Saturday, 21 October 2017

P takes us to the fictional village of Pendruggan

A Cornish Gift: Previously published as an eBook collection, now in print for the first time with exclusive Christmas bonus material from Fern by [Britton, Fern]

We're off to a fictional village on our world tour this week; the village of Pendruggan in Cornwall in Fern Britton's 'A Cornish gift'.

Christmas comes to the little village of Pendruggan and Cornwall’s very own Mr Rochester, Piran Ambrose, discovers the true meaning of the festive season when even he can’t resist the village celebrations. Meanwhile, best friends Penny and Helen are embarking on a stolen weekend of blissful indulgence but best laid plans often go awry and the ladies are in for a big surprise. In an idyllic cottage on the Cornish cliffs, the Appleby family and their bearded collie, Molly, are having a holiday to remember. It’s time for a little Cornish escape for all.

This is a lovely collection of stories all centred around the fictional village of Pendruggan in Cornwall. There is quite a bit of back story included so even if you haven't read any of the other books, you can still follow the stories. I loved finding out more about some of the characters from 'The Postcard' as well as some of Penny's colleagues. Piran as a modern day Scrooge is also a great twist. This book is great to dip in and out of yet together provides a satisfying completeness as you realise they are not just random stories but add to the Cornish flavour of the last book.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

O is for ...

Inspired by Algeria, the place where Albert Camus was born, today we're visiting Oran courtesy of 'The Outsider'. I first studied this book for 'A' Level French and decided it was about time I reread it - almost forty years later. I was surprised that although I remembered the main themes and events, I had very little recollection of the build up to the murder. Surprising how selective our memory can be? It is still thought provoking and the mastery of language is wonderful; the descriptions of the hot sun, the beach, the feeling of isolation as Meursault is condemned essentially for not showing emotion. if anything I think the passage of time has made me appreciate the book even more.


Meursault will not pretend. After the death of his mother, everyone is shocked when he shows no sadness. And when he commits a random act of violence in Algiers, society is baffled. Why would this seemingly law-abiding bachelor do such a thing? And why does he show no remorse even when it could save his life? His refusal to satisfy the feelings of others only increases his guilt in the eyes of the law. Soon Meursault discovers that he is being tried not simply for his crime, but for his lack of emotion - a reaction that condemns him for being an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it encapsulates the absurdity of life.

If you are interested in 'The Outsider' then 'The Meursault Investigation'  might also be of interest. It tells the story of the dead Arab's brother and the repercussions of his murder.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Saturday, 14 October 2017

N takes us to Notting Hill

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill: A feel-good, heartwarming Christmas romance by [Baggot, Mandy]

If it's October then it must be time for the first of our Christmas reads. This one by Mandy Baggot takes us to Notting Hill.

Imagine the perfect Christmas Kiss…

His strong arms around her waist, her hands on his face, the snow slowly starts to fall…

It’s enough to make Isla Winters cringe! While her sister can’t get enough of this – increasingly common – sight on the streets of London, Isla’s too busy trying to stop Hannah’s wheelchair from slipping on the ice, and making sure she’s not too late to her dream job at Breekers International. 

But everything changes with the arrival of Chase Bryan, fresh from the New York office. He’s eager to learn everything about Isla’s beloved Notting Hill, but as the nights get colder, will cosying up to him come at a price?

A lovely book to get you in the mood for Christmas. Loved the theme of Hannah seeking her Christmas kiss in Notting Hill and Raj is a brilliant creation. To be honest I found the subplot of their romance more interesting than that of Isla and Chase, which seemed a bit contrived at times. Nevertheless the book will leave you with a nice warm feeling inside even when it's freezing outside. The London Eye ( i-circle) scene is memorable and Chase's two daughters will ring true for anyone with teenagers. Well worth a read.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

M is for the Mediterranean

I can't resist books set in the Mediterranean so this book was an easy choice being set in Paris and of course the South of France.

May 1968 and Paris is hot with rebellion, passion and hope, as protestors clash with the riot police. Brilliant art student Laure stands boldly on the barricades, heady with her new-found defiance, and is swept into romance with Lolo, the fascinating student leader. But youthful rebellion comes at a cost.

Set against the student uprising in Paris in the 1960s this book immerses the reader in another world. No sooner are we immersed n this world than we are transported to a rural idyll in the South of France; an escape from the frenzy of the capital. There are a few surprises on the way but I enjoyed this intelligent summer read. The descriptions of both locations are exquisite and it is easy to empathise with the protagonist.Some nice little touches too such as the father's bakery and the background of the main character's childhood friend.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

L takes us to ...?

