Monday, 30 October 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Note by Zoe Folbigg

The Note by Zoe Folbigg
Published: 2nd November 2017 (Paperback)
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Pages: 304
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 3/5

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London,
and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably,
that he is The One.
But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to
notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though,
inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note
asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen?
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness
where you least expect it.

The Note is the debut semi-autobiographical novel from magazine journalist Zoé Folbigg and tells the tale of Maya Flowers and what happens when she meets “The One”. Being a hopeless romantic myself the premise of this book is one which intrigued me greatly, but sadly left me a little disappointed.
Maya a daily commuter to London one day sees a new face on her train and is instantly drawn to him and convinces herself that he’s the one, he however seems to have no idea of Maya’s existence, instead spending his commute with his head buried into a book or the Metro paper. After months of agonising over what to do about her huge crush Maya is inspired by friends Nena and Velma to take a chance and see what happens, so she writes a brief note, just three sentences long and hands it to the handsome stranger one day.
The majority of the first half of this book is taken up by the will they / won’t they storyline as Maya struggles with her feelings and tries to invent ways to accidently put herself in the path of “Train Man.” I did struggle with this part of the book as it felt a long time before anything really happened and we had far too much back story of Maya and her fashion advertising job.  I also felt confused at the very beginning of the book as were introduced briefly to some characters which weren’t really necessary to the story. There are also a number of flashbacks to previous events in Maya’s life but again they didn’t seem to add anything to the story.
I didn’t feel a connection to main character Maya or even “Train Man” I think this is due to the lack of emotions portrayed in the book. It has a third person narrative so felt like reading a report of events with plenty of description but no real feelings described. We know exactly what Maya did and where she did it but we never really find out what she felt about everything that happens.
My favourite character in the book was the old lady at Maya’s Spanish class Velma. I loved her vibrant character, her love of life and her devotion to her boys and late husband. I wish she’d featured a bit more in the book as I found her storyline a lot more interesting than what was happening at Maya’s workplace.
I wanted to really love this book as the basic plotline is one which I was excited about, sadly I don’t think this is the most successful novel as I did struggle with the first half of the book. I do however think this would make a brilliant screenplay as it would be a very watchable movie, far better than Sliding Doors which it is similar to in concept.
I’d like to thank the publishers Aria for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Country Set by Fiona Walker

The Country Set by Fiona Walker
Published: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 869
Available in Hardback and on Kindle
Rating: 3/5

Compton Magna sits high in the picturesque hills where the golden Cotswolds meet half-timbered Shakespeare country. At its heart is the stud farm owned by Captain Jocelyn Percy, as fierce as he is unforgiving. Twenty-five years ago, his only child, ravishing Ronnie Ledwell, abandoned husband and children for her lover. She's about to return, and sparks are set to fly.
Amateur sleuth and baker Pip is determined to keep her position as the stud's house-keeper, even if it means stirring things up with her wooden spoon. Glamorous theatre director Kit Donne can't forgive Ronnie for letting down his late wife, less still for reminding him of her. Taciturn stallion man Lester still guards the secret he and Ronnie have shared for three decades. Young horse-loving Carly Turner juggles jobs and her lawless in-laws, unaware that the stud's future might rest in her hands. Sexy Bay Austen usually gets what he wants and now he's after pretty, married Petra Gunn and the Captain's land. Will Ronnie's return thwart his plans?
In a village where passionate love affairs, bitter rivalries and dark secrets delight gossipy horse riders, only one woman has the full set, and she's taking the reins...

The Country Set is the latest novel by Fiona Walker and it sees the return to her infamous setting of Compton Magna. The Compton Magna Stud Farm is the main setting for this story and serves as the base for which much of the plot evolves.

The stud farm’s owner Captain Percy has been found dead stuck on the stairs in his cellar. As his relatives and friends gather for his passing and subsequent funeral the future of the stud farm comes under fire. The Captain has left his beloved but failing stud farm in trust to his grandchildren Alice, Tim and Pax, to be overseen until her death by disappearing daughter Ronnie.

