That Girl by Kate Kerrigan / #BlogTour

So guys, after the Christmas and New year break I am baaaaack! And with the second blog tour of this year, and I am really excited to be a part of this one as I am a great and devoted fan of Kate Kerrigan. Have you read “The Dress” yet? If not, do not hesitate, it was a brilliant, brilliant read! But yes, she’s back with a new novel of hers, this lovely author, and this time she takes us to the London’s swinging sixties! If you follow the blog tour you can read some extracts from this novel and today I am sharing my review of this thought – provoking story.

That Girl by Kate Kerrigan

35678135Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 08.02.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.

 
Rating: three-half-stars

The story follows three young women from Ireland that more or less suddenly find themselves in the London’s swinging 60’s. It is my second book lately that was set in this time in London and I must admit that “That Girl” was much better than the other one – it was fast – paced and, above all, the characters felt realistic, they were so vivid and so easily brought to life by the author. So back to our main characters – they are very different but there is one thing that they have in common – they all run away from something. Hanna’s was probably the most shocking story and I so incredibly fell for her – after her mother has died, her step – father started to abuse her and she lived her life as his prisoner. She could do nothing about it – let’s not forget, it was Ireland and he was a very respected local doctor – until one day, when after coming to her limits Hanna leaves for London, trying to cover her tracks…

Lara is in love with Matthew, she’s always has been, and already envisions them married. However, one day, just out of the blue, Matthew tells her something that shatters Lara’s whole world. To flee the humiliation, Lara decides to leave for London to start a new life there. She quickly finds herself in the big city and I probably liked her most out of the three girls.

Noreen was the one that I liked the least. She was this kind of  person that would elbow her way to the top and it’s not my favourite kind of person. She’s Matthew’s twin sister and Lara’s best friend. She can’t believe what her brother has done to her friend, however after seeing them both, Matthew and Lara, leaving the little town in Ireland to follow their dreams, she gets itchy feet as well and she decides that while she loves her fiancée John very much, she first wants to see and try different life, to taste the freedom – and so she goes to London as well.

All the three girls end up living together in one apartment above the gangster’s nightclub, and initially also working together but then their lives take different paths.

 There were plenty of moments that took me absolutely by surprise and I would never in a million years guess that the story is going to take such turns! It starts telling Hanna’s story and then introducing us to the other girls, and it was so fast – paced that I didn’t have time to think what the three girls can have in common. I think Hanna’s story was the most shocking one, and I liked this girl, I simply liked her and I wished all best for her. Also Lara was my kind of person, she was not afraid to follow her dreams and to try. She wanted people to think she’s a tough cookie but there was also this vulnerable side to her. And as I have already mentioned, Noreen was my least favourite character, while you can admire her chutzpah and determination, especially in the 60’s Ireland, she was too egoistic for me, thinking only about herself and not respecting other people and their wishes.

 It was different to what I was expecting but of course it’s not the book’s fault but I just had a feeling it’s too much of everything. It often felt too far – fetched and the ending felt much too rushed and somehow unrealistic. Everything fell always so neatly in the right places and you just knew that no matter what and how, everything is going to turn OK. I was expecting more depth from this author, and while this book was really great to read I had a feeling that there was tons of potential that was not made use of. It was as if there was an idea but the delivery and conclusion of it was missing.

The author has brought the swinging London perfectly to life and I love all the descriptions of the places and clothes (but again, I had a feeling that the author started something, like That Girl, described few dresses and then it was all. A few comparisons to some models of those times and nothing more. It just often felt that some of the subplots started but weren’t finished, or ended too abruptly). The atmosphere was there on the pages and the characters were changing, turning into people they wanted to be.