Hope to Die: The gripping serial killer thriller for fans of M. J. Arlidge (The DS Nathan Cody series) by [Jackson, David]

On our bookish journey round the world. we're staying close to home this week. "Hope to die', a crime thriller is set in Liverpool with a serial murderer on the loose in the grounds of the cathedral. This is the first book by David Jackson that I've read and I found myself gripped by tension as the body count mounted. I read a lot of crime thrillers though and I'm pleased that even for an avid fan there were still a few surprises.I worked out the red herring but still didn't spot the killer so well done for that. I did find myself wishing I had read the first in the series as there were a lot of references to a previous case which has had repercussions for Cody and affects his relationship with his colleague, an aspect of the book that I particularly enjoyed. Although the ending of the book is neatly resolved regarding the killers, Cody's personal and mental issues are not so it looks like I'm going to have to read the rest in the series to find out what is behind his nightmares. All in all a read that will keep you turning the page, full of emotional suspense, clever without being contrived.

About David Jackson

David  Jackson 

I am the author of a series of crime thrillers featuring Irish-American NYPD Detective Callum Doyle. The first in the series, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Awards. It is published by Pan Macmillan. The follow-ups are The Helper and Marked, and I am hard at work on the fourth in the series. My writing influences include Ed McBain, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben, amongst many others. My favourite quote about my work is one from the Guardian, now carried on the front of my novels: 'Recalls Harlan Coben - though for my money Jackson is the better writer.'



Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

K is for ...?

This time it's back to Greece again - and to the island of Kefalonia. Made famous by Captain Corelli's Mandolin, it is the largest island in the Ionian sea and one that remains on my 'must visit' list. With its beautiful white sandy beaches and rugged scenery, medieval castles and hidden villages, what's not to like? Paul Dillon manages to capture all this and more in his book The magic of the receiver. The description of the catastrophic earthquake is very moving and I liked the way in which the book links the past and the present through the boyhood memories of a man and the eyes of his daughter as she visits the island. Great summer escapism!

Product Details

Set on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, this vivid family saga is lit with memorable characters: a man revisiting the haunting site of a childhood earthquake, and his American-born daughter who faces a decision that could change her life.

Paul Dillon is a British author living in Los Angeles, California. His first novel, THE MAGIC IN THE RECEIVER, was published in July 2012.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Saturday, 6 May 2017

We're off to J

No surprises if you guessed that J on our world tour takes us to Jersey, courtesy of Alison Golden's 'The case of the hidden flame'. This cosy mystery is the second in the series and although I hadn't read the first, it works well as a standalone and being novella length is a quick read. The setting of Jersey and the hotel in particular really add to the book but more could have been made of the location instead of simply using it as a backdrop. The characters have great potential but could have been fleshed out more and the style is quite simple but enjoyable. It is a combination of Agatha Christie and midsummer murders and although it is contemporary there is an older feel to the story. Great if you are looking for an easy summer read. Maybe I'm missing something but I still don't see the relevance of the title to the story but that could just be me.


A new cop. A murdered lover. An eccentric community.  
Detective Inspector David Graham has just arrived on the island of Jersey, taking over a rag tag team of questionable commitment and skill at the Gorey Constabulary, a team that he is supposed to lead and develop into a cohesive investigative unit. 

Within minutes, his first challenge presents itself when ex-soldier, Colonel Graves, finds a dead body on the beach. As the military man kneels down, he discovers it is his soon-to-be fiancĂ© half buried in the sand… 

In a small resort like Gorey, this event is monumental, and almost unheard of. The rumors swirl yet it is the new Detective Inspector’s job, with a bag still packed and travel dust on his shoes, to ferret out the clues and solve the case…while bringing his team along to assist. 

With a Sherlock soul, The Case of the Hidden Flame packs humor and intrigue onto a small island of eccentric characters, roiling sea undercurrents, and deceptive coincidences – all accompanied by a fine cup of tea. 

Alison Golden

Alison Golden was born and raised in Bedfordshire, England. She writes cozy mysteries and suspense novels, along with the occasional witty blog post, all of which are designed to entertain, amuse, and calm. Her approach is to combine creative ideas with excellent writing and edit, edit, edit. 

She is the creator of the Reverend Annabelle Dixon cozy mysteries, a charming, fun series featuring a female vicar ministering in the beautiful county of Cornwall, England. She also produces a Jersey-based detective series featuring Inspector David Graham and the Diana Hunter series, set in Vancouver. 

Her books' themes range from the humorous and sweet to harder hitting suspense. They are recommended for readers who like to relax and unwind with their books, who enjoy getting to know the characters, and who prefer the tougher side of life implied.

She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twin sons. She splits her time traveling between London and San Francisco.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here