Ronnie’s return to the village after twenty-five years leaves the village gossipers tails wagging and her children reluctant to forgive. But with bizarre allies in nosey parker housekeeper Pip and bored housewife and romance writer Petra can Ronnie save her family and the stud farm.

At 869 pages this is a huge book and one which initially I found  hard to get in to as there are so many characters and sub-plots that I was left  confused as to how everything would pull together. After the first 100 or so pages the story began to gel together and form a cohesive story centred around four of the villagers women, including the returning Ronnie Ledwell.

Ronnie is portrayed by her remaining family members and older villagers as the villain of the story but I found her to be one of the nicer and more agreeable characters in the book. She may have left her family to escape with her lover but it’s obvious from she’s felt trapped in her marriage to stud farm hero Johnny and has felt regret at leaving her children ever since.

Petra is a newer member of the village having only moved to Compton Magna seven years early. She’s balancing bringing up three children almost alone with her writing career, while nurturing her safely married crush on local farmer Bay Austen. With Charlie her husband spending more and more time away from the family home it’s becoming harder for Petra to resists the advances of gorgeous hunky Bay.

Married with three young children ex-army wife Carly is finding life with the Turner family in Compton Bagot hard and longs for the friendship and security of army life. Her only relief from the headstrong Turner’s is her love of animals particularly rescue dog Pricey and stud farm super foal Spirit.

Pip Edwards the Captain’s house-keeper comes across as sweet and slightly aloof but there is more to Pip than she first lets on. She is on a sneaky mission to ensure her position at the stud farm and goes about plotting to ensure Ronnie stays in the village. She’s the village busy-body who spends her time gathering information from the internet and using it to her best advantage.

Apart from Ronnie, Petra and Carly I found this book lacking in likable characters, they all seemed sneaky, overbearing or just down right awful. Even the three main women were not characters I adored, which left me a little disappointed as I loved Tash and Hugo and the gang from Fiona’s previous books French Relations, Well Groomed and Kiss and Tell.

The Country Set is a book which despite Fiona Walker’s humorous writing and satirical one-liners I found to be quite a sad read as death, grieving and long standing vendetta’s feature strongly throughout the book. It’s a book full of family feuding, deep hidden secrets and or course horses. With many plotlines being woven together with the numerous characters it has made a good start to a new series based in Compton Magna. I hope it’s the start of a series anyway as the ending was left very open with not everything being tied up complexly. As a standalone book I found it a struggle in places and feel it could perhaps been a lot shorter, however I did enjoy it and will definitely be picking up Fiona’s next book.
Thank to Head of Zeus for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Country Set.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke

The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke
Published: 15th September 2017
Publisher: HQ Digital
Pages: 384
Available on Kindle 
Rating: 5/5

As if it weren't enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is determined to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job...on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what's not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything in her own before, and she's terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home...or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.

Having never read anything by Victoria Cooke before I wasn’t sure what The Holiday Cruise would be like, but it was great I loved it.
Hannah is struggling after husband of ten years Daniel walks out on her for a younger model. She’s wallowed for six weeks and when she finally returns to work at her beauty salon The Hollywood Hut she finds her staff and customers have gone elsewhere. With nothing left for her in the village and pain in her heart every time she sees Daniel with his new love, Hannah impulsively applies for a job in a cruise ship spa.
When Hannah lands the job she embarks on a journey not just across the world but of self-discovery as for the first time in her life she’s on her own doing exactly what she wants. What she finds on board the ship are new friends, new adventures and a realisation that sometimes it’s okay to let yourself go.
I’ve never been on a cruise myself but it always something I’ve longed to do, through Victoria Cooke’s writing I feel like I’ve had a realistic taster of live at sea. Her descriptions of all the ports seemed so real that I almost felt I’d visited them myself. She described Rome and Venice so well that I’m even more desperate to visit these cities and experience their magic for myself.
Life aboard the ship suits Hannah well and it’s not long before she’s formed firm friendships with many of her fellow crew members. There are some very funny scenes including a fling with a waiter and a night out in Magaluf. One of my favourite parts was Christmas in the Caribbean, which is something I would long to do, for the decorations on board the ship alone, even more so after reading about it.
Hannah also experiences a blossoming romance with one of the guests, something which is strictly out of bounds. She soon realises though that some rules are worth breaking if they lead to happiness.
I loved everything about this book and found it hugely entertaining. I’m really hoping Victoria Cooke is planning a sequel as I’d love to find out what happens to Hannah after her cruise contract ends.
Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Blogtour: Extract and Review How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh

How Not to be a Bride by Portia MacIntosh
Published: 17th October 2017
Publisher: HQ Digital
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5


Definitely, maybe…yes?
Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns out that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…

Chapter One
I don’t know what hits me first: the smell of meatballs or the fist of an impatient child who, having clearly spent too much time in Ikea, is flailing around like a maniac in the hope his embarrassed parents will get a move on and take him to Toys R Us. I wonder, only for a second, whether adopting a similar tactic might work on my boyfriend, except I’ve probably done much worse to embarrass him in the past.
Trips to Ikea are a regular event for us since we bought our house – partly because we just spent most of our money buying a house and this is now our number-one social activity, but mostly because said house is what you’d euphemistically call a ‘fixer upper’. What I call it is a building site, but it was cheap, and my boyfriend, Leo, loves doing DIY, so it’s perfect for him. To be perfectly honest, I’d go as far as to say he loves Ikea too. Why else would we be here, dashing in through the exit door (something that is highly frowned upon, but is undoubtedly the most efficient way to work the place), the day before we’re set to go on holiday? Like, I don’t know what it is, but something about flat pack furniture just makes him come alive – get yourself a man who looks at you the way my boyfriend looks at the instructions for an Ikea coffee table.
‘OK, let’s split up to save some time,’ Leo suggests. I pull a face, because even I know you never leave a man behind in Ikea, especially when you’re going against the tide. Ikea is a signal dead zone so, if we separate, it will be hard to find each other. ‘I’ll get most of the things we need, all you need to do is grab a trolley and get a white SÄVEDAL door, 60x40.’
I feel my face contort with pure confusion.
‘SÄVEDAL,’ he repeats himself. ‘Make a note in your phone.’
‘Leo, I’m not an idiot. That… word you just said… 40x60.’
60x40, Mia,’ he corrects me. ‘Just grab one of the little pencils and write it down.’
‘Yeah, fine, go, go,’ I babble.
I watch Leo disappear into the crowd before turning my attention to the task at hand. I need a seve… seve… dal? I’ll just use one of the little computers dotted around to tell me where they are.
As I walk past the showrooms, I feel like I’m walking down the street, peeping in people’s living-room windows. Couples are sitting on the sofas, chatting like they would in the comfort of their own homes, as they deliberate which lamp to buy. There’s even a couple arguing in one of the dummy rooms, who both shoot me a filthy look for looking inside – the very thing the fake room is here for. In one of the dummy kitchens there’s a kid sitting under a worktop, visibly contemplating whether or not to take a bite out of a plastic apple, like a less bright Sir Isaac Newton. He decides it’s a good idea and raises it to his mouth, but his dad stops him just in time, scooping him up and planting him on his shoulders, six feet in the air where he can’t get in too much trouble.
I patiently wait my turn to use the computer, because Ikea is expert-level busy today. I mean, it’s always busy, but today it is bank holiday busy, and everyone and their spouse and 2.5 kids are here to get their hands on furniture and pieces of Daim cake. The only problem is, by the time my turn comes around, I’ve completely forgotten what I’m looking for. I type S E V, hoping it will suggest something. He said it was a door, right? And we’re shopping for things to build the kitchen. There’s no way he’d send me for an actual door, so it must be for a cupboard or something.
I glance behind me, only to see the queue growing longer, and increasingly more impatient. I try again, typing S A V, but I’m still not getting any hits. Defeated, I give up and try to find a yellow-and-blue-striped employee to help me out.
‘Excuse me,’ I say to a man sitting at a computer. ‘I wonder if you can help me? I’m after a door, for a kitchen, I think.’
‘Sure, what’s the product name?’ he replies helpfully.
‘Sev… sav… something, I don’t know, sorry,’ I reply apologetically.
A few punches of the keyboard and a quick look through their products and the employee knows exactly what I’m after.
‘Yes,’ I reply, a little too excitedly. ‘I need a white one, please.’
‘What size?’ he asks.
Shit. Leo was right, I should have written this down.
‘Erm… So, I think it’s 60x40 or 40x60. So, whichever one of those is a real size.’
‘We actually do both of those sizes, miss,’ the employee points out.
Double shit.
Come on, Mia. You’ve got this. Just think about what numbers he said – he even said them twice.
‘40x60?’ I tell him, although it sounds more like a question than an answer.
‘Are you sure?’ he laughs.
‘Positive,’ I reply.
