My very own website!!! Yikes!

The Case of the Missing Bride, by Carmen Radtke

In the 1860s a group of 22 young women set sail from Australia destined for new lives and husbands in Canada. They are initially hidden below deck to protect their virtue from the all-male crew and even the captain but are eventually discovered. One woman disappears and the doctor on board begins to investigate with the help of Alyssa Chambers, one of the other women on the boat.
As a history graduate, I loved the historical setting but I’ll be honest and say I have no idea if Australian women really did set off for new lives.
The character of Alyssa is really strong and tenacious in a world where women were expected to be meek and submissive. The antagonistic relationship she develops with Doctor Bryson which is realistic and interesting, furthers the plot as well as explores their characters.
The first half of the book sets the scene and introduces all of the charcaters. There were clues in the form of a sinister perspective and journal entries so we know something bad is on its way. I was surprised to see I’d already read half of the book before the girl went missing.
I had no idea who was responsible, although I do admit to being a little confused with the different levels and roles of the men on the ship (saloon passengers, engine crew, ship crew).
Overall, this was a solid introduction to a new lead character in the form of Alyssa, although I hope she continues her friendship with the doctor, and the mystery of the disappearance was a good way to introduce her and explore her personality.
I have heard there is a sequel so watch this space…


The Case of the Missing Bride blurb
It was supposed to be the start of a happy, new life …
1862 – a group of young Australian women set sail for matrimony in Canada. Their presence is withheld from the male passengers and all but a select few members of the crew. But their worlds collide when one of the gentlemen stumbles over the women.
When one of the intended brides goes missing, only Alyssa Chalmers, the one educated, wealthy woman in the group, is convinced the disappearance is no accident. She sets out to find out what happened.
Has there been a murder?
Alyssa is willing to move heaven and earth to find out the truth. She is about to discover that there is more to her voyage into the unknown than she bargained for …



Carmen Radtke has spent most of her life with ink on her fingers and a dangerously high pile of books and newspapers by her side.
She has worked as a newspaper reporter on two continents and always dreamt of becoming a novelist and screenwriter.
When she found herself crouched under her dining table, typing away on a novel between two earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, she realised she was hooked for life.
“The Case of the Missing Bride” is a former Malice Domestic finalist, inspired by a true event. Its heroine Alyssa Chalmers will soon return in “Glittering Death”.
When Carmen is not writing, reading or dreaming of travel, she is busy acting as resident cat servant.
She’s currently working on her first contemporary crime novel.
Follow Carmen on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/carmen-radtke
Or on Twitter: @carmenradtke1
Her website (very much a work in progress) is carmenradtke.com

Glittering Death, by Carmen Radtke


Safely on dry land after an eventful sea voyage, murder included (see my review of The Case of the Missing Bride), Alyssa Chalmers must negotiate the new direction her life is taking. The group of brides head towards their new potential husbands and Matron weds her onboard love.
Rosie made her decision on board and runs off with her lover only to be abandoned days later. She follows the group to the town and secures a job at the inn but soon the publican is found dead and she is their prime suspect.
Alyssa feels sorry for Rosie despite the antagonism she has experienced during their voyage together. Can she find the true killer and keep Rosie safe?
Alyssa’s relationship with Mr Kendrick and Dr Bryson continues to take centre stage throughout the story. I won’t give away the ending but she does choose between them…
This book seems surpringly modern despite the setting in 1862. Alyssa is very self-aware of her own limitations in society based solely on her gender. Stereotypes of the time are explored and rejected with characters seen in the modern context as individuals rather than a consequence of their social status.
Despite being a history graduate, I know little about the gold rush era in the USA and really enjoyed seeing this personal account. The book seems well researched and a careful balance of fact and fiction.
The characters are all well developed and most are likeable. Themes of social class and gender are approached within the plot. The tone and narrative is easy and enjoyable to read. I had no idea on the murderer, will you?
I really hope there is another book soon to see how Alyssa fares with her chosen husband…

1862: A group of brides from Australia have arrived in British Columbia, and love is in the air – until their new-found happiness in the prospectors’ town “Run’s End” is shattered when the hotel-owner is murdered. To make matters worse, something is wrong with the stored gold at the hotel, and an epidemic makes it impossible for anyone to leave town.
The brides set all their hopes on their friend Alyssa Chalmers to find the murderer and restore peace in their new home. But the killer is cunning, and desperate …


Carmen Radtke has spent most of her life with ink on her fingers and a dangerously high pile of books and newspapers by her side.
She has worked as a newspaper reporter on two continents and always dreamt of becoming a novelist and screenwriter.
When she found herself crouched under her dining table, typing away on a novel between two earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, she realised she was hooked for life.
“The Case of the Missing Bride” is a former Malice Domestic finalist, inspired by a true event. Its heroine Alyssa Chalmers will soon return in “Glittering Death”.
When Carmen is not writing, reading or dreaming of travel, she is busy acting as resident cat servant.
She’s currently working on her first contemporary crime novel.
Follow Carmen on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/carmen-radtke
Or on Twitter: @carmenradtke1
Her website (very much a work in progress) is carmenradtke.com



