost unwittingly into an affair, freelance photographer Jemma who is at every wedding but her own, and Maggi who is frantically trying to save money to visit her family in Australia.

And for long-suffering Angela a nasty shock turns into a new start in disguise for her and her husband – and their love life.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-walking-Club-Liz-Hinds/dp/1729286054

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dog-walking-Club-Liz-Hinds/dp/1729286054

Author Bio 

I’m a golden-retriever-loving granny, who enjoys walking by the sea or in the woods, who eats too much chocolate and gets over-excited when the Welsh team plays rugby.

Writing-wise, I am an experienced freelance writer – published in The Guardian, Christian Herald and various other magazines and newspapers – with an MA in Creative Writing (Trinity College, University of Wales). My short stories have been published in Cambrensis (the now sadly-defunct short story magazine of Wales) as well as in several anthologies including Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe (Parthian) and Catwomen from Hell (Honno). I am also the author of several non-fiction books published by Hodder & Stoughton, Scripture Union and Kevin Mayhew.

I have self-published two novels, This Time Last Year, and The Dog-walking Club.

I enjoy speaking about my writing to various gatherings and the media, and am an active blogger, facebooker and tweeter.

My everyday blog: www.liz-and-harvey.blogspot.com

My writing blog: http://notanotherwannabewriter.blogspot.com/

Social Media Links –

Facebook @LizHinds99

Twitter @Liz_Hinds99

Pinterest Not Another Wannabe Writer

Giveaway to Win a set of reusable beeswax wraps, three metal straws with a carrying pouch and cleaner, and a face wipe, all in pretty doggy fabric (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

My Review

First up, isn’t that cover simply gorgeous? Let me say, the story is just as sweet. This really is a heartwarming story of the most unlikely friendships formed by a group of individuals who just happened to walk their dogs in the same park at the same time each day.

A truly gentle read that drew me in completely; relating to and caring for these people and their dogs was easy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this story has so much more to offer than you might think. As different as the members of the club are, their common bond – their dogs – holds them together like glue. The friendships formed here span generations and class, yet none of that matters. What is important is that each one of them has a unique story to tell, and a unique dog to go with it.

Angela (originally seen as Lady Muck) and Mitzi the poodle were the founding members. Her affluent lifestyle took an about turn at Christmas, yet the new life she and husband Tony began brought them more riches than they could ever have hoped for.

The story of eighty-something Sybil and her elderly dog, Jock, left a lump in my throat as I read on misty-eyed when the inevitable happened. Although with constant, unquestioning group support, and a knack for making scrumptious cakes, she was never excluded. When she confided a secret past to Jon, little did she expect anything to come of it. She hadn’t reckoned on the group caring, let alone doing something about it. Aww!

Jon, house husband to Tilly and two daughters, is Benji’s human. Bogged down by domesticity, his head was turned at the school gates by a mum picking up her daughter. Looking for friendship, coffee mornings gave Jon something to look forward to, beyond doing the laundry and cooking. Poor Jon did have trouble reading the signs though. Oh dear! Luckily, Jon had others looking out for him when his home life looked threatened.

Maggi was saving all her wages from her job at the supermarket to visit her children in Australia; her dog, Bassett (all sorts of breeds, get it?) kept her company when she had no family close by to turn to. Bassett, known for an adventurous streak, never shied away from following his curiosity, getting into no end of mischief. It was Maggi kindness to a stranger that saw her later friendship with Bernard and his dog, Whisky develop. Their dating was adorable.

And finally, but no means least, there was Jemma and Pixie (the boxer on the cover) Her photography career blossomed with a never-ending demand for dog portraits, all borne from the very lovely idea she and Jon had to help Sybil get over Jock. As a single young woman, Jemma’s love life was a constant cause for concern for her meddling mother. Pixie was the catalyst in solving that situation, albeit leaving his mistress in a deep hole that required an airlift. Despite a broken leg, Jemma’s relationship with her rescuer, Claire was fated, with Pixie’s consent, of course.

All of human and canine life was in this story, along with very realistic funny incidents (speed-dating, Bassett’s adventure in the brambles in particular) and some heartbreaking confessions. But overall, I found here a genuine community of friends, looking out for each other through good times and bad. I’d happily take my two dogs to join this lovely group of people.

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bestseller · blog tour · book review · chick-lit · romantic comedy · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay (incl. a giveaway)

Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay

by Nicola May

The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.
Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.
Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.
With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.

Purchase links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Meet-Cockleberry-Bay-Nicola-May-ebook/dp/B07QXD334Y

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Meet-Cockleberry-Bay-Nicola-May-ebook/dp/B07QXD334Y

About Nicola May

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.
Follow Nicola May
Website – www.nicolamay.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Corner Shop on Cockleberry Bay (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

My Review

4/5 stars

This was a soap opera in story form – a whirlwind of a read covering many topics: birth, death, drunkards, falling off a cliff, a fire, a clairvoyant, a cheating husband – it all happened here … and more!

Rosa and Josh are now married, but his job in London keeps him away from Cockleberry Bay for much of the week, leaving Rosa to run her corner shop. Being apart does Rosa no favours, and her neuroses are offset by drinking far too much and possibly succumbing to the nefarious intentions of lustful Luke (I say possibly because she has no clue what actually happened). This is a step too far for Josh, who had asked her to stay away from Lucas, and he leaves for London while asking Rosa to get her act together.