With an unconvinced laugh, he tells me where to find what I need and, as I walk there, I can’t help but think about how much my life has changed since I moved back to the UK. If you’d told me four years ago, when I was living in the Hollywood Hills, hanging out with movie stars, and playing the dating game to the best of my ability, that I’d be living in Canterbury, in a house that needs a lot of work, spending my days procrastinating and my nights watching Netflix, I would have laughed in your face – and probably threatened to do something drastic to save myself from such a life. Don’t get me wrong. I love Leo so much, and I’m so lucky to have him, but my life has changed so much and I’m really starting to feel it. My day-to-day life has changed, my hobbies have changed – even my looks have changed, which I can’t help but notice, standing here in front of this full-length ISFJORDEN mirror. Gone are the days I’d spend hours at the gym, eating clean and tanning regularly to maintain my toned, LA body, and since I stopped dropping triple digits on my long, blonde locks at a swanky salon, instead going to a cheaper, local place, I’ve had what’s known in the trade as a chemical cut, which basically means they’ve been using such strong peroxide on my hair that it has broken off, leaving me with much shorter locks. As superficial as it sounds, I took such confidence from these things, and now I feel kind of unremarkable by comparison. I don’t look bad, I just don’t look like me.
Finally through the checkout, I spy Leo standing over by the door, finishing up a hotdog. It took me all this time to find one item and here he is, his trolley piled high with things, finishing up his dinner. This is further proof that he’s some kind of Ikea wizard. He just seems to know how to manipulate the place, to bend it to his will, whether he’s modifying furniture or taking the little shortcuts he knows to get from sofas to plates in a matter of minutes.
‘There you are,’ he says as I approach him. ‘I was just about to come looking for you – I half expected to find you curled up in a bed somewhere.’
‘What would you have done then?’ I ask, adopting a more flirtatious tone.
‘Probably napped with you,’ he replies. ‘Maybe.’
I see that little glimmer in his eye that I love so much.
I laugh to myself. Sex in an Ikea bed, in Ikea, is probably Leo’s number-one fantasy. It would probably make his day to find me in one of the fake bedrooms, whispering sweet Swedish nothings into his ear before some post-coital meatballs.
‘OK, we need to go if you’re going to get to Boots before they close,’ Leo says with a clap of his hands.
I absolutely need to get to Boots before they close. It might feel like it’s been a really long time since we had sex, but there’s no time for flirting if I’m going to get the things I need for my trip tomorrow. Plus, we’re not going to have sex in Ikea, are we? Our naughty days are a thing of the past. Well, when you’ve been together for four years you don’t really do wild any more, do you?
‘Here, I got you one,’ Leo says, handing me a hotdog.
‘I’m OK, thanks,’ I reply. ‘I need to watch what I eat.’
‘No, you don’t. You’re as sexy as the day I met you,’ he insists sincerely.
I smile.
‘I’m not really hungry,’ I reply, giving his arm a squeeze.
Leo shrugs his shoulders before eating it himself.
I know it’s easy to put on a little weight when you’re comfortable in a relationship, but my super-sexy boyfriend is just as hot as the day we first met. I suppose being a fireman helps with that. He has to keep fit, and the uniform still lights a fire in my downstairs. I, on the other hand, work from home, so I’m not as active as I used to be. I’m a healthy-ish weight; I’m just nowhere near as toned as I used to be.
Finally at our car, Leo begins loading things into the boot as I plonk myself down in the passenger seat, exhaling deeply, relieved to have survived another trip to Ikea.
‘Erm, Mia,’ Leo calls from behind me.
‘You’ve got the wrong size,’ he tells me.
I massage my temples.
‘Can’t you make it work?’
‘I mean, it would be better to just have the right one. Shall I run back in?’
‘Leo, I need to get to Boots,’ I tell him.
‘I know, I know,’ he calls back. ‘I just really wanted to do some work on the kitchen today. Aren’t you sick of eating microwave food and takeaways?’
‘Well, yeah, but we’re going away tomorrow,’ I reply.
‘To Cornwall,’ he reminds me. ‘Where they have plenty of Boots… I’ll make sure we stop at one on the way to the beach house and you can even give me a list of what you want and I’ll get it… and I’ll buy you some Daim chocolate.’
‘OK, fine, go,’ I tell him. ‘I’ll stay here.’
Leo gives me a kiss on the cheek before dashing off back inside, leaving me sitting in the car. I know he just wants to get the house finished so that we can get on with living a happy life in it. I guess I’m just impatient and growing tired of the constant DIY.
Perhaps the kid with the helicopter arms was on to something. That’s why he’s probably in Toys R Us right now getting whatever toy he wants, and I’m still stuck here, in Ikea purgatory, waiting for a kitchen door.

