👩‍🍳Caterer Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life👩‍🍳@LizanneLloyd reviews #contemporaryromance The Only Exception by @ClaraVal, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Liz has been reading The Only Exception by Claire Huston

Book cover for contemporary romance The Only Exception by Claire Huston, set against a photo of decorated cup cakes from a free photo from Pixabay.
The Only Exception by Claire Huston

Lucinda’s busy professional life running a catering firm has caused her to put her personal life on hold. Still living in the same house as her ex-fiancé, who betrayed her, she doesn’t believe true love exists, so when her mother phones to say she is getting married again Lucinda is confused.  Meanwhile she has a dramatic encounter in a lift with a handsome actor when they jointly revive a lady who has collapsed.

Alex has steady work in a successful TV series, but he still feels insecure renting a house in his 40s with a young actress he likes but does not love. When he meets Lucinda there are sparks and he keeps thinking about her, even though she is amazingly annoying. It is good to see the relationship from the viewpoint of each of them in turn.

Circumstances throw the couple together again and they discover they share similar values and sense of humour. When both experience professional problems they are each able to provide practical help, but their misunderstandings continue.

The characters in The Only Exception, especially in Alex’s family, are so believable and added to my enjoyment of the plot. A delightful story of modern life where work stresses, scandal and social media all play their part. And of course, a delicious sprinkling of romance.

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Book description

Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.

Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?

But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.

Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.

But doesn’t every rule have an exception?

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💕Filled with ‘family love and friendly understanding’. Liz reviews My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi @FrostieMoss, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT💕

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi

Book cover for My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi
My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi

This appealing novella transports you to the beautiful island of Corfu where Spyri has returned to visit her much loved grandmother. She has many wonderful memories of holidays in the village of Moraitika but one summer in her early teens stand out more than others. That had been when she fell for Markos, who was staying with his aunt, but she has never seen him again.

Despite her grandmother’s advancing age, she maintains the same lively spirit and Spyri loves conversations and eating with her. Making the most of the beach she describes the features of the village, bringing it to life for the reader. But when she discovers Markos may be returning for the funeral of his aunt she wonders if he will remember her.

As they rekindle their feelings for each other, they explore the area, increasing our enjoyment of the story. We know there will be a happy ending but there is a spiritual incident which clarifies the future for Spyri. A life-enhancing read for those who enjoy a simple romance without eroticism but with lots of family love and friendly understanding.

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Spyri forever lives in the past, haunted by old memories. This summer, she meets a man she once loved, and he is about to change everything…

Spyri, a half-Greek restauranteur in her early thirties, is back on the island of Corfu, staying in her grandmother’s village home for a few days to decompress from her busy life in London. Her nostalgia for the good old summer days hit her upon her return. When she hears that Markos, the one she never forgot, is staying at the village, she becomes excited.

Sparks begin to fly when they meet, but Markos has his own hurts of the past to deal with…

Do you love Greek romances? How about clean love stories about second chances with a happily ever after? This novella will take you straight to Corfu, to experience the warmth of Greek summer, and the sweetness of rekindled love from old summer days of innocence.

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I ‘have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector’, says @LizanneLloyd with her review of historical #Mystery Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel.

I have read almost all of the Inspector de Silva Mysteries and have grown very fond of the clever Sinhalese police inspector and his delightful English wife, Jane. This mixed marriage ought to encounter disapproval, but the sensible and likeable couple are usually greeted with friendship. Sometimes, however, Shanti De Silva is patronised by senior British police officers because Nuala is seen as a backwater.

Expecting to enjoy a peaceful holiday in a luxury hotel, the couple find themselves in a typical Agatha Christie setting. First a nightwatchman is found dead, then Elodie Renaud, a famous diver, staying in a bungalow in the hotel grounds, is struck down with symptoms of severe food poisoning along with her film team. Soon after Shanti befriends Helen Morris, a charming teacher, on holiday with her demanding Aunt Edith, the young woman disappears under mysterious circumstances. Not only does Inspector de Silva feel he must investigate, but bravely, his wife Jane takes an active part in trying to discover where Helen might be. The local police believe she has been murdered by a local fisherman but there several likely culprits among the hotel guests.

The book is set in an uneasy time and place. It is 1940 but Ceylon is not yet involved in the war.  People feel guilty at their pleasant lives while there is suffering in Europe. There are vivid descriptions of life in Galle,

“Stalls selling an assortment of fruit, vegetables, tin pots and pans, trays of snacks and brightly coloured drinks were set up along the road. Women haggled over wares while groups of men loitered in the shade of palm trees gossiping and chewing betel. In some places, de Silva noticed beggars crouched on the ground, scrawny arms outstretched and hands holding battered tin cups.”

