The Finding Machine by Lucy Lyons #CozyMystery #Sci-Fi Twist #RBRT


It’s 1998, and Alex Martin’s life is falling apart. She’s fast approaching the big 3-0, with her dreams of making it as an artist in shreds. Her handsome housemate Antony’s moving on to better things while she’s stuck in a dead-end job, touch-typing for a living like a 1950s pool secretary.

Then, one grey winter morning, Alex inherits a mysterious invention from her late father that changes everything. The Finding Machine solves mysteries. But the biggest mystery of all lies deep within its wiring — the unsolved disappearance of a little girl, dating back seventy years. What happened to the girl, all those years ago? Who was she?

Alex is going to need Antony’s help if she’s to join the dots and solve the case. But as dark family secrets are revealed, will the Finding Machine bring them together…or push them further apart?

My Review

Going back to the late 90s when life was simpler and very few people had mobile phones is so relaxing and as this intriguing mystery adventure features two delightful main characters, The Finding Machine is a feel-good novel to escape into. Alex may be working in a dead end job and her mother may worry about her lack of an appropriate partner but actually there are good factors in her life. She enjoys living in Hertfordshire with her handsome, easy-going house-sharer, Anthony and occasionally she finds time to devote to painting.

But she is soon shaken out of her apathy by the delivery of a small machine invented by her deceased father.  Apart from a few old family photos the machine has nothing but a green light. Eventually her investigations are aided by Anthony’s technical knowledge. It appears to be a Finding Machine which locates animals or people who have mysteriously disappeared. Alex is a brave investigator whose attempts to find missing cats and dogs have positive results but she tends to find herself in dangerous situations. Once she tries to find out about the little girl who disappeared 70 years earlier the story becomes more serious.

I really enjoyed following the trail with Alex, grateful that she sometimes allowed Anthony to help. It was heart-warming to see the prospect of a happy future and I wonder if she will use her father’s invention for more adventures.

The Finding Machine on Amazon UK

An Unwilling Alliance by Lynn Bryant #Book 1 of the Manxman Series #TuesdayBookBlog #HistFic

It is 1806.

Captain Hugh Kelly RN returns to the Isle of Mann after fifteen years with a few months leave and a small fortune in prize money to find himself a sensible Manx wife. Roseen Crellin is determined to resist her father’s efforts to find her a husband. Still dreaming of the young English soldier who sailed away and broke her heart, she has no intention of encouraging Captain Kelly’s courtship and certainly no intention of developing feelings for the man.

Major Paul van Daan is newly promoted and just back from Ireland, sailing with his battalion to Copenhagen under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley. Paul’s courage and talent are unquestioned but his diplomatic skills need some work and in a joint operation with the navy there are many ways for a man of Paul’s temperament to get things wrong.

As Britain hovers on the brink of war with neutral Denmark and the diplomats and politicians negotiate to keep the Danish fleet out of Bonaparte’s hands, a more personal drama plays out on the decks of the Royal Navy and in the lines of Lord Cathcart’s army which could change the lives of Hugh, Roseen and Paul forever.

My Review

I chose to read this book because I had enjoyed reading “An Unconventional Officer” set during the Napoleonic Wars but also because at first it is set in the Isle of Man which I know well. The beautiful island setting is vividly described as a backdrop to the relationship between hero, Captain Hugh Kelly RN and young Roseen Crellin. Hugh had left the island to join the Navy & has returned with his prize money to purchase a house and perhaps find a sensible wife. Roseen is a totally unsuitable candidate. Brought up by her father after her mother’s early death she is an independent, lively girl who has no intention of marrying anyone her father might choose. And yet Hugh and Roseen find they do have a lot in common. Sadly, the fates are against them. Hugh returns to his ship and Roseen finds herself in danger of losing her life.

The second part of the book takes Hugh to Denmark for the siege and bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807, a shameful action by Britain’s forces against a neutral country. There Hugh encounters Major Paul van Dan, whom I knew from the previous book of Lynn Bryant, a younger more impulsive man from the rival service. Despite disagreements they respect each other and become friends. The scenes on board ship and interactions with historic figures such as Wellington are fascinating views into military history in contrast to the softer romantic scenes.