How Not to be a Bride is the latest novel by Portia MacIntosh and is the third which I have read and loved. The main character is Mia Valentina who first appeared in one of Portia’s previous books Bad Bridesmaid. I’ve haven’t read Bad Bridesmaid so don’t feel it’s necessary to read to fully enjoy How Not to be a Bride, which I did immensely. 
Portia has a real talent for creating relatable female characters who are struggling with everyday issues and Mia has quite a lot going on in her life juggling her career, decorating her new house and trying to build on the relationships within her family. So when on a family holiday Leo proposes Mia is totally thrown. She loves Leo with all her heart and knows he’s the one for her, but after her experiences at her sister’s wedding Mia’s not sure she wants the big white wedding, but she still stays yes.
As doubts kick in Mia tries anything to avoid planning her wedding which including drunken nights out with students, hanging out with rock stars and having cake fights with the wedding planner. How can Mia find a way to tell Leo that she loves him and wants to be with him she’s just not sure she wants to marry him.
Mia might not be the conscious person regarding other people’s feelings and may spend too much time worrying about what clothes to wear but it’s obvious that Leo is the love of her life and she would do anything to make him happy.  I loved her for this as some of their moments together were just down right adorable.
This is a hilarious novel full of Portia’s brilliant one-liners which will have you laughing from the first to the last page as you join Mia in her often mis-judged situations.  It’s a novel full of fun, flirting and family relationships and just a few awkward moments as Mia struggles with her feelings. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up with when you need a pick me up as it’s guaranteed to make you smile.
Thank you so much to Portia MacIntosh, the publishers and Netgalley for this copy to review and thank you to LLR Promotions for inviting me to be part of the blog-tour.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Blog Tour Review: Three Weddings and a Scandel by Wendy Holden

Three Weddings and a Scandal by Wendy Holden
Published: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 382
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

She'll need a triple-barrelled name for the castle one.
She'll need a gallon of glitter for the woodland one.
She'll need a lobster-shaped hat for the Shoreditch one.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist. Instead she's an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping in the fashion cupboard and living on canapés. But she's just got her first big break: infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy exposé.
Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be? Cue disappearing brides, demanding socialites – and a jealous office enemy who will do anything to bring her down...


I’ve been a huge fan of Wendy Holden’s writing for many years I love her comical writing style and her books have never failed to cheer me up, I’m yet to pick one up that I haven’t laughed all the way though. In her latest novel Three Weddings and a Scandal we are introduced to Laura Lake the unlikely heroine of Ms. Holden’s new series.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist just like her dead father, instead she spends her days and nights running around after clients for the Passion for Paris letting agency. For extra money Laura is currently spending her days sat in a pile of rubbish as part of an art installation for up and coming artist Amy Bender. One night Laura meets glossy magazine editor Carinthia Gold, who just happens to offer Laura an internship at her magazine Society. The internship is in London and Laura is reluctant to leave her aging grandmother Mimi alone in Paris but persuaded by wannabe actor and fellow rubbish sitter Casper, Laura heads to London.

