book review · cheese · comedy · cosy · France · fun · relationships · romance · women's fiction

Reading for Fun – Fromage à Trois

Fromage à Trois

by Victoria Brownlee


Meet Ella, on the brink of turning 30 and full of regret for a life only half lived.

In a haze of heartbreak after splitting up with the man she thought she was going to marry, she makes the only decision that seems rational and buys a one-way ticket to Paris, embarking on a pilgrimage of food, wine, and joie de vivre.

After arriving, Ella struggles to grasp the nuances of French manners and friendship. She soon finds herself caught between two men who inhabit opposite ends of the Paris food scene, getting wined and dined by one, and inadvertently making a bet to try every type of French fromage with the other.

As the seasons change, Ella realizes that there’s more to life in France than champagne and cheese. At some point the Eiffel Tower stops sparkling and she needs to decide where her heart truly lies.

My review:

This was such an easy story to read because the main character, Ella, is so likeable. The soon to be 30 Australian shrugs off a broken relationship and heads for France for a year of adventure à la Française! And who can blame her? Her former boyfriend of almost a decade has decided he needs to “find himself”, a statement that comes as quite a shock when she really expects a marriage proposal.
The idea of returning to live with her mum and carrying on in the same old job drives her to pack up her things and apply for a one-year working visa in France. What’s the worst that can happen?
Finding a job is not easy, nor is finding somewhere to live. Life in France is much more expensive than she anticipated, especially in Paris. When she finds a room-share in an upmarket part of the city, she feels she has turned a corner. Sharing the apartment with a mother and son is not ideal, especially as the 40-year-old son seems to develop a crush on her. Another move is on the cards, and a new friend at the coffee shop offers her a solution -and a wonderful one at that.
Fortunately, despite a rocky start, the one constant in her life is cheese. and a bet with the owner of the fromagerie sets her a challenge to try all French cheeses during her year-long stay. This is a challenge she readily accepts, after all she’s a cheese-a-holic and there can’t be more than a hundred or so, can there?
Ella’s life begins to revolve around cheese, but steadily she makes friends, finds a French ‘boyfriend’ and her job prospects multiply. She is living her dream life. Isn’t she?

This is a feel-good story, with believable characters and a gorgeous cheese-filled insight into a Parisian lifestyle. There is romance, deception, fun, family, heartache and love – and more cheese than you can imagine. A really enjoyable light read.

a dog's life · book review · cosy · mystery · Reading for Fun · series · there's a dog

Reading for Fun – Cruel Candy

Cruel Candy

The Cozy Corgi Mysteries #1

by Mildred Abbott

I’m taking a break from doing blog tours and book reviews, and am indulging in a few cosy mysteries to lighten the load. and, this one has a corgi in it. It’s a win-win before I even start to read it. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a whole series of these to come too.

#excitedmuch #corgiaddict #cosymysteryheaven

Estes Park, Colorado: picturesque mountains, charming shops, delightful bakeries, a cozy bookstore… and murder.

Winifred Page and her corgi, Watson, move to Estes Park to hit the reset button on life. Fred is about to open her dream bookshop, and the only challenges she anticipates are adjusting to small town life, tourists, and living close to her loveable mother, Phyllis, and hippy stepfather, Barry.

When Fred steps into her soon-to-be-bookshop for the first time, she expects dust bunnies and spiders… not the dead body in the upstairs kitchen. The local police have an easy suspect—Barry.

Determined to prove quirky Barry innocent of murder, Fred puts on her detective hat, and with Watson by her side, she explores her new town and gets acquainted with her fellow shopkeepers. Could one of her friendly neighbors be the real culprit? And what would be the motive for killing the owner of the Sinful Bites candy store? The secrets Fred discover put her at odds with the local police sergeant and threaten her cozy future in Estes.