I haven’t read the first book in the series, but had heard many great things about it. Whether not reading book one had an impact on my impression of the main character, Rosa, I couldn’t say for sure, but having read other reviews it seems it might have done. I’m not a fan of Rosa – I found her needy, whiny and reckless, and ready to blame everything she ever did wrong on someone else, usually her mother. I understand her background, she had a tough upbringing and all that, but so what? She wasn’t the only person alive to have issues, although from her behaviour you’d think she was unique. Meh, as I said – not a fan.

Luckily, there were many more characters that I absolutely did like. I loved Titch, for starters, and Jacob & Raff – in fact, most every other character. This felt like a proper community, a tight-knit group of friends and families who looked out for each other – of course, with the obvious “villains” of the peace over at The Ship – but even Lucas had some redeeming characteristics.

Naturally, I loved Hot – the hero saving the baby, and his shenanigans with Duchess should prove hilarious if there is a further book to come.

This was an easy book to dip in and out of as it felt quite episodic, much like a real TV soap opera but where the visual elements were beautifully defined, the humour was sharp and chuckle-worthy, and the feel-good factor came through in abundance.

Would I go back to Cockleberry Bay? That’s a yes from me. And I might just grab book one to see if I can get a better handle on Rosa 😉

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blog tour · book review · comedy · cosy · detective · fun · mystery · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day

By Chloe Grace

Every dog has his day

They say every dog has his day.

Well, today I’ve certainly had mine.
Hey, I’m Albertus Eagle and it turns out I’m an unwitting pet detective. I haven’t always been such a successful legal beagle, but when I’m confronted with a case that is so personal I can’t ignore it, I discover I have a passion for finding those who don’t want to be found.
Cleo the cat. Well, she came along for the ride too.
So, sure I’ve had my day today, but not in the sense of being past my prime. To the contrary, the fun is just starting. And I am buzzing with a new purpose, mixed with a tiny amount of vindictive elation.
Why?
Because, I’ve not only found myself a new home after the untimely demise of my previous owner, but I’ve also made amends with the cat. It turns out she’s not that bad, really.
On top of that though, and this is what really sends shivers racing all the way down my spine to my paws, is that we’ve fingered a killer.
How?
Because you humans, you underestimate us animals. And while you go about your business ignoring our very existence, the cat and I are listening and taking notes.
This is the first full length novel in the Albertus Eagle detective beagle series of animal cosy mysteries, starring Albertus Eagle, and his two sidekicks, Cleo the cat and Bella Schuhmann, the smart human who actually understands him. In this wonderful full length book packed with humour and satire, we see the world of murder and intrigue set up through the eyes of a loyal dog turned amateur sleuth.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NP9VVXK

UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NP9VVXK

Author Bio

Chloe Grace is the cosy mystery pen name for romantic mystery author, Karen Botha. While she doesn’t understand animals quite as well as Bella in the Albertus Eagle Detective Beagle cosy mysteries, she does chat along to her rescue dog, Shadow, pretty much all day.

And she’s sure that he chats back.

Chloe lives with Shadow and her hubby in a small outpost of London city—funnily enough it’s a little like where Bella and Albie live. As a family they like to go on walks in the local woods and throw a tennis ball until their respective arms ache, which is usually before Shadow shows any hint of exhaustion.

While her first romance novels were inspired by true life events, the Albertus Eagle series are complete imagination – although her conversations with Shadow can’t be ignored.

Social Media Links

SIGN UP FOR MAILING LIST – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/jgeib0362x
VISIT HER WEBSITE – http://www.karenbotha.com/meet-karen/chloe-grace-cozy-mysteries/
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/ChloeGraceMysteries/?modal=admin_todo_tour
INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/karenbothaauthor

My Review

5/5 stars

I’m pretty sure it’s more than obvious, but any book with a dog in it stands a huge chance of pleasing me 😉

Albertus Eagle is a fine Beagle, a perfect specimen, and with a great voice throughout this story. His relationship with Cleo – the cat – is sweet, and funny, and so very natural.

His loyalty to his previous owner is adorable too, as is his growing fondness for Bella who finds them both at the animal sanctuary after the death of their owner, Milly. Taking them home, Bella is in for a shock when it becomes apparent that neither pet is going to accept Milly’s death as having occurred naturally. And so the intrepid duo convince Bella to investigate. I love the idea of Bella, a Dr Doolittle type who can talk to her pets, in fact I’m more than jealous of her abilities.

Together they unravel the mystery behind Milly’s death with many an adventure or escapade in between. It’s a true cosy, but with the viewpoint being all dog which makes for a fun, entertaining, easy to read story. I read this in one sitting, and I blame Albie for that entirely 😉 It is such a fun read, full of mystery and suspense, and some lovely satirical comments from Albie who really can’t believe quite how dumb humans can be. Although, that said, Albie and Cleo might be the stars of the story, but infallible they are not, albeit they do get carried away with infectious enthusiasm.

I look forward to more in this series.

If you need some escapism, this is for you.

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