Frozen Souls, by Rita Herron

Frozen Souls book cover

A murder victim found in the snow but she has been frozen for over a decade. A killer looks for his next love and a detective determined to thwart him…
Frozen Souls is the fourth book in the Ellie Reeves series from Rita Herron. I have previously reviewed books 2 and 3: Wildflower Graves and The Burning Girls. There are spoilers about outcomes from previous books and the effect they have had on the police characters.
Detective Ellie Reeves has been significantly affected by recent events. She is still clashing with the sheriff as well as having major ongoing family issues. This latest case has a political edge as the missing woman is a governor’s daughter.
The weather and landscape play a vital role in this book as the terrain and snow hamper searches and mask evidence. However, Ellie is a fab lead character who is willing to overcome any challenge even the physical obstacles!
The book is written from various third person perspectives. We see the killer’s twisted logic as he searches for a perfect bride. A missing woman’s panic as she desperately attempts to free herself. Ellie’s fierce and dogged determination to find the missing woman before another body is found. The pace, with short chapters, is fast and furious as Ellie tries to find the killer.
Frozen Souls is an enjoyable crime thriller with a strong lead detective who we can cheer along in the case and empathise with her personal circumstances.


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Book: Frozen Souls
Author: Rita Herron
Pub Day: Oct 28th 2021
Buy Links: 
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About the Book: 
She looked like an angel. She lay perfectly still, silky blonde hair falling to her pale shoulders. Icicles clung to her eyelashes as snowflakes fluttered to the frozen ground, burying her body.
As a snowstorm wreaks havoc in the mountain town of Crooked Creek, a woman is found buried in ice. Detective Ellie Reeves is first on the scene. Examining the body, she finds frozen blonde hair, pink nail polish and a silver heart necklace engraved with Mine Forever.
Ellie has first-hand experience of the monsters that lurk in the mountains––her childhood is testament to that. She vows to catch this one, but she’s up against the brutal weather, with snow covering footprints and making forensics impossible.
Frantically trawling through missing-person’s reports, Ellie identifies the victim. Nadine Houser disappeared eleven years ago. Where has she been all this time? Why was she only murdered now?
As storm clouds roll in, another girl is reported missing. Ellie retraces the steps of Ginger Weston who was renting a cabin in the mountains. She discovers a gold chain in the snow, spotted with blood. The killer is accelerating, and it’s just a matter of time before more innocent lives are robbed.
With the town blaming Ellie for the missing girl on her watch, and everyone fearing for their safety of their daughters, it’s down to Ellie to solve the toughest case of her career. But when the killer comes after her, will she live to save Crooked Creek from its ruthless monster?
A totally gripping read that will get your pulse pounding as you flip through the pages! Perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot who love a roller-coaster, twist-packed page-turner!
author Rita Herron
Author Bio
USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. But she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a teacher instead. Now she writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
With over ninety books to her credit, she’s penned romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and YA novels, but she especially likes writing dark romantic suspense and crime fiction set in small southern towns.
For more on Rita and her titles, visit her at www.ritaherron.com. You can also find her on Facebook/ritaherron.com and Twitter @ritaherron.
Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorritaherron/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ritaherron
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritaherronauthor/

He’s Cancelled, by Sophie Ranald

He's Cancelled book cover

Natalie accepts the surprise marriage propsal from her boyfriend Archie and they begin to plan a quiet wedding. But once his family find out they take over! Suddenly the wedding is HUGE and Natalie is starting to winder if Archie is the right man for he rif he won’t stand up to his family…
He’s Cancelled is a highly amusing novel about the lead up to a wedding. I got married 3 years ago and we were very clear on the type of wedding we wanted but some families like to get involved in the planning especially when they are paying!
Nat and Archie are a sweet couple although they do not seem ready to tie the knot! Nat is really likeable and down to earth so she wants a small wedding with a tight budget. They have already accepted money from Archie’s family to help them set up a business so she is reluctant to take any more but they insist. I really wish she had more backbone to stand up and state what she feels although I understand it is tricky when family is involved 🙂
Nat’s future mother and sister in law completely take over all aspects of the wedding. Daisy even foists her wedding dress on her! In some ways I wanted to be more sympathetic towards Yvonne and Daisy, the latter cancelled her own wedding so both have missed out on a family celebration. But I was fully behind Nat as she begs Archie to rein his family in.
The chapters use a magazine quiz with multiple choice answers to show how unready Nat and Archie are to have a wedding let alone share a lifetime together. Plus it is also fun to work out your own answers!
He’s Cancelled. I have previously reviewed Just Saying, No, We Can’t Be Friends, Out With The Ex, In With The New and It’s Not You, It’s Him by Sophie Ranald.

