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The Freeman Files Series: Books 1-3 (The Freeman Files Box Set) (affiliate link)
Gus Freeman, a retired Detective Inspector, has spent the past three years alone. His wife, Tess, died from a brain aneurysm six months to the day after retirement. He is still coming to terms with his enforced solitary existence. His old boss wants Gus to head up a Crime Review Team investigating cold cases. Gus can’t resist the chance to enter the fray for one last hurrah.
A newly-formed Crime Review Team is tackling cold cases. Austerity cuts mean Gus Freeman only has a team of three to assist him. Trudi Villiers, a 26-year-old barmaid, was murdered as she walked home in October 2003. Trudi may have been a good-time girl with a string of lovers, but she was someone’s daughter. Gus wants his team to find the truth about what happened to her on that fateful night.
Laura Mallinder left home for work on Sunday, 12th June 2011. She walked to ‘Gentle Touch’, a massage parlour in Broadgreen, Swindon. Her boss, Maggie Monk, discovered her body later that evening. Laura, twenty-seven years old, sustained fatal stab wounds to her back. Unfortunately, the victim’s profession might make it hard to find someone to speak up.
The School Run Reject Club (affiliate link)
Carrie Crawford is a woman on a mission.
She never thought she’d be back in the north east of England as a single mum, but now that she is, the future looks bright. She’s landed a great new job as political editor of her local paper, and she’s determined to finally make her journalistic mark on the world. Best of all, her five-year-old son, Thomas, has finally stopped eating crayons.
But Carrie finds she is unprepared for the new challenges she’s about to face. The conspiracies. The power plays. The backstabbing. She thought that kind of thing was the preserve of Westminster politics. Turns out the House of Commons has nothing on the gates of Hawthorn Primary.
Carrie finds herself embroiled in a battle that makes Parliament look like a soft-play party (minus the chicken nuggets), and it seems she can’t stop opening her mouth and making enemies. She’s surrounded by other mums, but she’s never felt so alone.
Festive Flings (Festive Flings Collection Book 1) (affiliate link)
Jamie Knowles is facing a Christmas all alone after her childhood sweetheart dumped her for another woman. Until she realises for the first time in her adult life she is very single and ready to mingle. She may be ready to find something new, but has the man of her dreams always been right in front of her?
Jamie’s older sister, Billie, is married with children, but both her and her husband can feel the spark fading in their marriage. In order to save their marriage, they decide to spice things back up both in and out of the bedroom as a Christmas present to one another.
Jamie’s work colleague and friend, Tim, has a particular taste in women. In the past he has worried about his friends’ reactions. When he meets a woman, one who ticks all his boxes, can they both be brave enough to take what they want?
The Wedding Cake (Foodie Romance Journeys) (affiliate link)
One steamy summer in Spain. One accidentally double-booked eight-tier wedding cake that needs to put in a same day appearance at a rustic countryside finca AND a beachside villa. Two brides. Two grooms. Hundreds of hungry guests.
FREYA ASHCROFT, owner and culinary whizz at Marbella’s five star bakery (and general queen of dating disasters), is going to need a miracle to save this date. If only that was her sole dilemma. She’s also fallen head over heels in love with super hot fitness instructor, TIM NUTKINS… and his rippling abs.
Which would be fine, if he wasn’t one of her aforementioned male clients.
A Duchess, her trusted butler and a nose-it-all furry sidekick. So much about this affair is unlikely. A Princess who must be a Princess but behaves like an imposter. A death that might be accidental. A random attack, a random murder… is it all just conjecture and happenstance or… Can Lady Mary uncover the secret plan before she’s dispatched like her predecessor?
London, 1958. Lady Mary, Duchess of Snodsbury has received a royal dispatch to travel to London to prepare the last of the debutants for entrance into society. News of the demise of the previous trainer has Mary on high alert–as is her sharp nosed corgi, Barkley. Add in a gaggle of teenaged debutants, a protective butler, and a spirited cook and our heroine will be embroidered in a murder mystery of generations. Will the debutants prove helpful in uncovering secret plans or will she find out that the culprit is within her ranks?
Sheet Pan Cooking: From Oven to Table, Quick & Easy (affiliate link)
If you’re beginning to tire of soups and stews and miss the taste of crisp, well-browned roasts, it’s time to turn to your baking sheet pan. But sheet pan dinners are not limited to meat recipes. You can have vegetarian and seafood dinners as well. Sheet pan meals usually include not only protein sources but also plenty of vegetables. The taste and texture of roasted vegetables may just convince your finicky eaters to appreciate veggies after all.
Speed need not sacrifice quality. One sheet pan can contain several servings that can be prepared once and stored for convenient reheating the rest of the week. Ingredients can also be pre-chopped, marinated and frozen so they’re ready to use when needed. The sheet pan’s high capacity also lets you easily prepare large quantities for family gatherings and the like.
Inside, you’ll find:
•Tips for preparing sheet pan meals
•Wholesome chicken recipes like the Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables, the Moroccan Chicken with Olives and the Prosciutto Chicken with Baby Tomatoes
•Satisfying vegetarian recipes like the Tofu with Vegetables, the Ratatouille with Goat Cheese and the Winter Veggies with Tahini-Mustard Sauce
•Bountiful pork and beef recipes such as the Five Spice Pork Chops with Pineapple & Broccoli, the Simple Savory Pork Roast, The Marinated Lamb Chops with Roasted Vegetables, and the Garlic-Butter Steak with Veggies
•Delightful fish and seafood recipes such as the Herbed Fish & Tomatoes, the Shrimp-Asparagus Roast, and the Salmon with Ranch Seasoning
The Last Hurrah: A Novel (affiliate link)
“We’re living in a sensitive age, Cuke, and I’m not altogether sure you’re fully attuned to it.” So says Irish-American politician Frank Skeffington—a cynical, corrupt 1950s mayor, and also an old-school gentleman who looks after the constituents of his New England city and enjoys their unwavering loyalty in return. But in our age of dynasties, mercurial social sensitivities, and politicians making love to the camera, Skeffington might as well be talking to us.
Not quite a roman á clef of notorious Boston mayor James Michael Curley, The Last Hurrah tells the story of Skeffington’s final campaign as witnessed through the eyes of his nephew, who learns a great deal about politics as he follows his uncle to fundraisers, wakes, and into smoke-filled rooms, ultimately coming—almost against his will—to admire the man.
Adapted into a 1958 film starring Spencer Tracy and directed by John Ford (and which Curley tried to keep from being made), Edwin O’Connor’s opus reveals politics as it really is, and big cities as they really were. An expansive, humorous novel offering deep insight into the Irish-American experience and the ever-changing nature of the political machine, The Last Hurrah reveals political truths still true today: what the cameras capture is just the smiling face of the sometimes sordid business of giving the people what they want.
Freckles (affiliate link)
Raised in a Chicago orphanage and missing one hand, Freckles has survived a harsh childhood. When he becomes a security guard for a timber company in Indiana’s Limberlost swamp, he comes to embrace the beauty of the wilderness and the many animals he encounters on his daily rounds, finally finding his place in the world and the courage to open his heart.
One of the most well-known authors of her time, Gene Stratton-Porter was a nature activist whose novels reflected her love of the Indiana wetlands she called home.
The Master and Margarita (affiliate link)
The Master and Margarita has been captivating readers around the world ever since its first publication in 1967. Written during Stalin’s time in power but suppressed in the Soviet Union for decades, Bulgakov’s masterpiece is an ironic parable on power and its corruption, on good and evil, and on human frailty and the strength of love.
In The Master and Margarita, the Devil himself pays a visit to Soviet Moscow. Accompanied by a retinue that includes the fast-talking, vodka-drinking, giant tomcat Behemoth, he sets about creating a whirlwind of chaos that soon involves the beautiful Margarita and her beloved, a distraught writer known only as the Master, and even Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate. The Master and Margarita combines fable, fantasy, political satire, and slapstick comedy to create a wildly entertaining and unforgettable tale that is commonly considered the greatest novel to come out of the Soviet Union.
Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Celebrations (affiliate link)
The Crescent City chef takes readers on a tour of the city’s many food festivals with recipes guaranteed to get the party started.
New Orleans is known as the Festival Capital of the World, hosting dozens of annual festivals that showcase the unique food and multicultural heritage of the city. Now the star of New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton invites home chefs everywhere to experience the celebratory culture of the Big Easy with these essential and irresistible Louisiana dishes.
Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Celebrations is a smorgasbord of delicious creations from vibrant festivals like the French Market Creole Tomato Festival, Bastille Day Fête, the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, and more. Recipes include Ham Croquettes with Pear Pepper Jelly, Bacon and Barbecue Quiche, Crawfish Enchiladas and Creole Tomato, and Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese.
Dirty Exes (Liars, Inc. Book 1) (affiliate link)
Blaire has never quite gotten over Jessie Beckett, the ex–NFL star whose kisses were hot enough to ignite the entire Eastern Seaboard. When he chose work over her, Blaire was left brokenhearted. Why else would she have married a skeezy two-timer, just to divorce him less than a year later?
Now Blaire is getting even by becoming one half of Dirty Exes, a PI firm fully committed to humiliating cheating jerks. If only the new jerk she’s been hired to uncover wasn’t Jessie Beckett himself.
Exposing Jessie isn’t going to be easy, especially when she still daydreams about his sexy smile. Further complicating matters is Colin, Jessie’s best friend. He’s gorgeous, a little bit cunning, and willing to help Blaire get the inside scoop on Jessie—for a price.
Now caught between two men—one totally right and the other totally wrong—Blaire will need to decide just how much she’s willing to risk…and whom she’s willing to risk it for.
A Queen in Hiding (The Nine Realms Book 1) (affiliate link)
Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cerulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.
But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.
… See the rest of today ‘s Book Picks here on page 2Page 2