 So yes, guys, this book gave me a  headache – I liked it, please don’t get me wrong, but after reading “The Dress” by the same author I was expecting something more deep and complex. “That Girl” was about friendship, about love and relationships, about hurt and betrayal. The book was good guys, it was a mix of suspense, romance, dark comedy but maybe this was my problem because it felt as if the story doesn’t know what it wants to be. However, Kate Kerrigan is a great story – teller and this was a really well written and character driven story set in the swinging sixties in London. The book has it all: fashion, drama, sex, gangsters and crime but in the foreground there are stories of three different girls, Hanna, Lara and Noreen. There is a lot happening and the author mixes perfectly humour with drama, tragedies and funny moments. The author is not afraid to write about abuse and violence but it’s such an integral part of this story, and even if there are some moments with all the gory details for you, it works in this book, and also you have a feeling that it was deserved and couldn’t be different. Recommended!

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The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of France by Alice Ross

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of France by Alice Ross

 

35704717Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 27th September  2017

Series: The Cotswolds Cookery Club #3 (read my review of Book 1  here and Book 2 here  )

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 180

Genre:  Humour, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Too many men spoil the broth…?

Kate Harris has enough on her plate! Life is constant juggling act between raising her three young children and running a busy Veterinary Practice in the Cotswolds. But with her passion for all things French, especially the mouth-watering cuisine, the cookery club with her three best friends, Connie, Melody and Trish is the perfect escape…

Now the foursome has been given their biggest challenge yet! Yet, with her husband Andrew’s increasingly secretive behaviour, the unexpected reappearance of her dishy ex-boyfriend, Gregg, and an unexpected culinary challenge from her daughter’s nursery, Kate decides it’s time to take charge of the disparate ingredients of her life and transform them into the perfect pot-au-feu!

Fans of Milly Johnson, Caroline Roberts and Jill Mansell will love this heart-warming read.

The Cotswolds Cookery Club is a story told in three parts. A Taste of France is part three.

Rating: three-half-stars

 

“A Taste of France” is the third and final instalment in the Cotswolds Cookery Club by Alice Ross series, though if it were for me the series could go on and on – I would love to hear what’s happening with this small but tight group of friends.

This part tells us more about Kate, the incredibly busy mum of three, and about the unfinished business of hers from the previous books. As in the previous two parts, we are treated to some incredibly delicious sounding recipes that the cookery club is making, and this time they took us on a very yummy journey to France. The descriptions of the food made not only my mouth water but only thinking about them now makes me hungry.

In this part I had a feeling it is a little too flat for my liking, with many repetitions and I felt as if we were going to in circles. It doesn’t mean it is not good, because of course it is, it is full of warmth, some hilarious situations as well but if you twisted my arm I’d have to admit that it was my last favourite part. Also, I would love to see the twins this little bit better brought up, I really felt the pain of Kate’s daughter and I myself wanted to cry, and not laugh, at their antics. They weren’t funny, they were out – of – control children.

Altogether, it was a lovely, uplifting and quick read about the power of friendship and trust. The characters were great, the way they interacted together felt honest and I really liked the fact that the women are there for each other, no matter what. All three parts were feel – good and uplifting – recommended!

The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler

The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler

 

33539601Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 5th May  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 290

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Meet Pippa…

After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.

Imogen…

A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.

And Ellie…

A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!

For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!

Rating: three-half-stars

Since I’ve become a mum myself, I really like to read books with heroines that are pregnant, or are just about to get a baby, or just got the baby and have to deal with their worlds being turned upside – down. “The First Time Mums’ Club” is already the perfect, very promising title, and then you see that you’re going to get not one pregnant character but straight away three! Add to this this lovely, colourful, eye – catching cover and there was nothing holding me off from reading this debut novel from Lucie Wheeler. This is a story full of friendship, sisterhood, girls’ power and plenty of laughs, but it also touches upon many more difficult issues and deals with them in a likeable, believable way.