With snow falling outside, all Fred wants to do is curl up by the fire with a good book and Watson snuggled at her feet. But before she can begin her new life and put her plans for her bookshop into action, Fred and Watson have a mystery to solve…

My Review:

Not that I’m obsessed by everything corgi-related, but … (Okay, so I might be!) Anyway, this was a gem of a story. Great characters with real individuality (not just Watson, who is wonderful), and a super mystery within (plus a recipe that sounds easy enough even for me). A modern-day cosy mystery with lots of humour, fun family hijinks and a corgi with personality and a penchant for treats.
I totally felt a part of Estes Park, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series. How will Fred’s bookstore fare? Who will take over the bakery? And who will be the victor in the romance stakes – Branson or Leo? Book 2 is already on my TBR, awaiting a rainy day of indulgence.

Thanks for reading 😉

blog tour · Bloggers · book review · contemporary fiction · friendship · suspense · thought provoking · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Benevolent Dictator

The Benevolent Dictator

by Tom Trott

The Benevolent Dictator

Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.

Get your copy from the author’s website or Amazon

My Review: 4/5 stars

The slow ordinariness  of the first few pages might lead you to thinking this book is a drawn-out soliloquy of an undergraduate going through the motions of everyday student life. But you’d be wrong. This novella quickly transforms into a fast-paced, high-energy tale that I had to read in one sitting.

Ben isn’t your regular student. He shuns the parties and drinking fests in favour of study. He knows what he wants from life, but is unsure how to get it. So he controls the one thing he can – his education. A cross-university debate introduces him to Amal, the sheikh-student who goes on to win the argument that “Ideology is dead”. A later encounter, thanks to one of Ben’s quirky friends, sees the two young men discuss their life options. A subsequent invitation to a family ‘do’ gives Ben a taste of the life Amal has. A lifestyle that is then offered to Ben, when Amal’s elder brother suffers a fatal accident,  pushing an unprepared Amal to the forefront of his country’s ruling monarchy. While his father, the King, still lives, failing health means Amal will be king in the very near future – a prospect he had always been happy to defer to his now-dead brother.

In situ as Amal’s adviser, Ben not only has to learn about his new friend’s country (Argolis) but he also encounters a mocking and hostile attitude from the King’s own top adviser – Daniel – who sees him as a nuisance and inconvenience to be tolerated and put down at every opportunity.

The comparison of the British and Arab systems of governing are all too apparent as Ben struggles with the idea of public executions, and the absence of women in any role beyond domesticity. Meetings with fellow Brits add a touch of humour, particularly “the empire party” serving up Marmite, football and episodes of The Antique roadshow. Since Argolis had once been under British rule, it was amusing and fascinating to see the subtle power play going on between the unassuming Brits – who, on the face of things, seem like thoroughly good chaps! Say no more …

The ending was a little abrupt for my liking. I felt sure there was more to Rania’s story (Amal’s sister) than was mentioned, and I would have like a definitive ending for Amal – some explanation, acknowledgement of what happened to him.

Overall, a really enjoyable, exciting read – I would have loved it to be longer and for the ending to be more developed, but, that aside, it was an interesting and well-written story that kept me hooked from start to end.

PS – I loved the idea of a certain former UK Prime Minister (with ‘connections’ to Middle Eastern affairs) popping by for a visit, only for it to be … (well, I couldn’t really say what happened, could I? But I loved the relevancy and, even more so, the outcome!!)

About the author:

Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils.

Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest.

He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.

Catch up with Tom on Twitter, Facebook or via his website 

 

Read more reviews, excerpts and author interviews throughout this blog tour.

Thanks for reading 😉

blog tour · Bloggers · book review · Chile · political · suspense · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Glass Diplomat

The Glass Diplomat

by S.R. Wilsher

The Glass Diplomat

In 1973 Chile, as General Augusto Pinochet seizes power, thirteen-year-old English schoolboy Charlie Norton watches his father walk into the night and never return. Taken in by diplomat, Tomas Abrego, his life becomes intricately linked to the family.
Despite his love for the Abrego sisters, he’s unable to prevent Maria falling under the spell of a left-wing revolutionary, or Sophia from marrying the right-wing Minister of Justice.
His connection to the family is complicated by the growing impression that Tomas Abrego was somehow involved in his father’s disappearance.
As the conflict of a family divided by politics comes to a head on the night of the 1989 student riots, Charlie has to act to save the sisters from an enemy they cannot see.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

My review.