I enjoyed seeing Shanti and Jane working together to solve the mysteries and events became increasingly thrilling. Like the earlier books, this novel would make a wonderful episode in a TV series.

5 stars

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It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

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On The Trail Of Family Secrets In France. @LizanneLloyd reviews In My Mother’s Footsteps by Cheryl Waters.

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading In My Mother’s Footsteps by Cheryl Waters

It is easy to identify with Claire, the heroine of this novel. We share her grief at failed IVF treatment and then discover that her marriage to her teenage sweetheart has been betrayed. After the death of her mother, she has nothing to keep her in her hometown. Arranging to work remotely, as a travel writer, she sets out for France, where her mother had worked as a nanny before she was born.

Claire feels at home immediately, so she rents a cottage for 6 months. She is astonished to encounter a man she last met when she was in a distressed state in England. He was kind then and is good company now. But Claire has been ignoring a letter left for her by her mother. It concerns Gloria’s time working at a chateau and casts doubt on Claire’s parentage. The section written from Gloria’s point of view is particularly engaging.

I found this kindle version difficult to follow at first, due to its faulty formatting. Words divided by commas run into one and some pages are set out like poetry. My enjoyment would have been increased by good formatting.

Despite that, this is a lovely story of new beginnings and forgiveness and includes detailed descriptions of the beautiful French countryside.

4 stars.

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They say bad things come in threes, and for Claire that is certainly the case. Her mother passes away, her last-chance IVF treatment is negative and then she spots her husband of twenty years with their next-door neighbour. They are definitely more than friends!

 Devastated, Claire decides to travel to the French countryside where she used to spend time in her childhood. Full of fond memories, it’s the perfect place to heal. But she packs with her something that changes the course of her trip – a mysterious letter from her late mother.

As Claire settles in France, she cannot put the letter and the secrets it holds out of her mind. She needs answers. Claire sets off on a path of discovery to trace her mother’s footsteps to a chateau she once worked at.  What will she find along the way?

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‘You might long, like me, to attend a literary party at Grandma’s house.’ @LizanneLloyd reviews Lost Coast Literary by @ellielovesbooks

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander

Many years ago, I read several mystery books by an author called Phyllis A Whitney. Each book took me to a different part of the US and descriptions of the area made me want to visit. Lost Coast Literary had the same effect. Ellie Alexander has introduced me to the beautiful area of the Lost Coast, and I would love to sit down in a welcoming coffee shop in the vibrant, colourful town of Cascata where this story is set.

Emily Bryant has arrived there to claim her inheritance after the death of a grandmother she dimly remembers. Having left the town when she was only 8 years old, she felt her relations had no interest in her, especially as none of them came to her mother’s funeral. Emily has had to leave her budding editing career in New York, but she is tantalised by the task that her grandmother has left for her. She must edit a stack of abandoned manuscripts. As a girl who often wrote alternative happy endings to classic books the task is perfect for her. Working in Grandma’s book-filled Victorian mansion, she remembers how much they had in common. She becomes close to her cousin Shay and gets to know the community well. And it’s here that a paranormal theme emerges. The lost manuscripts parallel life in the town and Emily’s endings start to come true in catastrophic ways.

This is a feel-good novel, but nothing comes easily. Emily has to solve real problems, including her own, and decide what she wants from life with a little help from magical realism. If you are a book enthusiast, you will love Emily’s references to her favourites by authors such as Jane Austen, Dodie Smith and Ursula Le Guin, and you might long, like me, to attend a literary party at Grandma’s house.

4 stars

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Book editor Emily Bryant finds herself unexpectedly in the charming town of Cascata on California’s Lost Coast, holding the keys to her grandmother’s rambling Victorian mansion. While sorting through her grandmother’s things, Emily learns that she must edit old manuscripts to inherit the estate. It’s a strange request from a family member who was basically a stranger.

Emily quickly realizes that there’s something different about these manuscripts. Any changes she makes come true. At first, she embraces the gift. She has a chance to help characters find true love or chart a new course for their future. But then things go terribly wrong. Her edits have the opposite effect. The sweet and funky seaside community of Cascata is reeling from the chaos Emily has created. Everything she thought she believed about her family and her past is in jeopardy, and no amount of editing can fix the damage she’s done.

