The Patron Saint of Lost Souls by Menna van Praag #MagicalRealism #Romance @mennavanpraag

Author: Menna van Praag

Published: May2018 by Allison & Busby

Category: Magical Realism, Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy, Book Review

Jude is the owner of a unique antiques shop in Cambridge. She makes it her mission to match customers with the special something that they are missing, a talisman to bring them what their heart desires. Unfortunately, Jude’s life is not overflowing with the love she wishes for. 

Viola is a single-minded perfectionist whose only heart’s desire is the position of Head Chef at one of Cambridge’s most prestigious restaurants. But when Viola keeps bumping into a widower, Mathieu, she begins to discover that there’s more to life beyond the kitchen.

The story is told from three main perspectives—Jude, Viola and Mathieu and is set in Cambridge. Jude owns Gatsby’s, an antique shop full of extraordinary and special items waiting for the right person to come and buy them. She’s quite lonely, a solitary person. But all that begins to change when she receives a telephone call from child services with some completely unexpected news. Life for Jude is about to get much more interesting.

Jude’s heart lifts when she matches a person with their special item but she has always wished she could find her own lucky charm, but year after year it had escaped her. Now she doesn’t think about it much and just gets on with the day to day running of the shop. The exception is Christmas Eve.

This could be the year. So Jude has told herself every single year. Though, of course, with each passing year her hope wanes. Just as it did when she was a child and she longed for a happier childhood.

Viola is a perfectionist. She learned from her father at a young age that if anything was worth doing, it was to be done with nothing less than excellence. Viola’s ambition, all she can think about, is to be head chef of the prestigious restaurant  where she is employed, before she reaches thirty-six. To that end she works non stop, creating and perfecting dishes. Her boss has set his chefs a challenge—a cooking competition to be held on Christmas Eve. The winner would receive the title of head chef. Viola is on track with a dish she’s happy with…then she meets Mathieu.

Viola looks up then, meeting his eye. And, as she holds his gaze, she’s aware of the choice before her, a crossroads laying itself down, stone by stone.

Mathieu, a widower with a young son, has relocated to Cambridge from his native Paris. Mathieu worries about his son who is still suffering from the loss of his mother. 

The Patron Saint of Lost Souls is a delightful story of new beginnings, love and loss with a flavour of magical realism running through. Set around Christmas time, the season itself very much in the background, the story weaves through the lives and different relationships with a directness that makes them all the more authentic, as their stories merge and they adjust to the changes thrust upon them. The characters themselves are wonderfully drawn and engaging, their emotions thoroughly believable. I enjoyed Jude and young Gertie, who is wise beyond her years. Menna van Praag captures the essence of magical elements in her books so well. I love the idea of matching people with objects that hold a special significance for that certain person. This is the second book I’ve read and have another in my to be read pile. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Hive

About the Author

Menna van Praag was born in Cambridge, England and studied Modern History at Oxford University. Her first novella – an autobiographical tale about a waitress who aspires to be a writer – Men, Money & Chocolate has been translated into 26 languages. Her magical realism novels are all set among the colleges, cafes and bookshops of Cambridge. The House at the End of Hope Street (2014), The Dress Shop of Dreams (2015), The Witches of Cambridge (2016), The Lost Art of Letter Writing (2017) & The Patron Saint of Lost Souls (2018). Menna is currently at work on her upcoming fantasy trilogy, The Sisters Grimm. The first book in the series will be published in 2020 by Transworld (UK) & HarperVoyager (US).

Author links ~ Facebook | Twitter | Website

The Moor (A DCI Ryan Mystery) by LJ Ross ~ The Circus Comes to Town #Murder #Mystery @LJRoss_author #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: LJ Ross

Kindle Edition

Category: Contemporary, Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, Book Review

The circus is in town…

When a ten-year-old girl turns up on DCI Ryan’s doorstep to tell him she’s witnessed a murder, he has no idea he’s about to step into his most spellbinding case yet. The circus has rolled into Newcastle upon Tyne, bringing with it a troupe of daring acrobats, magicians, jugglers—and one of them is a killer.

Thinking he might be able to enjoy a quiet Sunday for once, DCI Ryan was lost in a peaceful moment when the door bell rang. Determined to dispatch whoever it is quickly, he was surprised and a little taken aback to see a young girl on the doorstep asking for his help…to catch a killer. 

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Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone #Romance Across The Ages #BookReview for #RBRT #FridayReads

Author: Nanette Littlestone

Published: December 2018 by Words of Passion

Category: Contemporary, Romance, History, Book Review

An explosive yearning that can’t be denied

Disturbing visions from an ancient past

A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar

On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her. 

Toscana Blake has an organised, if not perfect, life. She’s content in her marriage to Jackson. Acknowledging the fact it may not be a passionate union, Toscana feels a deep affection for her husband and appreciates the life they have.

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The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw ~ Second Chances are Often in Unexpected Places @claidlawauthor @AccentPress

Author: Charlie Laidlaw

Due to be published on 20th June 2019 by Accent Press

Category: Contemporary, Fiction, Family Drama, Book Review

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

Emma Rossini lives what most people would consider a charmed life. However, appearances can be deceptive. When Emma’s actor father Paul Ross, becomes, as Emma herself puts it, ‘properly famous’ he moves the family out of their familiar, large flat in Edinburgh to a run down mansion in North Berwick, a seaside town just outside Edinburgh. 

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Dead is Dead ~ Jack Bertolino #3 by @jelansing ~ Hard hitting #thriller

My Throwback Thursday choice this week is Dead Is Dead, the third in the Jack Bertolino series, published in May 2016.

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The Inheritance (The Guernsey Novels #7) by @AnneAllen21 ~ Dual Timeline #Contemporary #Historical

Author: Anne Allen

Published: April 2019 by Sarnia Press

Category: Historical, Contemporary, Dual Timeline, Romance, Book Review

1862 Young widow Eugénie is left bereft when her husband dies suddenly and faces an uncertain future in Guernsey.

2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey born though now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. 

The Inheritance is a well written and intriguing story that includes accurate historical details as well as a dual timeline.

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Run Away By @HarlanCoben ~ Suspense/Thriller #BookReview Family Drama #TuesdayBookBlog #NetGalley #RunAway

Author: Harlan Coben

Published: March 2019 by Cornerstone Digital

Category: Suspense, Thriller, Family Drama, Book Review

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found. Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble. You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs. 

As Simon Greene sits the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park watching the ‘street musician’ give her rendition of Penny Lane, memories of happier times when his children were younger are running through his head.

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#Spotlight on Mad About Moon by @Melissa_Foster #NewRelease Contemporary #Romance

Mad About Moon by Melissa Foster releases today. 

~~About the Book~~

Author: Melissa Foster

Published: April 10th 2019 by World Literary Press

Category: Contemporary Romance

Can true love strike twice in one lifetime? 

Josie Beckley refuses to believe there is a limit on happiness. A decade after she escaped her abusive parents and lost touch with her siblings, the death of her husband leaves her and her son homeless. But Josie has never been one to wallow in sadness, and when she takes a chance on reconnecting with her siblings, a sinfully handsome bright light from her past shows up and offers to help her find a way out of the darkness.

Most people wouldn’t see Jed Moon as someone to look up to. He’s been in and out of jail and has lived a less-than-stellar lifestyle. But years ago one woman saw through his bullshit, and he’s never forgotten her. Now she’s back in his life, and as a prospect for the Dark Knights motorcycle club, Jed promises to keep an eye on the sassy, sexy single mother who has never stopped lighting his fantasies on fire.

Jed and Josie’s combustible connection is stronger than ever. Having Josie and her son in his life brings out all of Jed’s protective instincts-and visions of a future he never imagined having. But when a shocking revelation knocks the insatiable lovers to their knees, it forces them to make choices that could change their lives forever.

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