The Glass Diplomat is quite literary in its style of writing with beautiful imagery and phrasing, signs of a talented author and a good tale ahead.

It was way more than a good tale, though. I loved this story.

For Charlie, as a young teenager, spending the summer holidays in Chile where his father ran a business, proved to be a life changer. Not only was he introduced to the Abrego sisters (Maria and Sophia – poles apart, yet equally as tempting for Charlie. They became the forbidden fruit that constantly enticed him back), but he also witnessed his father’s ‘disappearance’ – a puzzle that plagued him for years to come.

Charlie’s father came across as a strong, principled man. Following his ‘disappearance’, his character was twisted by many, including the Diplomat himself, Señor Tomas Abrego (father to Maria and Sophia) – to suit their corrupt purposes. The manner in which the author kept digging for the truth through Charlie led to some fascinating and emotionally torturous scenes – his father’s implied affair with Abrego’s wife, his refusal to succumb to the demands of some rather sinister businessmen who wanted to take over his factory and use it for armaments. The tension and mystery in those scenes proved to be very clever plotting. Totally absorbing.

Time and time again Charlie – a journalist in adulthood – would return to Chile. Each time I yelled at him not to go. (You know it’s a good book when you ‘talk’ to the characters. Or is that just me?) Anyway, he wouldn’t listen, and his connections to the infamous diplomat Tomas, made him an obvious choice for his editor. Although, it wasn’t just the pursuance of a newsworthy story that drew Charlie back to Chile. Those Abrego girls – Maria, the lively young photographer, caught up with a rebel, and Sophia, the elder daughter, putting duty first as her mother had done – lured him like a siren.

However, the backstory – while fascinating – did take up a lot of the story. I almost had forgotten the opening scenes when Charlie was battered and bruised and expecting a brutal death. It was 65% (Kindle) before the story returned to that scene.

The pace picked up considerably after the halfway point, the stakes amplified with each visit he made to Chile. As a journalist, his articles were refreshing. Through them, he told the reader how he saw things, he didn’t hide his personal connection, nor did he try to force anyone to accept his point of view. He provided facts, sources, evidence – it was exciting to read his articles, worrying too that he was making life worse for himself and potentially those he loved. That he went back to Chile so often, proved what a good man he was – the Abrego sisters had a hold over him, and he’d do whatever he could to help them. Each time the stakes grew higher as he became more embroiled in their lives – no longer just the crush of a thirteen year old boy.

As he finally understood what had happened to his father, he became more confident in the steps he had to take. Nonetheless, he always seemed quite vulnerable, as though the balance might tip against him at any given moment. He walked a tightrope between Chile and London, where he struggled to find the love of his life and settle down. Of course, it became clear where his heart lay – or rather with whom. Although, solving his father’s ‘disappearance’ was always at the forefront of his mind, sometimes he seemed more driven by that than by looking out for himself and the woman he loved.

This was an interesting insight into a different time and a different culture – when corruption via threats and violence won the day, when a wife turned a blind eye to her husband’s affairs, and when speaking up or offering an alternative meant a certain death.

I appreciated learning what became of the Chilean men who had so dramatically – and horribly – influenced his life but I felt the tying up of loose ends in the final chapters was too drawn out.

All in all, though, I shall remember this story for its great characters, fabulous settings, high intrigue, tension and drama. Coupled with phrases like “He also wore a small, gratuitous red tartan scarf, as if he was the Grim Reaper dressed by Vivienne Westwood” and “Tomas Abrego sounded like a butcher happy to sell you sausages, but not talk about its contents”, this was a riveting story, beautifully crafted and thoughtfully told. I’ll be adding SR Wilsher’s future work to my reading list without a second doubt.

About the author:

It didn’t occur to me to write until I was twenty-two, prompted by reading a disappointing book by an author I’d previously liked. I wrote thirty pages of a story I abandoned because it didn’t work on any level. I moved on to a thriller about lost treasure in Central America; which I finished, but never showed to anyone. Two more went the way of the first, and I forgave the author.
After that I became more interested in people-centric stories. I also decided I needed to get some help with my writing, and studied for a degree with the OU. I chose Psychology partly because it was an easier sell to my family than Creative Writing. But mainly because it suited the changing tastes of my writing. When I look back, so many of my choices have been about my writing.
I’ve been writing all my adult life, but nine years ago I had a kidney transplant which interrupted my career, to everyone’s relief. It did mean my output increased, and I developed a work plan that sees me with two projects on the go at any one time. Although that has taken a hit in recent months as I’m currently renovating a house and getting to know my very new granddaughter.
I write for no other reason than I enjoy it deeply. I like the challenge of making a story work. I get a thrill from tinkering with the structure, of creating characters that I care about, and of manipulating a plot that unravels unpredictably, yet logically. I like to write myself into a corner and then see how I can escape. To me, writing is a puzzle I like to spend my time trying to solve.

Catch up with the author on Twitter or via his Website.

You can read more reviews and excerpts on the following blogs:

Thanks for reading 😉

blog tour · Bloggers · book launch · book review · Contemporary Romance · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Things We Leave Unsaid

The Things We Leave Unsaid

by Megan Mayfair

The Things We Leave Unsaid

Is it the things we don’t say that haunt us the most?

Clare is anxious to start a family with adoring husband, Pete. When she takes on the seemingly simple task of obtaining her late mother’s birth certificate, she finds herself in a family history search that will challenge everything she thought she knew about her life.

Scarred by her parents’ ill-fated marriage, Tessa lives by three rules – dating unavailable men, building her café into a food empire, and avoiding her father. However, when her carefully planned life is thrown into chaos, Tessa is forced to decide which of these rules she’s willing to break.

As Clare and Tessa’s paths cross and their friendship grows, can they both finally unlock their family secrets in order to realise their futures?

Get your copy from Amazon UK / US

My review.

Set in Australia, and centring upon a trendy coffee/cake shop, The Things We Leave Unsaid tells the stories of Clare and Tessa through alternating chapters.

Both women are very different. Clare, a quiet, naïve young woman, has recently moved as a result of her husband’s new job. Tessa, a confident, savvy young woman, is ambitious and decidedly single. When Clare takes a part-time job at the coffee/cake shop, the two women develop a friendship.

Tessa has devoted her time so far to creating marvellous cakes for the coffee shop, and her marketing strategy is in need of some attention. Fortunately, Clare has those skills and soon shows her worth through PR suggestions that help to attract new customers. Together, the two women work well, their skills complimenting each other and the future looks rosy.

There is some real humour to be found in the coffee shop. Co-worker Harry is quick with his one-liners, but the funniest moments come with Sam (an on-off boyfriend to Tessa) and his client Zoe; she seeks Clare’s PR help in promoting her career.

On the family front, Tessa hasn’t seen her father in years (he left the family for another woman), and is dealing with her mum’s dementia virtually alone. When her father returns to Australia, Tessa’s bitterness overwhelms her attitude to him. She struggles to let him back into her life and doesn’t want him anywhere near her mum, for fear of her being upset.

Clare and Pete are expecting their first child, amid much excitement from Pete’s large family. Clare feels a little swamped by all the attention, as she was raised by just her Nan since her mother died when she was young. As a soon-to-be mum, she is keen to find out more about her own mum but the search for birth and death certification is nowhere near as straightforward as she expects or hopes.

The author handles both characters with great attention to detail. I really felt as though I was getting to know them personally as the story progressed. Although, I did begin to find Tessa quite annoying by constantly questioning herself, and making rash decisions then regretting them. In fact, I was quite pleased when Dr Sharma – with whom she begins a relationship and then ends it as the commitment-phobe she is – turns her away when she returns with her tail between her legs. It teaches her a lesson that she needs to learn, and was quite refreshing to read. I also felt she is quite controlling regarding her father’s access to her mum, until she realises that her reaction is based on her own anger and not necessarily what is best for her mum. Again, these were very realistic emotions and behaviours.

Clare, I found to be needy, quite selfish at times, perhaps understandably so given the fact that she and Pete go through some very tough times. However, she does cut him out, as though his grief is not as real or as painful as her’s. I could totally empathise with her, and felt the author portrayed her in a very authentic manner.

As the story wraps up, it’s good to see how both women change. The issues they go through are handled with sensitivity, and are experiences that many readers will encounter themselves. The problems they overcome influence their lives positively, and they both become stronger as a result.

As the title suggests, we can never know truly what’s going on in a person’s life, and sometimes the things we omit to reveal to others are no less important in determining the way we react or the decisions we make.

This is a feel-good story (eventually), filled with real life issues and emotions. If you enjoy a compelling story, a touch of romance, fun and sadness in equal measures, then this story will serve you well.

About the author

Megan Mayfair is a Melbourne-based writer who draws inspiration from her beautiful hometown and regional Victoria to create contemporary women’s fiction, containing a big dash of romance and a spoonful of family intrigue.
With a background in public relations, copywriting and higher education, Megan is passionate about words and loves to bring them to life on the page. Megan holds a Master of Arts in professional communication and is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and Writers Victoria.
Megan is married with three children, loves a good cup of coffee and believes you can never have too many scarves.

You can follow Megan on her website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

For more reviews, excerpts and author interviews, check out other blogs on the tour:

Amazon reviews · Victory

My little Amazon victory

Apologies in advance, as this blog post is rather self-indulgent, but I’ve decided that even the smallest of victories against the Zon deserve to be celebrated.

If you’re anything like me, then Amazon is a frequent port of call whenever you NEED something … now. Or at least by tomorrow. While my main purchases are books, I’m not averse to buying ‘stuff’ for myself and my friends. (My home Amazon site is Spain, so I often order items for friends and neighbours because of the language barrier)

Consequently my order history is pretty extensive, and barely a day goes by that Amazon doesn’t email me and ask what I thought of product X, Y, or Z.

Call me naïve, but when I’m asked for an opinion, I tend to give it. (Some people have learnt not to ask, especially if it concerns Brexit). So, I was more than happy to tootle over to Amazon and leave reviews for all items recently received.

I must add that this year has been quite stressful in terms of leaving Amazon reviews. Chats with Amazon staff spanned weeks, before they could give me an answer to the “There has been an error. Please resubmit” message that I kept getting whenever I tried to post on the US or UK sites.

Why not generate a message that tells the reviewer the real reason? In plain English? Is that too much to ask?

I realise many others have also been affected by the reason for this message – the enforcement of the $50 rule that requires expenditure on a country’s site before they can leave a review – but my point was the message didn’t say that. DID IT? Resubmit means try again, not go away because you’re not welcome here.

See what I mean? Stressful!

As already mentioned, my purchases are mainly books, and I know how much authors thrive on reviews. In the past I could comment on a book both on Amazon US and UK. No more. Now, my reviews exist on amazon.es, and so are rarely seen by even my favourite authors. (Be honest, do you trawl international sites, in particular non-English-speaking sites for your book’s reviews?)

Right, that rant is over. So, there I was leaving my reviews. One for a book, so the review was written in English. (They allow that, as the item is clearly marked “English edition”). The other three items that day were for a variety of non book-related products. I tapped away, happily saying how pleased I was with item X; how much my neighbour had loved item Y, and finally how I would recommend item Z. So, all reviews were positive, 4 to 5 stars, written in Spanish, of sufficient length and clearly relevant to the item purchased. I hit send on each one and logged out.

Within minutes (now, this is rare, it usually takes a day or so) I got 4 emails in response to my reviews.  Two had been accepted and two rejected. And they sent me a really useful list of things to include in my reviews and suggested I resubmit. Yes, that word again! That didn’t sit well with me. At all.

So I checked my phrasing, checked the number of characters (which is the daftest rule on the planet!!) and I compared my ‘potential’ reviews to those already visible for the products concerned. There was nothing adrift.

This was an algorithm issue, clearly.

And I hate algorithms with a vengeance. It was time to speak out. Although, as the poor relation in Amazonland, we only have the option of email. So, chomping at the bit, I pounded the keyboard to ask why my reviews had been rejected. What had I done wrong?

Earlier today – less than 24 hours later –  I got a reply that they have accepted my reviews and both will be visible within 48 hours. No reason for the initial rejection. No changes required. No apology.

Typical, you might say. But how many others are put off from leaving a review because some algorithm says, ‘hey, that’s enough for today. Your opinion only counts when we say so’?

While it might seem trivial to some, this was a victory for me. Not the most important piece of news out there, but it mattered to me. time for the happy dance. Or maybe ice-cream; it’s too hot to dance.

So, Amazon, if you ask me for my opinion again, you should jolly well publish it – and any others that are rejected for no reason whatsoever. In fact, you should really take another look at what the root cause of this was – those pesky algorithms. Sort it out! I’m pretty sure you have both the funds and the wherewithal to do much better.

 

To everyone, who has made it this far – Thanks for reading 😉

On behalf of writers everywhere, if you read a book, please do leave a review – if you’re allowed

(and if not, complain!)

Bloggers · book blitz · dystopian · futuristic · must-read

Blog Blitz ‘n’ Book Review – The Gathering

The Gathering

by Bernadette Giacomazzo

I’m delighted to be taking part in this one day blitz and review for The Gathering, the first in the dystopian series, The Uprising. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite.

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

Get your copy here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Add to your reading list on Goodreads.

My review

4/5 stars

As a huge fan of dystopian stories, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this book. It did not disappoint. It was a fast-paced, exciting read, in which the correlation with the modern, political world was humorous and scary in equal parts. I found myself laughing at the absurdity of the Emperor’s actions and the world he had created around him, only then to realise this was all a little too close for comfort. This was an addictive read. The story grabbed my attention from the start and held me rapt until the end.

The premise of a former rock ‘n’ roll star leading the Uprising was really original and highly entertaining. The pristine whiteness of everything surrounding the Emperor contrasted dramatically with the venues in which the band performed years before. The setting came to life, equally as strong as the characters within. Having read the author’s bio, it’s clear she knows the music industry well, and her insight was integral to the plot. The lifestyle of the band members felt so real, and the flashbacks kept the story fresh and made me root even more for the Uprising to succeed.

The transition from band leader to Cabal soldier to rebel made for a strong character in Jamie Ryan. With his brothers-in-arms, Perrinault and Shinomura, the author created a believable group of heroes, men who came together to support each other in true Musketeer style. In all, this book was chock-a-block with great characters: an evil, egocentric villain; a fascinating, funny, and endearing band of rebels, and a mother & daughter duo (the “damsels in distress”) to be freed from the grasp of the Emperor.

My favourite character was Evanora, the daughter of former band member Jordan (now deceased). I loved how she had a rebellious streak, listening to her father’s music (forbidden by the Emperor) and visualising the performances he’d given with the band.

Jamie Ryan was her father’s best friend, and the obvious choice to be her god-father. A role Jamie took seriously, promising to protect her no matter what. But he didn’t reckon on the changes that gripped society so soon after her birth. Neither knew the other had survived. Having not seen or heard of Evanora in years, finding her alive brought new impetus to Jamie’s quest for the Uprising to succeed.

Their relationship intrigues me. While having lived a sheltered and privileged life so far, Evanora will no doubt become the glue that binds the tale together. And she has already proved that she will not shy away from the fight ahead. Jamie, also, has promises to keep. Keeping Evanora safe, and leading the Uprising will be challenging. This first book of the series has certainly whetted my appetite for more.

About the author:

With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.
Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

Follow Bernadette on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter

Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of The Gathering (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Winner will be asked if they prefer a paperback or a digital copy.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then the giveaway organiser reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time all data will be deleted.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Link

Good luck!

 

Don’t forget to leave a review if you read The Gathering.

Reviews keep writers writing.

Thanks for reading 😉

99p books · blog tour · female detective · murder mystery

Blog Blitz – The Last Lie She Told

The Last Lie She Told

by K. J. McGillick

The Last Lie She Told

Lies and misdirection rule the game.


To some, Fiona O’Dell is clever and manipulative. To others, she is a dangerous sociopath. One thing is certain – she’s trouble wherever she goes. Now she has vanished from her job, but not before being seen leaving a motel room where one man is found dead, another on the edge of death. Is this grizzly crime scene a BDSM encounter gone wrong? Or is it related to a company data breach where all three are employed? 

Private security expert Lee Stone and NYPD Detective Belle Hughes are assigned to the case. In a race to find Fiona, they track her across four states and shocked to find men from her past are being murdered. With little information and even less evidence, each new crime scene brings more questions than answers.

While secrets are revealed, there is only one conclusion: Fiona controls the game, the players, even the course of the investigation. The danger escalates, and the game must be mastered, or all fall victim to it. As Lee and Belle struggle to put all the pieces together, the two investigators find their relationship heats up as they are drawn to each other. Looking for a murder mystery with a feisty female detective that’s filled with twists and turns? Explore The Last Lie She Told for a thrill ride that leaves you guessing until the end.

Get your copy here:

Amazon.com 

Amazon UK  

The Last Lie She Told is 99p/c until the 14th August.

Still not ready to one-click? Here’s an excerpt to tempt you further:

The Stones’ home was at least seventy-five years old but well maintained. As we turned into the driveway, you could see people milling about in the house, and it appeared every light was on. Windows were open, and Lee’s father was the first to see us and yell a hello from the living room. Then several people rushed out onto the porch.

Lee ran around to open our doors and instructed us to stay behind him until he was certain the coast was clear and the dog was contained. Just as we thought we had a clear shot to the house, this bolt of black lightning came bounding toward Lee, and we all braced. He was right; the dog was so wild it took three men to corral him.

His mother was the first to introduce herself. She was a short woman, who might give the appearance of being gentle but I knew it took a formidable woman to raise the men I saw in that house. Next, his father appeared, and instead of shaking my hand, he hugged me and stood back, assessing me. Then he shouted to the others in the living room, “She’s good, boys! It’s impossible she’s a Yankees fan. You’re not, are you?” he asked with a bit of concern in his voice.

“Benintendi and Betts, all the way.” I smiled. I’d always been a Socks fan, but when the Yankees had signed Jeter I almost wavered.

A mischievous, proud smile spread across Mr. Stone’s face.

“You know Lee played ball and could’ve been in the minors,” he said, giving his son a side hug.

His mom broke in and asked if anyone wanted refreshments, and Mary offered to go help her with dinner.

It was so noisy in there. There were at least three separate conversations all happening at once.

By the time we sat for dinner, I felt like I’d been a part of the family for years.

“Belle, are you a lifer with the force, or are you taking your pension at twenty?” his father asked.

“I’m out as soon as possible,” I said, and that surprised everyone.

“Have you got a plan, dear?” his mom asked.

Should I share my secret with them, or would they all laugh at me? Lee’s eyes met mine and dared me to answer. Challenge accepted.

“I write books,” I said with a bit of hesitancy.

“The hell you say,” his father said with a laugh.

“You mean novels?” his sister asked, putting down her fork.

“I’ve written a few.” I smiled and caught Mary’s eye as she gave me a questioning look.

“Are they published?” Mary asked.

“They are,” I responded.

Suddenly people were reaching for their phones, and I could only guess they were going to Google me or go straight to Amazon. I waited as they tried to find me.

Lee was the first to say, “You had me there.”

“OK, all you detectives, try searching for Cloche Hughes.” And I waited.

Slowly each person looked up at me.

“How’d you become an author?” Lee asked.

“It started with a case when I first made detective and exploded from there,” I said.

“Eight books. Not quite Lee Child but getting there,” his sister said with a wide smile on her face. “And one was a New York Times Best Seller. How do you keep it under wraps?”

“The pen name,” I said. “Cloche is the French for bell. Neat, huh?”

“Very,” Lee said, with admiration in his eyes.

I became the focus of conversation, explaining how I crafted my books while everyone continued eating. I saw Mary wink at Lee and him shake his head and smile.

By the end of the night, I appreciated Lee, who was a beloved member of a close, albeit a dysfunctional family, who embraced us as their own. I learned a lot about Lee that night, just by listening and looking around. Without having to say a word, I realized Lee had been an honorable cop who may have lost his way. But, being honorable, he knew to get out while he still had a soul. I hoped this firm wouldn’t be a long-term commitment, and after seeing his wood sculptures, I hoped he’d explore that passion.
His ribbons for athletics spoke to his ability to commit to a team. Pictures of happy days before his wife died opened my eyes to the man who loved and loved deeply. I hoped to find that kind of love someday.

Get your copy here:

Amazon.com 

Amazon UK  

The Last Lie She Told is 99p/c until the 14th August.K J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorkers do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Catch up with her on Facebook & Twitter or via her website

 

As a special treat, Three: Deception Love Murder, also by K.J. McGillick will be free during this blitz (11th – 13th August)

11th – 13th August –  Three:Deception  Love Murder also by K.J. McGilick will be FREE

Check out the blogs below for reviews, more excerpts and posts.

Thanks for reading 😉

99p books · book news · friendship · women's fiction

Price Drop – One Endless Summer

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One Endless Summer is in the UK Kindle Summer Sale.  

Until 31st August it is only 99p and can be purchased here

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One Endless Summer

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie is finally ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. It’s their last three months together, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

‘Speechless at just how breathtaking this book really is.’
Rachel Gilbey

’Mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional.’
The Writing Garnet


Get your copy here 

Meet Laurie Ellingham

When I am not running around after my two children, my husband, our cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters, preferably with a large coffee and a slab of chocolate cake to hand.

I have a degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, both of which help me in everything I do. 

Social Media Links –  Twitter: @LaurieEllingham

Facebook: @LaurieEllinghamAuthor

 

To those of you lucky enough to take advantage of this special offer

ENJOY!

99p books · book review · contemporary fiction · DM Wolfenden · ebooks · must-read · romance · short reads · short story · women's fiction

Book Review – Wedding Dress For Sale, Never Worn

Wedding Dress For Sale,

Never Worn

by DM Wolfenden

 

Angela never thought she’d ever be placing that ad.
Or cancelling her wedding. Twice. But her perfect life was shattered.
Each time, only a week before the wedding – Hers and Jordon’s.

The first time, her mother died.
The second, Jordon. Or at least he might as well have died.

But a voice from the past catches up with her. Bringing new hope.

As promised, here’s my review.

I knew it would be good. Author DM Wolfenden never disappoints.

This short story follows the life of Angela and her would-be husband, Jordon. Their wedding has already been postponed once due to the death of Angela’s mum. Rescheduling it for the same date, one year later – the date has special significance for Angela – gives her time to mourn her mum, while dealing with her father’s worsening condition.
Getting married to Jordon allows her to look forward again – until another shock knocks her off her feet.
With her wedding dress still unworn, she contemplates selling it, almost resigned to the fact that it’s not meant to be.

Or maybe she just hasn’t found the right man – who knows?

After all the loss, grief and betrayal she has suffered, the twist in the tale offers her hope.

The author, as is her norm, takes the reader through a whole range of emotions, with beautiful imagery, realistic characters and a strong plot that has the reader rooting for Angela to find a happy ending that she so clearly deserves.

Another winner from one of my favourite authors.

Be sure to get your copy with this buy link.

If, like me, you can’t resist this, then please remember to leave a review afterwards.

Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