However, there was not so much about the pregnancies themselves, the book mostly focused on the circumstances the women got pregnant and on their private lives and problems, as there were many troubles coming for them. They are all brought together by Zoe, who runs the First Time Mums’ Club in her cafe – and no, Zoe herself is not pregnant. Ellie is Zoe’s sister, then we have Zoe’s best friend Pippa and there is also Imogen, who gets to know the girls at the cafe and they click. Pippa’s marriage is going through difficult path right now. Imogen and her partner Alice are happy to be pregnant, though there are problems with Imogen’s family accepting the fact that she’s married to a woman and the realisation that Ellie is pregnant, and who is the father, is a great shock for her system.

The characters were very well developed. I really had a feeling that I know them inside out, that I knew what drives them and what makes them tick, and why they are like this. However, there were many moments that the story just stood in place without moving and the same thing was being talked about over and over again. The Ellie and Olli situation played incredibly on my nerves, it was will they/won’t they taken on another, annoying, level. I could only roll my eyes at their banter, the way they cut in on when talking, never getting close to a conclusion or solution, even though you could see immediately how this is going to end. To be honest, I didn’t have a feeling that I should keep my fingers crossed for them or something because they just only annoyed me. So there. Even though they were – separately – sharp, witty characters and I adored Ellie’s “no shit” approach.
The stories of the three girls, or rather four, because we also got to know Zoe’s background, were interesting and believable, and also I am sure most of us will find something that can relate to, that can nod your head and state “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it”. The situations are down to earth and not too exaggerated and Lucie Wheeler shows that the story can carry on without adding unnecessary dramas, and I liked it.

We see how the girls deal with their problems and with the different emotions that their pregnancies freed in them and their closest surroundings, and we slowly observe how the meetings in the cafe become important for them, and how their friendship is building closer. They start to count on each other and support each other. The end of this story was very fairy – talish, for my liking, but oh well, it was a rom – com, right, so even if it was this tad unbelievable for me, too random, and it made me roll my eyes, I did buy it. I only couldn’t get straight into the story and warm to it just like I should, and I can’t put my finger on what has caused it, and I am really torn about this novel. I have expected something different, really rather focusing on being a mum for the first time, full of hilarious anecdotes and instead the story concentrates on the problems of the four new – made friends, and I don’t mean that it’s wrong, it is absolutely OK, however I also can’t say that it was my most favourite read that is going to stay with me forever. I do appreciate Lucie Wheeler’s writing style – it was fluent and flowing, with moments of being a little too unpolished and raw, but oh my, I can live with that, it is a debut novel. The author is a great story teller and she can for sure create her characters, so I think that my problem must be with the plotline itself. However, the book is already gaining tons of fans, which is a great thing, and if you try it you may discover you also love it. And I am already looking toward Ms Wheeler’s next novel.

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

 

34450248Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 27th March  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 198

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting.

At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community fuelled by copious cups of tea.

So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands.

Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?

A heartwarming novel about friendship, community and being brave enough to fight for what you believe in, The Bluebell Bunting Society is perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Tilly Tennant and Cathy Bramley.

Rating: 3.5/5

Oh joy! The new Poppy Dolan’s book! Guys, you’ve no idea how much I’ve waited for this novel. I’ve read all Poppy’s previous books and they were all just SO right up to my street – the brilliant writing, my kind of humour, lovely characters and the stories flowing so effortlessly and seamlessly. I can’t believe – or no, I take it back, I CAN believe that it’s already four years since Poppy’s last book, it is really SO long. When I’ve heard the news “The Bluebell Bunting Society” is up for request on NetGalley it has really made my day, even more so when I was accepted to read it – which I almost immediately did, needless to say. Judging the book on its cover and its title you can think that it’s going to be an inviting, warm, funny, light read – and it’s true!
As I have two left hands when it comes to sewing, bunting and so on I always do love a read about people who can do such things. It’s real magic, no, to put together two things and produce a patchwork blanket, right? I can truly understand all the fuss, really.

There are many threads in this story, guys! It is multi – layered, just like a flower, and here unpeeling the layers makes you laugh and the story is sweet. The chapters are short and they really cover many issues, so that the story felt really dynamic. There is some drama, there is a romance, there is a lovely community. However – and I am incredibly sad that there is “however”, because I wanted to love this book so desperately! However, the story felt too flat for me. It was not as sparkly and fresh as Poppy’s previous books. There were moments it dragged too much for my liking and there was nothing that I could say wow, I haven’t read it or I haven’t seen it coming. It’s just Poppy Dolan has already shown me she can much, much more and I have expected much, much more from this book. Somehow, I just couldn’t get into the heart of this story – which probably is my own fault, and it makes me furious with myself.

Connie was lovely! I loved her passion and desperation to keep the Hall going. It was palpable that she has fond memories of it, especially as she has spent her best times there, together with her Grandmother, and she now enjoys her role as Bloom Mistress, preparing a dance or two with her charges. But Connie is torn – there is this side to her that want to satisfy tradition, keep the hall and run it just like her Gran did, and the other side, where Connie is not sure what it is she want to do, if she wants to stay in Hazelhurst for ever or do something different, somewhere else?

The cast of supporting characters is as bunt as the title itself. The author lets them all to have their own say, to shine through the pages. We have Lucy’s best friend Steve and his wife Lucy and they all want to support Lucy in so many ways! The community spirit in this book is brilliantly captured, it was just my favourite kind of a small, lovely village with people who know everything about each other and when it comes to a crisis they stand up for each other and do whatever they can to help. The duo of Dominic and Polly, father and daughter, has added so much poignancy to this story, the emotions there were so raw and so genuine, and Polly was so incredibly talented and creative, it was a real joy to read about her ideas.

Altogether, “The Bluebell Bunting Society” was a cute, warm, inviting read. It is this kind of read when you know what’s going to happen but it doesn’t bother you and it only makes you feel better. The characters are so lovely that you can’t help but fall for them all, and keep your fingers crossed for them. A heart – warming, uplifting read with a feel – good factor – recommended!

The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

 

31449588Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 12th January 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

A story of intrigue and revenge, perfect for fans of Jane Eyreand Fingersmith and The Miniaturist.

On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of the barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.

When Annaleigh, a foundling who has fled her home in London, finds herself at the remote house, in service to the Twentymans, she discovers all is not as it seems behind closed doors.

Isolated and lonely, Annaleigh is increasingly drawn to her master. And as their relationship intensifies, she soon realises that her movements are being controlled and her life is no longer her own. Slowly she is drawn into a web of intrigue and darkness, and soon she must face her fears if she is to save herself.

Rating: 3.5/5

“The Vanishing” is my first book by Sophia Tobin but I am sure it won’t be the last! This novel has first caught my eye on Twitter, when I spotted the most gorgeous proofs with a key attached to them, and when one of them arrived at my doorstep I was more than over – excited. Yes. That’s me. I know, I know, like a child at Christmas. Forgive me, but when it comes to books I am just like this.

So now. This book. “The Vanishing”. Dark, tense, thought – provoking, full of suspense historical fiction. And while it did manage to hold me interested, I had some issues with it. The book was divided into three parts and for me personally it was the third and last one that kept me mostly glued to the pages. The first two were very descriptive and were like a long introduction to this what’s going to happen. Than the characters. I had a feeling that I really don’t know them as much as I’d like. They felt a little too underdeveloped, too superficial. The main character, Annaleigh, she just felt so cold and emotionless. But she was also strong – minded and she was not afraid to fight for the things she believed in. She was a servant but she also knew different life and you could have say that she’s never been like a perfect servant, even being a perfect servant! She had her proud and will. She made me feel desperate with the number of times she wanted to left but still, she didn’t. It just makes you want to tell her: see? Your own fault. I know, of course I know it was not as easy as it is now, women didn’t have many choices then, but really, I though that when she says she wants to leave one more time than it will be also my sign to leave. The book. Fortunately, it didn’t happen and I kept reading (not going to tell you if she’s left or stopped talking about it, oh no!).
I am, however, not too sure what was the role of the male characters in this story, to be honest. Oh sure, of course, I know but they all just felt so flat, not too well rounded and I missed some more expressiveness in their personalities.
I also couldn’t clock this attraction between Annalegih and Marcus Twentyman, and the blurb speaks about intensifying relationship – what relationship? It was not a relationship, guys! I’ve no idea what kind of things did Annaleigh imagine and why. And the end. I am really confused about the end because it made me think, and? The point?

I really liked the writing style, and the way the story was written, and I really appreciated how the author added so many phrases characteristics to those times. She could brilliantly describe the desolate landscape of the moors in Yorkshire and it, already at the beginning, set the tone of this story – gloom and bleak, totally appropriate to the drama that was developing before our eyes. The sense of isolation and loneliness was palpable through the pages, and this was one of the main players in this book, to be honest, and the dark atmosphere surrounding the house and its inhabitants jumped out of the pages.
Overall, it was a good book, and even though it didn’t have me on my tenterhooks I was not disappointed! “The Vanishing” was atmospheric, touching and also a shocking book. I loved how symbolic the title of the novel is and how many different meanings of vanishing there were in it. A tale of love and hate, revenge and… yes, madness that made for a really great read for those few winter evenings and I’m truly happy that I was able to read it. There was a certain beauty to it and the writing style was really exceptional.

An Off – Piste Christmas by Julie Houston

An Off – Piste Christmas by Julie Houston

 

32860697Publisher:

Publishing Date: 1st November 2016

Source:  Received from the Author in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 127

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Homour

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

From the author of #1 Humour Bestsellers GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME, THE ONE SAVING GRACE and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a brand new festive novella to make you laugh and warm your heart…

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace’s, are soon whizzing down ridiculously high and scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical.

Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces’ class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town… But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles…

Rating: 3.5/5

“An Off – Piste Christmas” is my first book by Julie Houston but I was immediately drawn to this cover and the description made me hope that it’s going to help me to leave the actual reading slump behind. As previously I didn’t know much about this book, I also didn’t know that this is a second novella featuring the Westmoreland family, however through many hints I started to guessing it. But you can absolutely read it as a stand – alone novel, as there are enough flashbacks and the author gives enough information for the new reader to know that and what happened in the past. However, now my curiosity is piqued and I will be for sure reading the previous novels in the closest future!

My biggest problem was the number of characters. Honestly, to the end of the book I wasn’t sure who is who, why and with whom they are together. It was confusing and I hoped that there comes a moment I’ll see the light bull over my head but sadly, it didn’t happen and eventually I stopped trying with the characters. It spoiled the reading a bit to be honest. As it took me almost till the end to unravel who is related to who, to be honest, so maybe a short introduction at the beginning of the story wouldn’t go amiss. Also, the very complex and complicated nature of the relationships with a daughter dating the main character’s best friend’s ex – lover and father of her baby, and all of them going together on a fancy skiing holiday, even though the main character hates skiing… It was too much for me, to be honest.

At first the story felt too slow, maybe because of the millions of characters being introduced, but then it often felt too rushed and the things were happening so conveniently, and also I personally am not sure if bringing back dead characters to life is such a good idea – it didn’t sit with me and this subplot felt much, much, much too far – fetched for my liking. However, “An Off – Piste Christmas” was a very light read, and it made me chuckle and smile. I also immediately fell in love with Julie Houston’s writing style, that is not only full of humour but it’s so easy to follow, it’s light, warm and – let’s forget about the number of characters for a moment – I immediately felt at home. The millions of characters are likeable and believable, with their flaws, problems and interactions, and with so many of them there are many mishaps, misunderstandings and also bitching involved. The story is full of really funny scenes, and only the idea of going on the ski – holiday when you’re scared of heights and hate skiing is a hilarious one, but it is also full of much more emotional moments and it touches upon some sensible issues, and this is all perfectly mixed.

Altogether, it is a short, funny and light novella taking place in a beautiful setting, full of snow and mouth – watering descriptions of food. It’s fluffy and quick read and I personally enjoyed it with the few twists, turns and curveballs.

The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith – Blog Tour

Hi guys, and very happy Wednesday! Today I am very happy to invite you to my stop on Fiona Veitch Smith’s blog tour for her new release “The Kill Fee”, that is the second book in the Poppy Denby Investigates series – but it can easily be read as a standalone, no worries here. I love the times the book is set in so it was an extra bonus for me, and the story itself was fresh and original – just have a look at my review.

 

The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith

 

30897440Publisher: Lion Fiction

Publishing Date: 16th September 2016

Series: Poppy Denby Investigates #2

Source:  Received from the publisher  in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Poppy Denby, Arts and Entertainment Editor at The Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian Art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov Royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Faberge Egg in the collection is stolen. The egg itself is valuable, but more so are the secrets it contains within – secrets that could threaten major political powers. Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Faberge Egg, a Russian Princess called Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg – and the other treasures – should all be restored to the Russian people. Poppy, her editor Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But, soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect…The race is on to find both the key and the egg – can they be found before the killer strikes again?

Rating: 3.5/5

I’ve wanted to read Fiona Veitch Smith’s book for a long time already, as I have heard brilliant things about “The Jazz Files”, her debut novel – I even have this book on my shelf, only haven’t found time to read it yet. So when the opportunity to be a part of a blog tour for her new release “The Kill Fee” came, I didn’t hesitate for long and with excitement started to read the book. It is set in 1920s, and I love to read books set in those times. Even though it is a continuation of Poppy Denby’s adventures, it can absolutely be read as a stand – alone novel, as it is a new case and new investigation.

Poppy could be a great character, it’s only I had a feeling that there is much to less of her for a main heroine. The story focused on so many things and Poppy entered the scenes from time to time and I just had a feeling that I don’t know her as well as I’d like to, that I don’t know much about her. However, one is sure, she was again an example of a heroine that was far ahead of her own times and she was determined that nothing will stop her when she set her mind on something.

Thank god, or thank the author, for the list of the characters at the beginning of the book, though I must admit it didn’t help me a lot. There were many characters in this story, MANY, some of them fictional, some of them not, and really, there were so many of them that each time a name was mentioned I needed to turn the pages back to the beginning to see who it is and why – but soon this turning the pages made me tired, to be honest, I want to know who is who and not be forced to all the time searching for a clue, but it’s probably my fault, not the book’s.

I liked the mystery in this story. There were some twists and turns on the way to discover who did what and the author tried to throw a curveball or two. I’d say that “The Kill Fee” is a good cosy mystery, though I personally have expected something more from this book and from such an acclaimed author. However, I of course appreciate the well – developed heroine and the historical background that was really interesting, as it is not only 1920’s London, but also times of the Russian Revolution, of the mystery of the tsar’s family. The book reminded me a lot of Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton series but – sadly – there is Kate and then there is nothing for a long, long time and then, eventually, comes Poppy Denby. The story has just felt too flat to me, not so exciting and not so surprising. I liked a lot of things in this story but altogether I missed this “something” that makes read exceptional, and there were a lot of moments that I was skim – reading, as it dragged too much for my liking.

The author has made an effort to create the atmosphere of the times and to make the setting as realistic as possible, and it worked really well in this story. It was well – plotted, albeit a little on the dragging on side, even though there was a lot happening. I loved the mentions of the small things that made those times, such as music, the food, the gadgets – they are often mentioned, those little details, but they do not overwhelm or overshadow the plot, and Fiona Veitch Smith has truly brought the background to life. Yes, I am in two minds about this book – I enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would. However, I’ll be looking onto reading “The Jazz Files” as soon as possible and looking forward to any new release by this author.

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