So like all Miss Bryant’s books this novel gives us a passionate heart-warming romance, dramatic scenes of early 19th century history and a good seam of humour.

An Unwilling Alliance on Amazon UK

My Review of An Unconventional Officer

Lynn Bryant was born and raised in London’s East End. She studied History at University and had dreams of being a writer from a young age. Since this was clearly not something a working class girl made good could aspire to, she had a variety of careers including a librarian, NHS administrator, relationship counsellor, manager of an art gallery and owner of an Irish dance school before realising that most of these were just as unlikely as being a writer and took the step of publishing her first book.

She now lives in the Isle of Man and is married to a man who understands technology, which saves her a job, and has two grown-up children and two Labradors. She is passionate about history, with a particular enthusiasm for the Napoleonic era. When not writing, she walks her dogs, reads anything that’s put in front of her and makes periodic and unsuccessful attempts to keep a tidy house.

Lynn writes historical novels, mainly set during the Napoleonic era and prides herself on meticulous research. Two of her novels “An Unwilling Alliance” and “This Blighted Expedition” have been shortlisted for the Society for Army Historical Research Fiction prize.

Mystery at Seagrave Hall (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 3) by Clare Chase #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

It’s Eve Mallow’s first visit to the fair at Seagrave Hall. But amidst the booths, stalls, tables and tents lurks something darker… A mysterious fall means a new case for amateur detective Eve!

The charity fair at Seagrave Hall is a key date in the Saxford St Peter calendar – a chance for the villagers to nose around the house and grounds and cross paths with the rich and famous.

New resident Eve Mallow is particularly excited by this year’s special guest: the explorer Verity Nye, engaged to the heir to the Hall. Eve loves Verity’s determination, and she can’t wait to meet her.

But when they talk, Verity hints that she has something troubling on her mind. So after the festive mood is tragically interrupted by Verity’s fall from a third-floor window, Eve can’t be sure that it’s an appalling accident. Especially when one small boy claims he saw someone behind her…

Soon Eve finds herself tasked with writing Verity’s obituary. As she dusts off her notebook and begins her interviews alongside her trusted dachshund sidekick Gus she realises she has a fine array of suspects before her. Could it be a corrupt charity manager, the distraught fiancé, or jealous cousin Cora? And can Eve find out before her questions cause the killer to turn on her?

My Review

The Mystery of Seagrave Hall begins like a scene from Midsummer Murders. In the grounds of the gracious Hall, villagers are busy setting up stalls and moving tables ready for the Charity Fair next day. But unlike the TV programme, the police force in this English village are not very skilful so it is often Eve Mallow, a professional obituary writer and part time assistant to Tea Shop owner Viv, who solves the crimes which occur. Eve is thrilled at the opportunity to talk to explorer and diver, Verity Nye, recently engaged to Rupert Seagrave, heir to the estate. She has heard Verity’s motivational speech in the past and feels a kindred spirit with her. Thus, she is shocked when Verity falls from a third floor window.

Naturally, Eve offers to write Verity’s obituary. She has proved to be an interesting woman, estranged from her devout Christian parents, but driven to succeed in her life of adventure. Her fiancé seems an odd choice. Would he really be satisfied to stay at home while funding Verity’s next expedition? At first the police declare the tragedy an accident but soon Eve’s fears are realised as there is evidence of foul play. She starts a spreadsheet listing all the suspects and discusses the evidence with her secret friend, Robin, a gardener who was formerly a policeman. She is kept busy interviewing all of Verity’s recent friends and colleagues and she worries about her own safety.

Eve is thoroughly likeable, even if she does annoy bumbling DI Palmer. She is well organised and energetic. She loves spending time with her little dog, Gus and talks to him about the case.  Despite her independence she is becoming closer to Robin, but he isn’t there when she most needs him. As other bodies mount up, can she solve the case before she becomes the next victim? Another great cozy mystery.

Mystery at Seagrave Hall on Amazon UK

My Review of Mystery On Hidden Lane the first Eve Mallow Mystery

Snow Angels by Jenny Loudon #TuesdayBookBlog #ContemporaryFiction

An accident. That’s all it was.

Amelie Tierney is working hard, furthering her nursing career in Oxford. She has a loving husband and a small son, who is not yet two. She jogs through the streets of her beloved city most days, does not see enough of her lonely mother, and misses her grandmother who lives in a remote wooden house, beside a lake in Sweden.

And then, one sunny October morning, it happens—the accident that changes everything and leaves Amelie fighting to survive.

Set amid the gleaming spires of Oxford and the wild beauty of a Swedish forest, this is a story about one woman’s hope and her courage in the face of the unthinkable.

‘I keep thinking of snow angels,’ she murmured. ‘Of the fun and joy in making one, and the pleasing shape… And then, of how they never last, and melt away—and in no time at all, there is no sign that they were ever there.’

My Review

This is a story of love; of tragedy and grief, of friendship and prejudice and of guilt and forgiveness.  Amelie, a children’s nurse living in Oxford with her husband and young son looks forward to completing her training, but suddenly a terrible accident destroys her happy world. Unable to cope in Oxford she travels to Sweden to be with her much loved grandmother Cleome. Physically and emotionally Amelie needs cherishing and time to understand what has happened but Cleome has also suffered loss and they cling to each other through a harsh Swedish winter in the countryside next to a beautiful lake. They are supported by Cleome’s neighbours, especially Helen, a doctor, and they struggle through the cold season sometimes with hope but frequently in despair.

Cleome is guided by the rhythms of the year, celebrating the solstice with its promise of returning light, foraging in the forest for natural harvests and enjoying the return of summer. Amelie loves winter despite the extreme cold, and the peace of their surroundings helps her to heal. As readers, we share their feelings and gradually learn more of a secret from Cleome’s past. Amelie finds a soul mate in Tarek, a young refugee from war-torn Syria, who has lost loved ones. An asylum seeker, he experiences racism such as we are familiar with in this country.

After briefly returning to Oxford for unfinished business, Amelie and Cleome come back to summer in Sweden. Amelie helps Helen with her medical visits to refugee families while Cleome tries to reunite with someone from her past.  The long recovery period of both women is played out against the changes of nature as the guilt they bear softens. The beginning of a new future for the whole community is revealed in a very satisfactory conclusion. At times gripping and very sad, the outcome of hope and new life makes this beautiful novel life-enhancing.

Snow Angels on Amazon UK

My review of Finding Verity by Jenny Loudon

A good book 'n a Brew

Makes everything better

Sharon E. Cathcart

Award-Winning Author of Heart-Warming Romance and Historical Fiction with a Twist!

From First Page to Last

A space to share book reviews and other book related treats



Babsje Heron

Great Blue Herons: A study in patience and grace

Rutherford Reads

Reading, reviewing and recommending books

Peaceful at Dawn

Capturing nature's peacefulness one photo at a time.

Wordy Witterings

On Reading and Writing... mostly.

Adventures with the Michigan Mama

This mama always has something to do and share

Edge of Humanity Magazine

An Independent Non-Discriminatory Platform With No Religious, Political, Financial, or Social Affiliations

Anne Is Reading

Books, books and more books

The Book Decoder

Book Reviews By A Geek

Between the Pages

Book Review and Lifestyle Blog


Original Pictures from Nouvelle Aquitaine

Richard Lakin's Blog

Short stories, poems, journalism

Kelly Lacey & Love Books Tours

Organising successful book promotion for authors since 2018

the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

JennyLou's book reviews

My escape from reality reading books

Maria Vincent Robinson

Photographer Of Life and moments


Be it always Less, So It can be More.

Le Drake Noir


Read Betwixt Words

Books, Reviews, Recommendations and occasionally Poetry

Sue's Musings

Mostly Book Reviews - many genres.

Hooked From Page One

Find your next crime fiction read here . . .

%d bloggers like this: