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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh #Review

  Here we are with another amusing romcom by Judy Leigh . The Vintage Village Bake Off was published by Boldwood Books on December 4th. Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert's Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones - ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea - Devon or Cornwall? It's time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert's sisters Bunty and Ha

Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds #Review#Giveaway


 I am so happy to introduce a new series by Rod Reynolds, Black Reed Bay features Detective Casey Wray  and was published on September 2nd by Orenda Books.I am also delighted to give you the opportunity to win a print copy of the book. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.

Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it can have only one ending.

And then the first body appears, and Casey’s investigation plunges her into a darkness she could never have imagined...

 My Thoughts

 Although this is a skilfully written police procedural, and certainly fits the description of 'american noir', for me, the outstanding aspect of this novel was the creation of the character, Detective Casey Wray. During the story, you glimpse how she has matured to be the police officer which she has become and the in-built sexism which she has come to terms with and redefined her place in the team. 

    Inspired by crimes which have been perpetrated by The Long Island Serial Killer, there is a chilling story at the centre of the novel. It takes you to some dark places in some surprising directions. It is a satisfying read and I am sure that there is plenty of potential in Casey Wray for some more stories. The Black Reed Sands of Long Island gives you an atmospheric setting for the crime novel will the rather stark beaches and lonely settings, and where the rich lead their lives alongside those who service them. Tense and at times, grim, Casey grounds the story and gives it a human side. Recommended.

In short: mystery and intrigue on Long Island

About the Author

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series.

His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian has called the books ‘pitch-perfect American noir ’. A lifelong Londoner, Rod’s first novel set in his hometown, entitled Blood Red City, was published by Orenda Books in 2020.

Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. He lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters. 

You can follow Rod here: Twitter   |  Amazon Author Page

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Rod Reynolds, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Catch up on the rest of the tour!
Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of Black Reed Bay, just Follow and Retweet the pinned tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!
Closing date is 26th September 2021 and there is one winner.    
*Terms and Conditions –  UK only  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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