Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery SAINT VANDAL’S DAY by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Alex.

#RBRT Review Team

Alex had been reading Saint Vandal’s Day by D. E. Haggerty

54922284. sy475

5 twinkling stars

I received a free copy of this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team. The opinions are honest and my own.

I’ve not read anything by D.E. Haggarty before and didn’t know what to expect. What I didn’t expect was to be so amused and entertained that I read this in one complete chunk and with a big grin on my face.

The story is the seventh in the series and concerns Callie’s Bakery and someone’s attempts to discredit it and spoil Callie’s imminent wedding. To be honest, I worked out quite early on who was behind the threats, vandalism and unpleasantness but that didn’t spoil the story for me at all.  The book is well-written and the dialogue positively sparkles off the page. The relationship between the three women is a delight and I did like the romantic touches between them and their respective partners. The pace never flags and I was kept enthralled throughout.

My only regret is not having come across this series earlier. This is the last in the series and as such it touches on what’s happened in the earlier books. I’d recommend starting with the first book! I may still go back and read the others because this one certainly brightened my day!

And for all those bakers out there – all the delicious cupcake recipes are listed at the end of the book so you can make your own.

Book description

St. Valentine’s Day is THE perfect day for a wedding. Unless a vandal is trying to ruin your life that is.

Callie is finally getting her dream wedding. On St. Valentine’s Day no less. Only a vandal is determined to destroy her bakery before the wedding can occur. Anna, self-proclaimed best cupcake baker this side of the Mississippi, is not letting anything happen to the cupcake bakery. No way. Barista extraordinaire Kristie jumps at the chance to help as well. Together the three women launch a mission to find the jerk who thinks it’s okay to attack the bakery.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the vandal and save the cupcake bakery before Callie’s dream wedding is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are. 

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

54922284. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Anthology Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al @marysmithwriter

Today’s team review is from Alex.

#RBRT Review Team

Alex has been reading Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al

55980943. sx318

This is a remarkable venture.  Twenty-two writers in the Galloway region of Scotland wrote first hand of their feelings and experiences of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These personal accounts cover the twelve weeks of the first national lockdown in the UK: March 23rd until June 15th – with many referencing the weeks beforehand where the situation rapidly morphed from a vague interest to shock.

Most of the authors are, like me, retired and perhaps that is why I identify so readily with the sentiments expressed here through quite remarkable prose and poetry. Many of the contributors speak of the contradictions they feel initially during lockdown as they appreciate the rural landscape and wildlife whilst so much suffering is evident elsewhere.

There’s anger, resentment, love, friendship and a desperate boredom. 

Reading this book kindled memories that had already begin to tarnish with time. It’s a remarkable account of the day-to-day lives of people at the start of the pandemic and it’s such a comfort to know that others had felt exactly as I had. It’s a book I’ll reference in the future to recall the way things really were for us.  It’s a keepsake.

The individual voices come through clearly and the writing is varied but always powerful, moving, reflective and (frequently) laced with humour.

Above all, it’s a very good read.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

55980943. sx318

Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC #RomanticSuspense A Critical Tangent by @reily_garrett

Today’s challenge reviewer is Alex Craigie

Alex has been reading A Critical Tangent by Reily Garrett

48730868. sy475

Keiki Tallerman, a student in her final year, has a talent for designing drones. In the opening scene she is flying one of her latest prototypes from her student room and communicating through its microphone and camera with her friend Shelly in a field by a wooded area. As Keiki puts the drone through its paces she witnesses Shelly’s brutal murder and becomes a target for the killer.  Past experiences have instilled a distrust in the police which undermines the growing attraction between her and Nolan, the detective whose protective instincts towards her are sometimes at odds with the evidence stacking up against her.

There are so many characters in the beginning that I did find it hard at first to keep track of them. As this is the first in the series, it shouldn’t be a problem in successive books for readers already familiar with them.  The first scene packs quite a punch and sets the tone for the rest of the novel and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.

The personalities are well drawn and the spark between Nolan and Keiki fairly zings off the page. The author uses the device of letting different characters narrate the chapters so that you see the situation from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives. Keiki is feisty but vulnerable, Nolan is strong and caring, and the killer is sadistic and terrifying.

The dialogue and interactions between the characters keep the plot moving on but occasionally the language used would pull me out of the scene. “Rare was the occasion she incurred awkward emotions around men” is one example where the vocabulary seemed clunky and unconvincing. This may simply be down to differences between the American and British market and, having said that, these were rare blips in an otherwise fast-paced and genuinely thrilling narrative.

I particularly like the insight I was given into drone technology and police procedure and I’m sure this is the beginning of a gripping series. A third of the way in, I’d have given this book a 3* rating but once the characters kicked in and I became caught up in the plot I rounded it up to a 4.

Book description

She doesn’t trust cops…
He’s an iron-willed detective who doesn’t know whether to cuff her or kiss her.

Keiki Tallerman is a strong-willed tech prodigy whose life is shattered when her drone captures video of her best friend’s bizarre murder.

Experience has taught her good reason to not trust any police officers, especially when the hard-boiled detectives come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when the second of her trio of friends disappears without a trace from their small urban community.

Conflicting evidence at a disturbing crime scene leaves gossamer threads weaving a complicated web of lies and deceit. Every clue Detective Garnett finds steers the investigation to a deep, dark network entangling the young coed in a labyrinth of cunning subterfuge.

Unable to piece the evidence together, Garnett is torn between following the letter of the law and protecting the amateur sleuth determined to clear her name. Add a large dose of mutual attraction and sparks fly.

Can he earn Keiki’s trust in time to save her life, or will the psychotic killer destroy the woman who is crushing his emotional defenses?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

48730868. sy475