Sunday, 31 May 2020

May Book Round-Up

If I've generously received a copy free of charge from the publisher/author it'll be marked with * here's what I've been reading in May:

*Murder at the Music Factory - A Health of Strangers Thriller by Lesley Kelly - I was very happy to pick up the next installment in the Health of Strangers series although it was a bit too close to real life! The Edinburgh based, the Health Enforcement Team are back chasing up those who have missed their virus health check as well as deviating away from the tasks in hand and doing a bit of their own detective work which you know is unlikely to end well...

It was good to catch up with the team, particularly Bernard, who while being a pain in the neck most of the time really is a loveable character. His ex-wife drops a bombshell and things don't seem to be going past first base with his new girlfriend.

The race is on to find ex-colleague, Bryce and some other crazies who are threatening to shoot someone each day in connection to a top secret investigation. Again, a thrilling read with lots of humour (and the story is a lot closer to real life than fiction!) Would highly recommend.

*Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys - I took part in the blog tour for this fantastic read. See my review HERE.

*All Fall Down (Helen Grace #9) by M J Arlidge - I'm taking part in the blog tour in June so catch my review then. Absolutely un-put-downable and brilliant!

*Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell - this isn't published until June so I'll share my review in my June book roundup. An eye opening read.

*A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry - I'm taking part in the blog tour in early June so catch my review then. I loved the characters and storylines. 

First Blood - A DI Kim Stone Novel by Angela Marsons - oh how I loved this story about the Team coming together and remembering Dawson! It's a great introduction to the series or as an old hand reading about the team in their early days!  Absolutely brilliant.

*Don't Blink - A Kate Carpenter Thriller by Vanessa Robertson - I'm taking part in the blog tour in June so catch my thoughts then.

*Highland Fling - A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery - Book #8 by Sara Sheridan - oh how I adore this series! The book isn't published until early June so I'll share my review in my June round-up. It's a good 'un which I thoroughly enjoyed.

From last month (awaiting publication):

*Buried Angels - DI Lottie Parker #8 by Patricia Gibney - Pregnant Faye Baker discovers a skull in the house she and her boyfriend Jeff are renovating. Jeff passes it off as a fake but Faye's not so sure. After seeing the news she calls the police and Detective Lottie Parker and her team are on the case.

Two young boys with a drone discover body parts on the railway track which seems to be part of an old case. What are the connections to the present? Lottie is missing her sidekick Boyd who is on sick leave and caring for his sister since his mother's sudden death. As ever, she's got family issues with her daughter Katie wanting to fly the nest with her little grandson, Louis who she dotes upon

It's a fast paced and un-put-downable read. Some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time and interwoven are old cases before Lottie's time in the force. A must read (I'm a huge Lottie fan). A brilliant series.

*Killing Mind - DI Kim Stone #12 by Angela Marsons - Samantha Brown has committed suicide and it seems an open and shut case. A few things niggle Detective Kim Stone and she tells Keats she's not so sure it was suicide. Sammy's parents, Myles and Kate aren't telling them something and where is their other daughter Sophie at this tragic time?

A young man who was friends with Sammy is found dead in a local lake with similar wounds. They seem to be connected to Unity Farm, a retreat in remote farmland. 

Bryant is distracted from an old case from earlier in his career and has always supported the victim's father. When rapist and murderer Peter Drake gets Parole he's not sure how Richard is going to cope.. He has to make a decision too whether to take things forward of leave it firmly in the past.

Kane Devlin is employed by families wanting to snatch their children back to reality from the cult at the farm. He's a shady character - is his heart in the right place or is he just doing it for the money? There's a hint we might be seeing more of him in the next book.

Kim sends young cop, Tink in undercover to the farm and there she befriends Brit one of the "recuiters". It seems she could be drawn in for real and the Leader takes a special shine to her. Behind the scenes Stacy & Penn are finding out the information which will lead Kim to the connections needed to solve the case.

A fast paced and exciting read. It was great to catch up with all the characters we know and love so well. Just brilliant. So recommend.

What have you been reading this month?

Saturday, 30 May 2020

May: Lately I've Been Loving

*means I've received the item free of charge for review Here are my May loves:

I fell head-over-heels and then some for Typology* the Vegan French skincare brand which is now available in the UK. See my review HERE.

We've been enjoying some fabulous Edinburgh restaurant dinners - Dining at Home experiences - above Angels with Bagpipes - Angels Wings' main - Pork Belly, Fondant Potato, Apple, Cabbage & Sage Jus (which was delicious!) We've never actually dined at this Royal Mile restaurant - but we plan to when we're allowed to dine out again!

We also enjoyed dinner at home with The Little Chartroom. We've dined at this bijou restaurant before and loved watching Roberta cook her way through the Great British Menu on TV recently. That Chocolate Tart with orange and creme fraiche was to die for! Truly delicious.

Last night, we enjoyed First Coast at Home which was a yummy Indonesian Style Feast! 

We also enjoyed Smith & Gertrude At Home who offer a CV19 Weekend Survival Pack! It contains a bottle of red, white or fizz, a selection of local cheeses, bread, Charcuterie and chocolate (although the chocolate has now been replaced with olives).

We've also been making good use of our local wine shop - the fabulous The Fine Wine Company in Portobello (you can also pick up beers and a wide range of spirits) who also do home delivery in the local area. Last night I tried a delicious summery fresh rose wine - I must admit I was also swayed by the pretty label!

Hubby treated me to a couple of face masks by Catherine Aitken which are gorgeous! I've been wearing them going to the supermarket.

My good friend Nardin had sent me this hot chocolate bauble at Christmas (eek) and I hadn't got round to drinking it. Was fun to watch it melt slowly and the see the little marshmallows appear!

My gorgeous Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box entitled Spring - see my review HERE.

My My Chronicle Book Box which contains a book this month which isn't published in hardback until August! See my review HERE.

I've also been loving the sunny days and restrictions on lockdown - it's the simple things really that count! What have you been loving this month?

Friday, 29 May 2020

Naturisimo: Summer Vibes Discovery Box

I thought I'd managed to resist Naturisimo's latest Discovery Box - Summer Vibes (£19.95 worth £86) but you know the drill... There were a few items inside that I was hankering after like Absolution's Le Gommage Corps Body Scrub (208g) which is worth £36! It has the texture of soft scented sand and I'm totally in love. Currently there are still a few boxes remaining..

And for a closer look..

There is a 30ml Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 (worth £7) which I'll be applying before my 2.5 walk this morning. I've used this before and it's lovely.

From Madara is a full size Hemp Lip Balm 15ml (worth £10) and is another product I've used before.

I was desperate to try Captain Blankenship's Mermaid Hair Oil and inside is a 5ml sample. I tried it yesterday and loved how soft and hydrated my hair felt. Full size now firmly on the wishlist.

I've tried a few Scentered Therapy Balms before but not Escape scent. Inside is a full size tube (5g) which is worth £14.50. It smells of summer holiday and exotic shores. I'm looking forward to testing it out.

From Caudalie is 10ml of their Vinoperfect Serum which ml by ml is worth £15. Again, one I've tried before and loved.

Ahhh this is perfection (the scoop came with another scrub). Read more about the body scrub HERE. A review will follow.

Did you pick up a Summer Vibes Discovery Box?

Thursday, 28 May 2020

*Blog Tour: Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for the fantastic Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys* I was kindly gifted an e-copy from the publishers. You can check all those taking part on the poster below.

1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living with her parents in Hemel Hempstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for sketching party guests, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t believe her luck when socialite Nell Hardman invites her to Havana to draw at the wedding of her Hollywood director father.

Far from home, she quickly realizes the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled photographer Joe, she discovers someone in the charismatic Hardman family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?

About the author:

Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a successful psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard & Judy Club pick, Dangerous Crossing and the best selling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.

My thoughts?

The story is set in Havana in 1957 to a backdrop of political instability, corruption and the family at the centre of the story, the Hardmans are not all they seem to be.. Hollywood Director, Hugh Hardman's wife died on his yacht in mysterious circumstances and he is marrying again. His gangster friend has offered his beautiful house as a venue.

After a chance meeting with Nell Hardman, Iris finds herself invited to be the official portraitist at the glitzy wedding. After some wrangling with her folks and boyfriend she finds herself in another world. She's staying at the guest house with two other "employees" the photographer and the gossip columnist who is writing about the wedding. Everything is colourful and bright, sunny and exotic and Iris is enthralled by it all. However, even she realises all is not as it seems with the family, their host and what happened in the past..

She also finds she has feelings for Joe, the photographer although he seems to be involved with someone. She just can't stop thinking about him... She also has a few moments where she finds she has to be assertive and make a stance as well as ultimately make her own choices for her future happiness. 

I absolutely loved the storylines, setting and plucky Iris. So recommend.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: Spring: May 2020

It's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box lands! It arrived on Friday and inside is a brand I adore, a brand which was on my wishlist, a new to me brand, a known to me brand - but I've not tried any of their products and an old faithful!

And so, for a peek:

"Spring - A lovely reminder of how truly beautiful Change can Be"

Now for a closer look..

London Balms has been on my wishlist for a while so I was delighted to see a pot of their Hawaii Kukui Balm (30ml - £9.50) which is suitable for Hands, Body and Feet. You'll know how I love a multi-use product! It also smells sublime - Rosemary, Sweet Orange and Neroli, here's looking at you! I'm really looking forward to this one and a review will follow (Temptingly there's also a code for 10% off!)

From new-to-me Fit Pit is a cute little jar of their Award Winning Woman Natural Deodorant (25ml - £4.99) which looks almost good enough to eat. It smells gorgeous (scented with Rosemary & Bergamot). Looking forward to testing it out.

I'm already a huge fan of nknaturals and inside is their Spring Nutrient Rich Facial Oil 15ml which is worth £15. See my initial thoughts on it HERE (I also reviewed a couple of the other products in the Spring range which you can see HERE). I'm very happy to have a back up of this beautiful oil (great addition to the box, Paula!)

There's a full size of PHB Ethical Beauty's New Balance Face Wash with Lavender & Salicylic Acid 100ml (£17) which is house in a eco friendly glass bottle. I'm always happy to have a new cleanser in my stash and I'm looking forward to trying it out. Again, a review will follow.

The final item is a pot (50g) worth £5 of Akamuti's Amazonian Murumura Butter which is a known to me brand but I've not tried anything from it before. It has a strong nutty/earthy type scent and is good for deeply moisturising dry hair. Use it as a deep conditioning pre-wash. Another one I'm excited to try.

Another great box with lots of newness! Are you a subscriber? Sign up HERE (as the subscription is bi-monthly the next box will be in July).

Monday, 25 May 2020

My Chronicle Book Box: May: Searching for the Truth..

It's always a very exciting day when my My Chronicle Book Box lands! This month inside is a signed 1st edition hardback book which doesn't go on general release until August 2020 (it's also one I requested on Netgalley and got turned down for, so silver linings and all that!)

The theme this month is "searching for the truth" and in the book character Isla must unravel 30 years of secrets in a community in Sydney to free her father from being suspected of murder..  The book this month is The Silence by Susan Allott, which I'm looking forward to reading! We also receive a personal note from the author along with some other goodies.

Also inside this month is a beautiful book-ish candle - Veritaserum (a truth serum candle inspired by the world of Harry Potter) which smells gorgeous (fresh and floral) which is made by Danielle at Bookworm Candles & Crafts along with a book-ish tote bag.  I'm pausing my June subscription as I've got the book next month on kindle so I'll be excited to come back for July!

As ever, everything is packaged to perfection and included as always is an informative info sheet.

Sign up for June HERE (at £25 a month).