Friday 25 February 2022

Playing For Love by Jeevani Charika HQ Digital (2022)


#PlayingForLove #Netgalley 


When Sam’s not working on her fledgling business, she spends her time secretly video-gaming. Her crush is famous gamer Blaze, and she’s thrilled when she’s teamed up with him in a virtual tournament.

But what Sam doesn’t know is that Blaze is the alter ego of Luke, her shy colleague – and he has a secret crush too.

Luke has a crush on Sam.
Sam has a crush on Blaze.

How will this game of love play out?

Five stars simply for the sheer enjoyment I got out of reading this cute and endearing story.

As someone whose idea of gaming is playing Candy Crush on my phone, I found the VR gaming scenes to be very suspenseful and exciting. It juxtaposed very well with the mundanity of real life that Luke and Sam had to navigate. Sam is trying to develop her own business and source funding and Luke is trying to deal with the ending of a business partnership.

Luke is such a lovable guy. He's sort of a Clark Kent kind of character; awkward and shy in real life but a badass in the gaming world. His crush on Sam is cute and you can't help but feel for him when all she can think about is his alter ego, Blaze.

There is a subtle nod to multiculturalism in the story but it's not really part of the narrative. I would've liked to have read a little bit more about Sam's heritage. 

Luke and Sam are both very inexperienced and innocent when it comes to relationships and this shows in their interactions. He gets flustered and embarrassed around her and she over analyses all the banter and flirting between her and Blaze. 

You have to wait until nearly the end of the book before Blaze and Sam resolve their miscommunications and reveal their true identities but it's a fun read all the way. I couldn't put it down.

Monday 21 February 2022

Jo Platt, Working it Out (Canello 2022)


When her love life crashed down around her, Edie turned to work for solace. But office life goes downhill with the departure of her work wife, Ruby, and the arrival of new guy Cameron - a chauvinist, a womaniser and the very opposite of a team player. But is Cameron the bad guy he seems to be?

When a best-forgotten ex decides to get back in touch, Edie's work life, love life and home life are on a collision course. Exactly what she will be able to salvage from the twisted wreckage, is anybody's guess.

A funny and feel-good romance for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Jo Watson.

I loved this book. It is sweet and funny in places. Cameron and Edie may be the main protagonists but it is as much an ensemble piece as anything else. Edie's cousin Giles was adorable and I enjoyed the romantic build-up between him and Kerry more than I did with Edie and Cameron. 
Edie and Cameron spend a lot of time disliking the other over a misunderstanding and it seemed to take ages for it to get resolved and for them to develop a friendship. 
I liked the humour in the book and the banter between all the supporting characters- Giles's neighbours were particularly eccentric and fun.
This book may be less romance driven than other Rom-coms but that's not necessarily a bad thing. 
An entertaining read. I would happily pick up another book by the author.

Friday 18 February 2022

Tea For Two At The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot (2022)


St Aidan: a cosy Cornish village where friendships are made for life and it’s always cocktail hour somewhere....

The Little Cornish Kitchen is going on tour!           

When internet sensation ‘Cressida Cupcake’ has a soggy-bottomed TV fiasco and faces bake-off backlash, she jumps at the chance to spend some time hiding out in St Aidan, dog sitting for her brother.

Picturesque Seaspray Cottage is meant to be Cressy Hobson’s port in the storm, but with her blog sponsors having fled and her book deal gone sideways, her funds are running low, and she’s forced to turn to the locals for help. Soon her quiet weeks in Cornwall are filled with chasing sheep, saving the local retirement village, taking The Little Cornish Kitchen into people’s homes for baking nights...and keeping a vigilant guard against romance.

The one and only time Cressy lost her head to love was over a decade ago while in St Aidan, and she won’t be making the same mistake again - a feat easier said than done when Ross Bradbury looks even better a decade on...and every step she takes seems to put him in her path!

