Book Review: A Time to Die by Hazel Holt

A time to dieA Time to Die by Hazel Holt


When Sheila Malory’s granddaughter starts riding lessons at the local riding school, Sheila is happy to have the excuse to spend time there with her friends who run the place. The affable Charlie Hamilton, former Olympic show jumper and owner of the school, and his wife Josephine seem to have bounced back from previous incurred debts and are living a charmed existence teaching the local children to ride.

But is everything quite as it seems?

When Charlie’s body is found in the stables the inhabitants of Taviscombe are left appalled and disturbed. His death is the first of a succession of unexplained sinister happenings, and with the local police at a loss, it is left to Sheila, at her most persistent, to get to the bottom of the mystery.

My Review:

This is supposed to be a nice cosy mystery story, told through the eyes of Sheila Malory, who lives in the small town of Taviscombe, England.

A Time to Die is one of a series, and having not read any of the other books, I was instantly confused. This needn’t have been the case but for the appalling first thirty or so pages of this book. All it takes is a few short paragraphs to give the reader a bit of background information, establishing the protagonist and their circumstances. But all there was in this particular cosy, was incessant conversation from a quite a few unintroduced characters, and those characters talking about even more unknown characters, to completely confuse things and leave one re-reading to try and follow what and whom they were talking about. Ugh!

I kept reading in anticipation of somebody being killed off and the story picking up dramatically. Which it actually did thank goodness. And by the time a second character died, I had actually grasped who was who in this small town and was able to enjoy the story a lot more (no longer having to re-read sections and stop and start).

Something else that bugged me about this book, was that Sheila hardly did any snooping or investigating of her own. She simply seemed to be the trusted person to whom people shared their information with. While that’s quite fine to an extent, I really felt that it was just a bit too convenient that she was privy to so much relevant information regarding the mystery, instead of having to be a lot more pushy and follow her own leads.
Perhaps she did a lot more investigating in other books in the series.

While I found myself enjoying the companionship of Sheila and her best friend Rosemary, the story itself was not particularly gripping, and in terms of a “whodunnit”, very disappointing. The loose ends and unsolved questions were only tied up and answered in the last five pages, hence very anticlimactic, and left my appetite for a murder mystery completely unsatisfied.

Two out of five stars.


Beauty Review: EcoTan Tinted All Natural Coconut Sunscreen SPF 30

I apply EcoTan’s Tinted All Natural Coconut Sunscreen every time I leave the house. It’s pretty much my essential beauty product. It protects my skin from UV damage, smoothes out my skin imperfections (I usually have at least one zit somewhere), and adds a lovely base colour for applying my powder foundation.

While natural zinc oxide provides sun protection, shea butter and cucumber soothe and moisturise skin leaving it beautifully conditioned and smelling divine! This natural sunscreen also contains antioxidant rich jojoba and rosehip oils, helping to keep skin protected.

This product is the best tinted moisturiser I have used and in terms of value for money it can’t be beaten! I have been using my current tube for 3 months now and still have plenty of product left.

I like to apply right down to my décolletage, which completely eliminates that embarrassing line on the jaw, where your face is one colour and your neck is another! Plus it is so easy to get sunburnt at the base of the neck – especially with scoop or v-neck tops, that area of skin is often forgotten and suffers sun damage and premature ageing. This beautiful tinted sunscreen protects and looks great.

In my opinion, it works best underneath foundation – I prefer a mineral powder that is a slight shade darker than this sunscreen – which is a very light natural colour. And the powder mops up any excess shine from the sunscreen. Although I think it gives more of a healthy moist look, rather than a shiny sunscreen look.

This product gets a 9 out of 10 stars from me. 

It is available at

Winter Reading Challenge

So I am joining my lovely fellow bookworms on Goodreads in a Winter Reading Challenge! I am super excited to get started and winter is just the perfect time to curl up in a blanket with a cuppa and a good book!

For this challenge, you pick six books with titles that spell out WINTER. So a title starting with W, then title starting with I and so on. Then you pick a book from each of the following categories: a new release (published in June, July or August), a YA (young adult) title by an Australian author, an indie title by an Australian author, and then a speculative fiction, historical fiction, and mystery title.

Here is my list:

WWolfsbane and Mistletoe by Charlaine Harris

IIt Started With A Kiss by Lisa Heidke

NThe Night Season by Chelsea Cain

TTime of Death by Alex Barclay

EEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

RRage by Jonathan Kellerman

New Release – TBA

Australian YAThe Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Australian IndieWorlds Apart by Ber Carroll

Speculative FictionWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Historical FictionBittersweet by Colleen McCullough

MysteryThrough the Grinder by Cleo Coyle

The Challenge starts on the 1st of June. If you would like to join in you can find the Aussie Readers Winter Challenge on Goodreads using this link—1-6-15—31-8-15?page=1

Please note the link provided is to a group for Aussie Readers only, but anyone can do their own winter reading challenge!

Review: Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan

burnt paper sky

It was with some trepidation that I started reading Burnt Paper Sky by author Gilly Macmillan. Two and a half years ago I gave birth to my precious daughter and I was suddenly overwhelmed with fears and anxiety for this beautiful tiny creature that I was now responsible for. I never thought about what a potentially dangerous and sinister world we live in until I became a mother.

Enter the blurb for Burnt Paper Sky.

“Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.

But what really happened that fateful afternoon?

Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?



The story is told from both Rachel and DI James Clemo’s perspectives, with a few web page posts and other transcripts thrown in. As various family members and people close to the boy are investigated, secrets are revealed and the relationships are put under pressure.

I found this book to be very well-written and it kept me intrigued until the final pages. The climatic ending was fantastic and the after effects of the whole experience described in very real and raw detail. Every mother’s worst nightmare comes to harsh light through the skilled writing of Macmillan. Slightly reminiscent of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in terms of the feel and flow of the story.

A great thriller. Four stars.

Thank you so much to the author and publishers for my copy which I won through Goodreads.

Currently Reading….


Whenever I finish a book, I am faced with the task of picking my next read from my stacks and stacks of unread books. It is a hard task having so many to choose from – I get so excited about my recently purchased books that I often forget about the ones that have been patiently waiting at the bottom of my pile (the poor things lol).

So I’ve had Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files on my to-read list for quite awhile – it’s a well known and popular book series and I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have yet to read them, especially with myself being such a huge fan of the genre.

I will start it tonight, and if its really good I’ll probably be up for hours, snuggled up in my donna, with my little purple cat booklight and finance snoring next to me!

Hello world!

A blog, a blog, an actual real live blog.

I must confess, I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m not really very tech savvy, but I’ll just jump in and give it a go anyway.

So what I want to share is a bit of beauty – reviews of my favourite green skin and beauty products, and also books – I am a reading addict and I’m thinking about giving myself a big book challenge.

I’m thinking the challenge could be to read and review one book per week…….or perhaps more……I think one book a day would be far too much, I mean when would I have time to clean my toilet? lol

Anyhoo, I’m off to figure out how to do this……….