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#Project365 2023 week 5

Day 28: starting the work for Zach’s Beavers cooking badge with some jam tarts

Day 29: and more baking as Anya has to make some bread for her homework

Day 30: Monday night vibes

Day 31:obviously this should say chips or crisps for me

Day 32: new month so new toenail colour

Day 33: heart shaped meal

Day 34: I promise I didn’t intend this to look like a voodoo doll! I had to make a dolly peg doll example for our Victoran museum at school next week. This is why I should not be allowed to be creative!

 

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A Date To Die For, by E.V. Hunter

A Date To Die For book cover
Alexi is newly single and unemployed so she heads for her friends’ hotel Hopwood Hall in the countryside. They are concerned about another friend who has disappeared. Alexi’s journalist instinct kicks in and she is convinced that there is something sinister behind Natalie’s disappearance. She joins forces with ex cop Jack who is also looking for Natatlie…
A Date To Die For is the first book in a new cosy murder mystery series set in London and the south of England.
We as readers are instantly drawn to Alexi as she adjusts to drastic changes in her personal life and career. She is accompanied by the wonderful Cosmo, a fearsome and magnificent cat who is a brilliant judge of character. She meets Jack who is also hugely likable and there is a romantic tension between the pair so I’m hoping for more in future books.
The case itself surrounds a missing woman. Natalie has vanished and Jack’s sister runs the dating agency that she had joined. He quickly investigates the dates and discovers huge secrets from Natalie’s past could actually be responsible for her disappearance. There are some big plot twists and I wasn’t able to unravel the mystery before our investigators.
A Date To Die For is an enjoyable cosy murder mystery. It sets up the main characters well so I am looking forward to reading more from this series.

A Date To Die For blog tour banner

A Date To Die For
The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.
An unlikely duo…
When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.
A missing woman…
But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.
A case to solve!
So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.
Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!
A Date To Die For banner
Perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Frances Evesham and Emma Davies.
Purchase Link –  https://amzn.to/3UF1kYy
Author Bio –
Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers and cozy crime for BoldwoodFor the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.
Social Media Links –
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wendy.soliman.author
Twitter https://twitter.com/Wendyswriter
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/wendy_soliman/
Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/EvieHunter
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/evie-hunter-572c1816-05f2-47c2-9c13-6d10a229670b

Chaos On The Island, by Stewart Giles

Chaos On The Island book cover

Bomb explosions, armed robberies, and finally murder. Four men dressed as the Beatles are destroying the calm on the island of Guernsey and DI Liam O’Reilly is desperately hunting for the killers.
Chaos On The Island is the 9th book in the O’Reilly series. It is not necessary to have read the previous books but I would recommend them all as this is one of my favourites series!
Once again, Liam is thrown into a dramatic and thrilling case. Four robbers dressed as the Beatles escalate their crimes until they include murder. The police investigation is in chaos as they struggle to cope with the number of crimes and the danger faced by the public.
There are lots of twists and red herrings as chaos develops. I felt that the deaths were quite shocking and unexpected, really emphasising the chaos theme of the book. As with his earlier books, the author uses dialogue to drive the plot forwards and immerse us in the crimes and investigation. Beatles fans will also enjoy trying to find the song titles dotted throughout the plot.
Liam has some personal issues in this book, including his daughter wanting to move out, his girlfriend is ill and his cat has found a friend. There is a careful balance of humour, fear and sadness which gives a strong emotional link between the characters and the reader.
Chaos On The Island is another excellent book in this wonderful series.
Chaos On The Island blog tour banner
CHAOS ON THE ISLAND (Detective Liam O’Reilly book 9)
If there’s one thing Detective Liam O’Reilly hates, it’s bombs.
The Irishman transferred to the peaceful island of Guernsey to escape that kind of thing.
So, when random explosions start taking the people on the island by surprise, O’Reilly wonders if moving to Guernsey was such a good idea.
It soon becomes clear that the bombs are a smokescreen for something else. Something more sinister is going on, and when a gang of masked men enter the equation, O’Reilly realises this has nothing to do with blowing things up.
A team of armed men, dubbed the Fab Four Robbers by the press, soon capture the hearts of the people of Guernsey, and chaos hits the island.
O’Reilly is facing the worst dilemma of his career.
Many residents of the island are championing these thugs.
This new breed of criminals disguised as John, Paul, George and Ringo are about to educate O’Reilly in the fine art of chaos.