Then she finds one last manuscript. If Emily can get this edit right, maybe she’ll have a chance to create a new narrative for herself and everyone around her.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

‘There are amusing anecdotes as well as terrifying moments.’ @LizanneLloyd reviews #CrimeFiction A Final Regret by @JeffreyJWarren

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading A Final Regret by Jeff Warren

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It is always good to find a new murder mystery story which is well plotted and intriguing. Set in a beautiful part of Wales it begins with a nail-biting account of the murder. You naturally empathise with the victim, a young mother running along the clifftop to keep fit, but later we discover that her scheming nature had made her rather unpopular.

The investigation brings together one time school friends, Alys and Matt. Alys is the neighbourhood police sergeant while Matt has just transferred to the local police as a Detective Inspector. Events in the past make their relationship difficult while Matt’s detective sergeant, Beth, does her best to undermine Alys.

After another local is killed in suspicious circumstances the police are under pressure to find the killer and to stop a spate of theft of farm vehicles. Alys makes a foolish mistake but also puts herself in danger. She is keen to become a detective and to prove her abilities to Matt, while he begins to have feelings for her despite his determination to remain professional.

There are amusing anecdotes as well as terrifying moments in an entertaining story with no gratuitous violence. I am looking forward to further investigations involving Matt, Alys and Beth.

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A missing mother, her baby’s father a suspect

Young single mother Rianna fails to return from her cliff-top run. Did she have an accident, or did someone want her dead?

Neighbourhood Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent are thrown back together when Matt returns to Pembrokeshire and takes on the case. There’s no shortage of suspects: Rianna’s blackmail victims; the men she beguiled; the women who loved them; the father of little baby Meg.

Can Alys and Matt unravel the complex web of relationships within the local community and ensure that justice prevails? Will Matt’s embittered detective sergeant, Beth Francis, derail the investigation? And what will become of Rianna’s baby daughter, Meg?

A Final Regret is a murder mystery set on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, with romance, humour and no graphic violence, sex or swearing.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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#WW2 Children’s Book. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Blitz Bus by @gblackwellbooks, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell

The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

If I could have taken my class back in time when I was teaching history to Key Stage 2 children, how useful it would have been! Jack and Emmie are learning about the Second World War and their teachers expect them to have empathy for the children who were alive in 1940. On the way home from school on a double decker bus driving through east London they spot a mannequin in a shop window with a gas mask. When they leave the bus, everything is slightly different. Stumbling into Bethnal Green Underground station with crowds of others, they believe a film is being made, but the bombs are real and they can’t find their way home to their families.

This is an exciting story which would be great as a class reader or as an adventurous read by fluent readers. Most of the first chapter is unnecessary and could put off some from continuing with the story, but once Jack and Emma meet Jan, a likeable Polish refugee, and start to investigate a mysterious figure they think might be a spy the adventure gains momentum. Will they solve the mystery without being arrested by the police, can they ever get home to present day London?

An authentic picture of events during the Blitz shown through the eyes of young people who explore the city observing the devastation. I enjoyed reading this story and I am sure many middle grade children would find it a worthwhile read.

4 stars

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Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted – “WHERE AM I?”

When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan – a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…

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The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

A #middlegrade Adventure. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Dark Side Of Midnight by @carolJhedges, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Dark Side Of Midnight by Carol Hedges

In a changed world of the near future, Jazmin Dawson and her mother Assia are growing apart. Assia’s job with an International Security organisation often takes her away from her daughter on important missions. Jaz dreams of being a secret agent too but she also wishes her Mum would spend more time with her. But Assia has to travel abroad again following up a worrying crime. This time Jaz has to go to stay in one of the new Tower cities with her uncle’s family. Uncle Ian & his wife Dee are a wealthy couple who work long hours so that they can spend plenty of money on their children. 16-year-old Clea is supposed to be looking after Jaz, but the spoilt girl is alternatively sarcastic or ignoring her.

As Assia finds herself a captive of a dangerous couple, Jaz’s life improves. She meets Tonda, a handsome, kind, young entertainer, whose friends welcome Jaz into their company. Sadly, he will soon be leaving England, but Jaz is also summoned to Prague by her mother’s colleagues hoping that she can help them to find Assia.

The story shows Jaz gradually developing skills as a crime fighter in an increasingly frightening scenario. Both Clea and Tonda have unexpected parts to play in the terrifying events and the conclusion draws the reader into seeking out the next book in the series. A recommended read for a middle grade reader who enjoys adventure with a smart, likeable heroine.