A funny and charming romantic story. I hadn't read the first book in the series and it wasn't a problem jumping into Cressy and Ross's story. Their history is sad but they are older now and are ready for a second chance. Both are reeling from calamities in their careers and are licking their wounds, so to speak, in St. Aidan's where the locals rally around to help and encourage each other.
I loved the baking nights Cressy organised and the antics she and Ross got up to in order to entertain the audience. They were really funny and cute. I was laughing out loud at a lot of their interactions. The side characters were just the right mix of friends you'd want in real life too.
This was a lovely read and one I totally recommend. The book comes with some delicious sounding recipes at the end and if I owned a microwave I'd definitely be making Cressy's Chocolate Mug Cake.

Tea For Two at the Little Cornish Kitchen is out now. AMAZON

Sunday 13 February 2022

A Deception Most Deadly (A Cassie Gwynne Mystery #1) by Genevieve Essig (2022)



Florida, 1883. Cassie Gwynne is looking for a fresh start when she steps off the steamship at Fernandina harbor for the first time. She’s trying hard to be a proper lady, for once. She’s styled her unruly hair, shined her boots, and even purchased a whole new fashionable (or at least fashionably priced) wardrobe. However, she’s certain finding a body is not very ladylike behavior…

While out exploring the beautiful island with her Aunt Flora, Cassie stumbles across the body of Peanut Runkles, town grump and her aunt’s neighbor, lying at the foot of the harbor pilots’ lookout tower. To make matters worse, because Peanut and Flora have been quarreling for years over everything from Flora’s eccentric ideas to her pet pig’s fondness for Peanut’s vegetable patch, Flora is immediately arrested for murder.

Desperate to save the only family she has left, Cassie vows to prove Flora’s innocence and untangle the mystery herself, no matter how much certain others may disapprove. Cassie’s brilliant mind and nose for a clue lead her on an investigation that takes her all around the island, and even earns her a valiant furry friend in Esy the kitten.

But how does the mysterious ledger Cassie finds hidden in a secret drawer in Peanut’s desk connect to the crime? Cassie is determined to dig up the truth, but can she catch the killer before her time on the island comes to a deadly end?

This warm and witty cozy mystery will transport you to the island city of Fernandina and introduce you to a feisty heroine far before her time! Perfect for fans of Verity Bright, T E Kinsey and Deanna Raybourn.

A great start to a new series. A Deception Most Deadly hit all the right notes for me;an intriguing mystery, a fun cast of characters and a hint of romance.
This first book does spend a good amount of time introducing us to the characters and it was slightly slow in places because of this. I expect the next book to move much quicker as a result.
Cassie has a very sad and tragic back story and there is a mystery behind her father's death. I am very interested in reading the drama and suspense that will unfold when Cassie decides to investigate.
Book 2 in the series 'A Plot Most Perilous' is already on my TBR. Available to preorder now for publication in 
Fans of Deanna Raybourn will undoubtedly enjoy this series

Wednesday 9 February 2022

The Maid by Nita Prose (2022)

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.


I loved the premise of this story and I couldn't wait to read it. 

Having worked with young people with autism I recognise a lot of the issues Molly has with everyday social cues, relationships, bullying, taking things literally and the reliance on routines etc. The author never states categorically that Molly is autistic but she has many of the traits and I will leave it up to the autistic community to analyse whether or not this is an authentic representation of autism. What I liked about it was the author chose a female protagonist with autism but without savant syndrome.

The mystery itself was quite clever. There are plenty of surprises even though I thought I had the 'who' figured out but not the 'how.' The bad guys are obvious to the reader but not to Molly and I cringed for her as I could see how she was being manipulated and taken advantage of by nearly everyone she worked with. I just had to keep reading to find out how she was going to survive it all and find solve the crime. It got quite exciting towards the end as her 'scooby doo' gang of allies worked together to solve it.

The Maid is similar to a cozy crime story in a way but more intelligent and thought-provoking than a lot of offerings in the genre.