Stewart Giles – Author Bio
After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live.
In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later.
3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results.  I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.
After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brought together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.
The Miranda trilogy is something totally different. A psychological thriller trilogy. It is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before.
The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow. I also have another series featuring an Irish detective who relocated to Guernsey, the Detective Liam O’Reilly series. There are also 3 stand alone novels.
Website: www.stewartgiles.com
Twitter: @stewartgiles
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stewart.giles.33

 


Trying to beat the winter blues

Hurrah we are finally in February! It seems ages since Christmas and I’m a little bit tired of the cold weather. Bring on spring!

We haven’t had any snow to break up the cold. The magic of a white landscape goes a long way to clear the winter blues!
Of course, playing in snow makes you very cold and wet quite quickly so a roaring fire or a cosy blanket with a hot chocolate are needed!

Get outside! Yes, it is cold but kids usually don’t care 🙂 Layer up and head out into nature, get some sunlight or splash in puddles, skid on ice or admire the frost.
Exercise, even if it is just a walk. I don’t go running if it is less than 10 degrees (I usually wait until March) but most days I achieve my daily steps.
Eat well. Winter is a great time for comfort food and soups but keep an eye on the calories if you have reduced your physical activity due to the cold.

Keep your mind active. Read, write, draw, do puzzles, chat, cook, find a hobby, meet with friends.
This post is a light hearted look at feeling a bit low during winter. SAD is a medical condition that should be taken seriously. The ideas above are not intended to dismiss the severity of the condition or replace medical advice. If you feel particularly blue then contact your pharmacist or GP.


A Village Fete Murder, by Katie Gayle

A Village Fete Murder book cover

Julia’s entry into the village baking competition is overshadowed when she discovers a dead body in the maze! Was the victim killed due to her cake baking or was there a darker motive?
A Village Fete Murder is the third book in the Julia Bird series but it is the first book that I have read so it works as a stand alone novel.
Julia is an older woman who has retired. She has moved to the countryside and has a new romantic interest in the form of Sean. They are ably assisted in their sleuthing by her dog Jake (I always love the inclusion of a canine character!) Meanwhile their efforts are both helpful to the local police yet unwanted as they are against protocol.
This book falls firmly into the cosy murder mystery genre. It has a traditional feel to it due to the setting and characters. There is little violence or forensic detail so the focus is on Julia’s investigation into the motives and opportunities of a range of suspects. My guesses about ‘whodunnit’ were repeatedly changed due to plenty of twists and misdirection as the plot unfolds.
I have read other books by these authors and love the warmth and humour of their writing. Their characters are always very human with flaws and vulnerabilities that endear them to the reader and Julia is no exception. I now need to catch up on the first two books in the series!
A Village Fete Murder is an enjoyable cosy murder mystery.
I have previously reviewed the three books in the Epiphany Bloom series: The Kensington Kidnap, The Museum Murder, and Death at the Gates.

Book Description:
Julia Bird can’t wait to attend the annual village party at the local stately home, with its tea tents, cake stalls, and… dead body in the maze?
The annual village celebration at Berrywick House is underway, complete with over-decorated cake stalls, fiercely contested flower competitions, and even a maze for the disappointed losers to hide in. Julia Bird, now a well-known – even notorious – member of the community, with her trusty Labrador Jake, has thrown herself headlong into the festivities. But her reputation for adding drama to any event stands up yet again when she discovers a dead body in the maze…
It seems Ursula Benjamin, village know-it-all and prickly baking competition participant, has been strangled – and the killer has to be someone at the fete. As Julia grapples with finding yet another murder in Berrywick, she starts to wonder, could one of the competitive cake-bakers have taken the contest to deadly new heights? Or is there something darker in Ursula’s life that led to her untimely demise?
Embroiled once again in a murder enquiry, Julia isn’t about to leave the investigation to the police. Like it or not, she’s involved, and she’s going to help them solve the mystery. But when there’s another death, and it’s clear the murders aren’t isolated incidents, the stakes become even higher. Can Julia figure out the identity of the killer, and prevent any further dastardly deeds, before the wholesome spirit of the village is ruined forever?
If you like utterly gripping English mysteries, then you’ll love A Village Fete Murder. Perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton, Faith Martin and Betty Rowlands.
Author Bio:
Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.
https://www.facebook.com/KatieGayleWriter
https://twitter.com/KatieGayleBooks
Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Katie Gayle here: https://www.bookouture.com/katie-gayle
Buy Link:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B0BD5Y4QSQsocial
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