London is where Laura’s life is turned upside down, after a string of misfortunate events Laura is left with no money, no phone and nowhere to stay. To make things even worse Laura’s old school enemy Clemency Makepeace just happens to be the Features Editor of Society magazine, leaving Laura in a very awkward position, even more so because she’s started using the fashion cupboard as a place to sleep.

In order to secure a job Laura has to go undercover and write an exposé on the state of society weddings. Laura enters the world of celebrity weddings and endures a missing bride, a celebrity brawl, a royal kiss and a ceremony held in the most bizarre location you could imagine. Can she avoid the disasters all around her and write the story to bag herself a proper job.

This is a fast-paced read with a plotline which at times borders on the surreal. I’d advise don’t take it too seriously and just enjoy the journey like Laura seems to do. Among the madcap celebrities, flaky fashion designers and sneaky work colleagues, Laura is a character who seems to remain relatively sane. She is resilient, resourceful and never seems to be phased by the people around her, determined only to write her story.  I loved how she would call on grandmother Mimi’s pearls of Parisienne  wisdom when in need of inspiration, my particular favourite being “be wary of labels……You are not a billboard. Letters are for the optician’s chart”.

Alongside the characters with quirky names, Irina Pushamoff, Spartacus Tripp and Hudson Grater to name a few, there is a more serious element in the mystery of what happened to Laura’s reporter father Paul Lake. This mystery is not resolved in this book, hopefully we’ll learn more in the next book which I’m really looking forward to reading.

Three Weddings and a Scandal is a book I have thoroughly enjoyed and it has reminded me how I enjoy escaping into her novels. If you are a fan of her unique writing voice then this latest book will not disappoint.

Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for the copy to review and for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I look forward to reading more about Laura lake in the future.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Blog Tour Review: Death in the Stars by Frances Brody

Death in the Stars by Frances Brody
Published: 5th October 2017
Publisher: Piatkus
Pages: 385
Available in Hardback, Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.
During the eclipse, Selina's friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can't help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths - and whether there is a murderer in the company.
When Selina's elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame . . .


Fans of the Kate Shackleton mysteries by Frances Brody will be pleased she is back for her ninth investigation in Death in the Stars. In this novel Kate has been enlisted to accompany theatre star Selina Fellini to view the upcoming eclipse at Giggleswick School Chapel. Selina is worried as two members of her theatre group have met unfortunate endings in the last eighteen months and she fears she might be next, but sadly it is her long-term friend and co-star Billy Moffatt who is found dead in the Chapel grounds. Kate calls on the help of good friends Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden to help her uncover the truths behind Billy’s death and the so called accidents at the theatre.

In Death in the Stars the event of the eclipse and the following day take up the first half of the book where we learn more about Selina Fellini and the company she keeps. Selina seems to lead a very glamourous life and always seems to have someone to accompany her to various events, which sadly for Billy Moffatt doesn’t end well. She also has her life kept in order by manger Trotter Brockett and personal assistant Beryl Cooper and estranged husband Jarrod never seems to be far away.

I loved the glimpses we are given to theatre life in the 1920s and all the different variety acts which were so popular at the time. I would love to have seen Jake and his miniature pony perform. I also loved the edition of Harriet, Kate’s niece who brings youthful excitement to the team as she is willing to help investigate too.

I love that these novel are very gentle and more mysteries than crime novels, no gory scenes here. I love the though precise way in which Kate carries out her investigations and find many similarities to the famous “Miss Marple ” by Agatha Christie. With many characters falling under the suspicions of Kate and her team there are many twists and turns before the murder is finally revealed, this made for a very enjoyable read.

Kate and her team are characters which are growing on me and I’m looking forward to see where their next investigation takes them. Thank you so much to Piatkus for this review copy and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour