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‘Murder Now & Then’ New Cover

‘Murder Now and Then’ by Diana Jackson

This is a wonderful murder, mystery story and currently on special offer, but ONLY for one week. I read it back in 2015 and really enjoyed it. Check out my Goodreads bookreview.

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Amazon


Goodreads Book Review (2015 cover edition)

MURDER, Now and Then: Murder Mystery 1919 to 2019MURDER, Now and Then: Murder Mystery 1919 to 2019 by Diana Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

I am generally not a fan of Murder/Mysteries. However, ‘Murder Now & Then’ with its slight historical theme, and being based around a rural community drew me in.

The story weaves together two murders which are separated by 100 years. The first murder in 1919 remains unsolved; will this be the case with the new murder? Are these two murders somehow connected?

The author has actually taken the 1919 murder from facts reported in ‘The Bedfordshire Times Newspaper’ (although the original names were replaced), to produce this page-turning work of fiction.

On May 9th 2019, in our not too distant future the second murder occurs. Bob Thomas of Pear Tree Farm is the victim and his wife Joanna, being found with the body, has been accused and arrested.

Inspector Norton of the local constabulary believes it an open & shut case, being close to retirement he wants this case to be tied up neatly before he leaves. However, there is no murder weapon and there appears to be no motive. Other intuitive police personnel believe there is more to the murder than meets the eye, therefore an intense, investigation gets underway.

No stone is left unturned; door to door interviews are carried out. Suspects are contacted from far and wide Bedfordshire to Jersey to Canada, these latter possibly with some distant family connection to the murdered girl Lucy of 1919.

The author talks very believably about the technologies of this not too distant future. Technologies not only used by the police but by family & inquisitive people wanting to know more about the 100yr old unsolved murder. This technology is called ‘Futurenet’, it has replaced our regular internet. This is where for me the story goes into a little bit of freaky SciFi, which I have to admit did sit realistically well within the text. ‘Big Brother’ (or someone else) is most certainly watching.

Characters

Characters in this novel are numerous but the author weaves them into the mystery and intrigue surprisingly well. Each person is described in detail, if not in their actual looks then in their personalities. The author makes you love, hate or become very suspicious of each and every character. The tale twists & turns, giving you cause to change your mind on someone you thought good, but then you may think is actually bad.

As the reader, we come to know the main suspect held in custody. The accused Joanna Thomas is the loving supportive wife of the most recent murder victim Robert Thomas. The pair appears to be pillars of the community, but of course the police have to investigate and discover this fact for themselves.

There is mention of a milk woman Fiona, so beautiful she could ‘…pose for Hello magazine.’ She collects the milk from the farm several days each week often smiling and giving a little friendly greeting to Bob, was there more to it than meets the eye? Did Fiona come back and murder Bob?

Paul Thomas is the son of Joanna & Bob. He believes his father to be living in the dark ages when it comes to farming. It is true, Bob dislikes change but Paul was able to encourage him to move to a new technology involving computers. This innovative technology allows the cows themselves to choose when they want to be milked. Bob sees this as a ‘trendy hobby’ so he allows his organic herd of Jersey cows to be milked by robotics. However, his regular Friesians are still milked in the old fashioned parlour. Paul & his dad often argue over this and Bob knows that Paul does not wish to take over the farm in his place. Bob has even got to wondering if the cowman John Cookham a very loyal and capable farmhand, might just be the one to take over in some way.

A very prominent character of the story is the housekeeper for Pear Tree Farm and several other properties around the village, Helen Carter; she cycles between jobs on her trusty little bicycle. Recently Helen lost her 21yr old daughter Kirsty to leukaemia, at first I sympathised with this woman but there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger upon. Helen is at times secretive, and although people of the village speculated, no one ever knew the identity of Kirsty’s father. She tries to get her life back into some kind of routine and even gets involved in raising money for leukaemia, but she isn’t ready for that, not quite yet.

“A chance coincidence though had brought another purpose to her otherwise fruitless life, when she was placing flowers at her daughter’s grave. She had noticed a gravestone, a cross as it happened, of a young girl who had died at the same age as her daughter, at 21 years, but what was surprising was that the date of her death was nearly 100 years ago. Feeling an affinity to the girl, whose name was Lucille Vardon, Helen decided to make it her quest to try to solve the mystery of her early death. Not having the mega speed access to the Futurnet, she frequently took herself off to the records office in Bedford” (Snippet from the book)

It was natural progression that leads Helen to attend an IT course, and with the help of some local lads she sets up a website to learn more about the 100yr old murder.

Anna Beret from Jersey in the Channel Islands is another of the books main characters; she is studying Ornithology at Cambridge.

“It had all begun when her aunt died a year ago and in her will she had left Anna a box of books. Not just any books mind, they were her great-great-grandfather’s collection and also his travel log – a painstakingly accurate record of birds he had witnessed first-hand in his travels, all beautifully hand drawn and labelled with care…” (Snippet from the book)

Along with the books there were also scrolls of aged letters written between 1914 & 1918 from Lucille Vardon. The letters had been addressed to Anna’s great-great-grandmother who is believed to have been Lucy’s cousin. Anna’s interest is stirred and she wishes to do a little detective work of her own, to discover why they stopped so abruptly in May 1919. On her return to the mainland Anna visits Bedfordshire staying in a friendly little B & B. Often borrowing the landlady’s bicycle she takes herself into the countryside with her trusty binoculars for a little twitching (bird watching). Anna is mentioned lots in the story she even becomes a suspect and the police chase after her tracking her down in Cambridge then following her over to Jersey. Is she the murderer, a revenge killing for that of her very distant relative Lucy?

Even Peter Thomas & his wife, the parents of Bob are questioned. Peter does not come across as a very amiable man; some of his actions towards Joanna are rather abhorrent. I disliked him from the start.

In Part 3 new characters are introduced; James Bouchard is in Canada his mother Elizabeth has been nagging him to do some research into the family’s history. She has done a great deal herself but has found the latest Futurenet technology rather frightening. James becomes hooked and begins to delve into the family’s dark secret which seems to be somehow linked with Lucille Vardon.

Keith Regmund is also drawn into research after his 13yr old son Toby has a piece of holiday homework, an English essay about his family history. Being an army man Keith turns the project into a military operation. Toby learns about his heritage, how his ancestors were involved in the North Africa Conflict and the Normandy Day Landings. Toby is excited by all this and he rushes off to set about doing further research and getting it down on paper. Meanwhile Keith,

“…was relieved that his son hand not delved further into the past and found the family’s brush with scandal in World War One when his great grandfather had been accused of murder.” (Snippet from the book)

Finally, the main investigating team consist of DC Cathy Peterson and DS Tony Brown, both these characters are very easy to relate too. Cathy especially is a very warm, caring, sympathetic policewoman. Being very intuitive she in no way believes that Joanna could have killed her husband. All are trained to watch for facial expressions and body language, and Joanna’s body does not read like a guilty persons. The pair goes above and beyond their duty, to discover the true murderer. Here also we have a little love interest between Tony & Cathy however, they are both married to the force and are wary of beginning a full blown relationship.

Conclusion

All in all the story runs smoothly, I would have much preferred to read a printed copy as I was personally wishing to flick back and forth between the pages to check something out. The story is intriguing and therefore a real page turner, you always want to know where the story will go next, who will fall under the suspicions of the police?

The advanced technologies are not so far in the future as to be unbelievable. The police technology of just pressing a discreet little button, and taping a suspect’s remark without them noticing, is something that could well be introduced into our own world very soon.

For the romantics amongst you there are also a couple of little sexual encounters, for me they were not necessary. I believe there is enough going on in the story without it. However, that said the scenes are tastefully written and short enough to be passed by almost in the blink of an eye.

One other negative point for me and that was, I felt bereft of any conclusions regarding some of the characters, particularly those who attended ‘The Gathering’ (a little memorial to Lucille Vardon).

As I said previously a real page turner, a book I feel would appeal to many ages’ especially younger readers wanting to perhaps try a mystery for the first time.

Very Highly Recommended

Find out more about the author Diana Jackson HERE


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All my reading challenge books are on my Goodreads profile, on the bottom left hand side of the page.


 

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#RubyTubeDay 07 Emy Gets A Sister

I simply love this picture book by Chris Turnbull based on a true story, check out the review by Miss Rugy Heart. Read more below

Miss Ruby Heart

Miss Ruby Heart Reviews Book 07

07 Emy Gets a Sister

Emy Gets A Sister

by Chris Turnbull Illustrated by Rebecca Sharp

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We give this book 4 Paws & a Lick

4 paws plus

Full Review on Goodreads

Emy Gets A SisterEmy Gets A Sister by Chris Turnbull

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutley LOVE this little book series based on true events.

Once again a bright and very beautiful children’s picture book. The stunning illustrations by Rebecca Sharp really bring the story to life. A book to share with the whole family. This is Book 2 so I would highly recommend getting Book 1 ‘A Home for Emy’ to read first.


A Home For Emy by Chris Turnbull

Both very Highly recommended

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A review by Maria Gibbs of Seal Mother ~ A Selkie Tale in Verse by Rose English

WOW what a beautiful review thank you so much, I am so glad you enjoyed the book Maria.

‘Seal Mother ~ A Selkie Tale in Verse’

Currently available in paperback at a REDUCED PRICE. Click the image below to check it out. RRP £4.99 on Amazon UK currently down to £1.20 but not for long.

190507 Amazon UK discount £1.20

Maria’s full review can be seen by clicking the link below. Check out her books too and her blog posts whilst you are there you will not be disappointed.

gibbsdream

Seal Mother: A Selkie Tale in Verse by [English, Rose ]
*****Five Stars*****

I devoured this short story, so skilfully written by an author who I have the utmost respect for. She doesn’t write for the masses, she doesn’t stray into writing what is popular or in fashion. Rose English writes from the heart about things that capture her vivid imagination and she weaves a story so beautiful that it feels as though she has placed her hands around your heart and is squeezing gently.
Seal Mother is a tragic tale of love, betrayal, loss and heart-breaking decisions.
It’s a children book, but don’t let that stop you from reading it as an adult. Let Rose’s poetical verse sweep you into a maelstrom of emotions as you forget your existence for a while and ride the waves with Seal Mother and her emotional journey.

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2019 Goodreads Challenge ‘Feral Moon’

‘Feral Moon’ – Book 2 in the Dark Woods Series

by Sherri A. Wingler

Dark WoodsTeaser Insta 04

Click the image above to enlarge the teaser from ‘Feral Moon’. Check out my Goodreads Review below.

Feral Moon: Book 2 of The Dark Woods seriesFeral Moon: Book 2 of The Dark Woods series by Sherri A. Wingler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 28 of my Goodreads Challenge 2019

WOW! ‘Feral Moon’ is another beautifully crafted sequel, which I have been longing to devour. It certainly does not disappoint. I absolutely LOVE this twist in the tale, of The Wolf & Red Riding Hood story.

In this, the second book from the ‘Dark Woods Series’ Ms Wingler shows us a more sensitive side to Grey. Along with his very adaptable wolf, whom Grey tells us is…

‘…sneaking out of his cage while I slept and gathering information’

There are so many moving and heartfelt descriptions throughout the entirety of this story. I found it to be a wonderful balance of violence (it is about a bad ass wolf after all) and tenderness.

‘I dropped Red’s pillow… the faint scent of peaches and rain washed over me.’

The ‘peaches and rain’ description first appeared in Book One ‘Crimson Moon
and it is a description that has stayed with me throughout both books. The image is so provocative; I can almost smell the aroma floating up from the pages as I read, simply beautiful.

Several very powerful scenes had me at times close to tears. I even at one point found my allegiance swaying over to one of the bad guys. This author certainly knows how to mess with your mind. So many things I really did not see coming, this book certainly packs a punch. I really cannot say anymore, without giving away some of the story. You will just have to grab yourself a copy and read it for yourselves.

For those of you who like modern day fairytales with a bite, then this book series will not disappoint. I’m just waiting for a print version now, to sit on my book-shelf of favourites along with Book One of ‘The Dark Woods Series – Crimson Moon’

**My heartfelt thanks go to the author, for allowing me a sneak peek of this wonderful book. It was great reading it on kindle but I am really REALLY looking forward to purchasing a print copy.

View my 2019 Goodreads Challenge –>> Here

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To get you in the mood

Happy Reading

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26 Goodreads ‘Acquainted with Butterflies

180503 Aquainted with Butterflies

Acquainted With Butterflies: A Collection of Short Stories, Personal Essays & PoetryAcquainted With Butterflies: A Collection of Short Stories, Personal Essays & Poetry by J.C. Wing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 26 of my Goodreads Challenge

I absolutely fell in love with the book cover, a beautiful butterfly that stretched over the front and back once the book was opened out.

The book consists of a collection of short stories, personal essays and poetry some of which I absolutely loved. ‘Cold Feet’ was a great read something unique I had not come across before a tale of a wedding from different points of view.

I loved the poem:-

‘The Color of the Ocean’

The rays of sun, so warm and bright
a shiny ribbon of gold.
The water caresses the wet sand below
and the waves tell tales untold.

There is probably something here for everyone a light read that can be picked up and read in small snippets. From the funny short story ‘Letters to the Couch’ to stories full of suspense and horror such as ‘The Surprise Getaway’.

For me the personal essays were not really my thing, perhaps a little too intimate. But many did bring back memories of songs that were mentioned throughout. The author’s only real link with her father was their great love of music.

Worth checking out but to find out more visit JC’s blog spot http://jcwingandthegoddess.blogspot.com/

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25 Goodreads The Island Dog Squad

The Island Dog Squad by Deb McEwan

This has to be one of my favourite books of the year, I even took a couple along to this year’s UK Indie Lit Fest to display on the International Table. Deb very kindly donated some prizes in the form of the wonderful one of a kind caps as seen in the picture below.

Island Dogs 01

My Goodreads Challenge Review

The Island Dog Squad: (Book 1: Sandy's Story)

The Island Dog Squad: by Deb McEwan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Book 25 of my Goodreads Challenge

This is a story for dog lovers both young and old. But be warned as well as it being comical, at times it is also rather heart-wrenching too. Probably advisable for readers 10+

The author’s own dog Sandy is a rescued dog, and the inspiration behind the book. The tale is told from the dog’s point of view.

After almost drowning as a pup, Sandy is initially rescued by military personnel. She proves to be a very intelligent little dog and undergoes training on the base. Sadly the poor dog ends up having some horrendous experiences. Sandy ends up on the streets almost at deaths door; she has no memory of who she is or where she came from.

Luckily Sandy is found and taken to a rescue shelter, and from there she is adopted by Ellie and Ben. She loves her people parents and just wants to settle into a new life with them. However, she begins to suffer nightmares and slowly her memories begin to return but they are not pleasant.

I love how the author interweaves mystery and intrigue into a captivating tale, along with a dog’s eye view of the world. Sandy’s thoughts on her people parents are simply adorable, particularly when she begins to learn more about them. Here is just one of her thoughts:-

‘I was to discover Ellie was a vegivore and a chocivore.’

Such great fun and very highly recommended.

As a special treat I recommend you visit Deb’s website and check out the real Sandy’s Dog Blog

https://debmcewansbooksandblogs.com/2…

 

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Northern Witch Book Series by K.S. Marsden

Awaken Book 2

WOW Book 2 in the Northern Witch Series is about to be released and to celebrate K.S. Marsden has made Book 1 available for FREE DOWNLOAD. Check out my little review of the first book which you really must read before dipping in to book two.

Winter Tales 2

 

Winter Trials (Northern Witch, #1)

Winter Trials by K.S. Marsden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

WOW This book had me hooked from the start, only a short story but packs so much in.

Mark is a Year 11 student one of the few pupils openly gay, and to top it all his Nanna is a witch. With the Winter solstice fast approaching she will be teaching him about his heritage. Mark has a very loyal friend in Harry but he now has Sarah with whom he is very much in love. Mark dreams of having someone to love for himself.

Suddenly in walks Damian new boy golden haired from London, sadly he has lost both his parents and has come to live with his aunt in Yorkshire. All the school are swooning over him including Mark. But there is a darkness that surrounds him will Mark get to find out what that is. I urge you to read this book for yourself.

Very Highly Recommended and I for one definitely want to read more.

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