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Title: He’s Cancelled
Author: Sophie Ranald
Publication date: June 23rd
Amazon: https://geni.us/B091348SF3social
Apple: http://ow.ly/pY0F50E97qS
Kobo: http://ow.ly/5w5L50E8ifO
Google: http://ow.ly/hEPT50E9lcj
When he proposed, I had to pinch myself. Up until then, his most romantic gesture was buying me a 128-piece tool kit.
It’s normal to get cold feet, right? But what about a case of frozen get-me-the-heck-out-of-here feet?
When Natalie’s boyfriend gets down on one knee (even if it’s because he trips and drops the ring) it’s meant to be the start of their happy ever after. But planning a wedding to Archie feels like she’s competing in the Hunger Games…
She’s up against a mother-in-law who enforces a pre-wedding diet with portions you need a microscope for.
She’s cornered by a bridesmaid-zilla sister-in-law who forces her old wedding dress on Nat, featuring satin bows, way too much tulle and a bodice that Nat doesn’t even have the boobs for.
She fends off a best man who tries to kiss her by kneeing him in the crotch.
And she has to defeat a pushy wedding planner who insists on peacocks, doves and pink flamingos at the ceremony.
Nat would wear her battle scars with pride if Archie was by her side. But her fiancé is missing in action, refusing to help her deal with his diva family and going AWOL on the stag do. With just weeks to go, she might have to do the unthinkable… Is it too late to cancel? And if she’s not Archie’s bride-to-be then who on earth is she?
A totally addictive romantic comedy for anyone who has a phobia of bridezillas and who makes the happiest memories during Happy Hour. Fans of rom coms by Sophie Kinsella, Shari Low and Mhairi McFarlane, and TV shows like Emily in Paris will be glued to the pages of this feel-good page-turner.

author Sophie Ranald

Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself, and six more novels have followed. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and fitness. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and their two adorable cats.
To find out about Sophie’s forthcoming releases and get access to free books and special offers, sign up to her newsletter at sophieranald.com or www.facebook.com/SophieRanald
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophieRanald
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophieranald/


Broken Souls, by Patricia Gibney


Broken Souls is the seventh book in the DI Lottie Parker series (read my review of book 6 Final Betrayal).
Two apparent suicides are discovered but both are wearing wedding dresses so suspicions are raised that the deaths were in fact murders. One of the women had an 8 year old daughter but she is now missing: has the murderer taken her or has she been abducted by someone else?
Lottie’s personal relationship with Boyd has become complicated. They have agreed to marry biut are keeping it quiet until she feels ready to tell her children and face her superior officer. This has led to tension and Boyd starts behaving oddly, taking time off and making secretive visits to his mother. Lottie thinks he may be having an affair…
There is a careful balance in Patricia Gibney’s narrative between the suspects and the police perspective. This has the effect of allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of their behaviours and draw our own conclusions. There are heartbreaking glimpses into the mind of the killer as we see flashbacks to his unhappy childhood.
The plot is delivered in quite a fast pace through short chapters to represent the urgency of the case, in particular finding the lost little girl. A whole heap of suspects are acting suspiciously so Lottie and her team have a tough job getting them to reveal the truth. The victims and suspects are all linked together in a complicated web of family ties and business dealings.
Broken Souls is full of mysteries and secrets; it will keep you guessing!


Book Description:
‘She shivered, though the kitchen was warm. Icicles of foreboding trickled down her spine. With trembling hands she whipped back her hair at the nape of her neck. As she turned away from the window, she missed the shadow passing by.’
One dark winter’s morning, bride-to-be Cara Dunne is found hanging in her home, dressed in her wedding dress, with a lock of hair removed. Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. Looking at Cara’s bruised and battered body, she wonders who could have hated her enough to kill her at the happiest time of her life.
The case takes a darker turn that afternoon with another shocking discovery – the broken body of a second young woman, pushed from the roof of the hospital where she worked. Fiona Heffernan was also due to be married, and her body is clad in a wedding dress, a lock of her hair cut off.
The killings seem so personal that Lottie is convinced the girls have been killed by someone they knew. When she goes to break the news to Fiona’s family, she’s on the alert for anything suspicious. But then she makes a discovery that causes her blood to run cold – Fiona’s eight-year-old daughter Lily didn’t return home from her dance recital that afternoon. Terrified that Lily will be the next victim of a twisted and dangerous individual, Lottie takes the case into her own hands, risking her life when she comes face-to-face with the killer…
If you love Karin Slaughter, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine, you’ll be hooked by this heart-stopping thriller from Patricia Gibney. Broken Souls will keep you guessing until the very last page!
Author Bio:
Patricia is the million-copy bestselling author of the DI Lottie Parker series. She yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime! In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from her job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations. Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and lives in the Irish midlands with her children.
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