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Jazmin Dawson is a super-cool secret agent with hi-tech kit and a hi-octane life of crime-busting … in her dreams! In reality, Jazmin Dawson is a fourteen year old teenager, whose biggest battles are with her homework and her addiction to snacks.
But suddenly, everything changes. Jazmin’s mother works for the London branch of GID (Global Intelligence Department) an organisation responsible for tracking down individuals and groups that threaten world security. Tasked with locating a stolen dead body, she goes missing in action, and Jazmin is sent to find her.
Stepping off a plane in Prague, Jazmin finds herself at the centre of an international mystery, and with a dangerous mission: to infiltrate a rogue scientific institute.

“Jazmin Dawson’s first assignment is a thrilling read, full of fast-paced action and put-downs as deadly as an assassin’s bullet.”

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A Cosy #Mystery. @LizanneLloyd Reviews Bells, Tails And Murder by @KathyManosPenn

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Bells, Tails And Murder by Kathy Manos Penn.

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Leta Parker has long been an Anglophile, so after the tragic death of her husband she decides to leave Atlanta, taking her dog and cat to start a new life in a Cotswold village. It’s the perfect setting for a cosy mystery and Leta’s inquiring mind and interest in people make her an ideal detective. But when Leta finds a body in suspicious circumstances, she has trouble convincing local policewoman, Gemma, that she is not just an interfering American with too much time on her hands.

There are many possible villagers who have motives for the murder but they are Leta’s friends so she searches for clues. In an added twist Leta discusses her investigation with dog, Dickens, and cat, Christie. Not only do they understand her, but she can also interpret everything they say. Suspension of disbelief is necessary, but it adds to the fun! At times I had problems remembering who was who, so a list of characters at the beginning of the book would have been helpful.*

Readers on both sides of the pond will appreciate the descriptions of a visit to Oxford and of the charming imaginary Cotswold village. The setting reminded me of the adventures of Agatha Raisin with a little bit of Midsummer Murder and it is a good choice appealing to both a British and an American audience. If you fancy a light read with a mystery to solve its great escapism.

*Whoops There was a helpful summary of the characters at the beginning of the book but somehow I missed it (Remember to go to the very beginning of a book on Kindle!)

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She crossed an ocean to start her life over. Can she nab a killer before her quaint village becomes a graveyard?


Recently widowed Leta Parker desperately needs a change of scenery. Pursuing her lifelong dream of retiring to the Cotswolds, she leaves her soulless corporate hustle in Atlanta and moves to England with her talking dog and cat companions—Dickens and Christie. But she’s barely begun making new friends when she stumbles across her housekeeper’s body …


With several villagers pegged for the crime, Leta teams up with a retired English teacher and her sharp-as-a-tack octogenarian mother to track the killer before the trail goes cold. As the not-so-friendly local policewoman elbows them out and scandalous rumours plague the tight-knit community, it’s left to the ladies and their pets to sleuth for the truth.


Can Leta, Dickens, and Christie sniff out the culprit before the cute little town loses more than its charm?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘Warmth And Humour In A Country Divided By Brexit’ @LizanneLloyd Reviews This Much Huxley Knows by @gailaldwin

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin

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This is a story of a family and their friends in pre-pandemic England. It’s very easy to empathise with 7-year-old Huxley because we see the world through his eyes. He doesn’t conform to the norm that his classmates expect so he’s often lonely, but Huxley has a great sense of humour defined by his particular “word wangles”. We teach children to read using sounds, so it’s no wonder that he calls pneumonia, new-moan-ear and sarcastic, star-cast-stick. Huxley’s parents, Kirsty and Jed, love and care for him greatly, but he thinks they worry too much. He has made friends with Leonard, an old man who uses a mobility scooter and who offers him chocolate. As a reader, I was on the fence. Leonard is probably innocently misguided but is there more to his behaviour?

This is generally a story of warmth and humour of everyday life in a country divided by Brexit. One kindly grandmother shows racist prejudice while another trusting old lady is teased by young people. This tale of a contemporary community makes you think of how being self-centred and jumping to conclusions can be so destructive. Huxley takes everyone at face value and doesn’t judge others. Eventually he discovers a friend at school, his parents make an exciting decision, and the book ends on a positive wave. I would recommend this novel to anyone who needs a feel-good read in depressing times.

4 stars

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I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

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