book review · chick-lit · Contemporary Romance · humour · NetGalley · relationships · women's fiction

Book Review – One Summer in Santorini

One Summer in Santorini

by Sandy Barker

There was something in the air that night. . .

Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.

The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new… But then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht and she knows she’s in trouble. And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.

Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan – steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta, and find her own way after all?

What others are saying …

The perfect holiday read to escape with this summer for fans of Annie Robertson’s My Mamma Mia Summer and Mandy Baggot’s One Last Greek Summer.

‘A summery romantic debut from a fresh voice in romantic fiction. Made me want to pack my bags for the Greek islands this instant!’ Phillipa Ashley, bestselling author of A Perfect Cornish Summer

‘A fun and flirty escapist read.’ Samantha Tonge, bestselling author of Knowing You

My Review …

A feast for the eyes with beautiful scenes of the Greek islands, a feast in general with plates of delicious Greek food, and lashings of sharp, witty humour to give you belly ache.

The story began well, with Sarah’s funny and relatable view of her break-up with Neil as told to her sister before she set off for her ‘get over it all’ jaunt around the Greek isles. On a whim she’d booked the trip – a ten-day break on a boat with strangers! And why not? After Neil, she deserved some ‘me’ time, and where better than halfway across the world, on a boat in the the middle of the ocean. If that’s not escapism, then I don’t know what is.

As we found out though, Sarah is not the luckiest of travellers – and this time was no different, losing her driver’s licence and wallet before the trip even began. Her bad luck jinx seemed to follow her everywhere, although spotting a cute American at the bus station, and then again on her bus … well, it took the edge off things. And, well, whaddya know he’s on the same trip too! Things were looking up. Or were they?

Her fellow passengers on the boat turned out to be the nicest bunch ever, restoring her faith in strangers and really helping her to relax and live in the moment. Even her roommate Hannah – a bit odd at first – became a trusted friend.

But it was her relationship with the cute American, Josh, that drove the story. She hadn’t planned on meeting anyone, let alone being as attracted to him as she clearly was. He, too, was on board just for the travel and the experience, having never left the US before, and he was most certainly not looking for love.

Despite both Sarah and Josh recognising the mutual attraction, there was a lot of ‘will they / won’t they’ going on, and this was exacerbated further with the arrival of James, aka the Silver Fox, an older, rich man who made no bones about being attracted to Sarah. She knew exactly where she stood with James; with Josh it was never totally clear, although there was a hint of jealousy when Josh realised he had a rival.

In between the ‘romance that could have been’, the group took in some amazing sights, ate some wonderful food and, as a result, bookings to Santorini will probably skyrocket as more readers learn of its beauty and that it has the best tomatoes in the world!

Saying goodbye was never going to be easy; Sarah had made some strong bonds with her fellow travellers. But as she headed back to London for a final week with her sister before flying home to Sydney, her dilemma was never more evident.

Josh, despite occasional signs to the contrary, seemed to just want a travel ‘bud’, whereas James was much keener and determined to meet up with her while she’s in London.

What’s a girl to do? She wanted a BIGGER life, but can she handle the options available to her? I guess we’ll find out in the next book. Looking forward to it already 🙂

I enjoyed this story, the imagery drew me in, the food made me drool, and the witty asides made me chuckle. I’ll definitely be back for seconds.

My thanks to Sandy Barker, Avon Books UK and Netgalley for a copy of this book. This review is all mine, and made of my own free will 😉

As always,

Africa · blog tour · book review · corruption · crime · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Teeth of Giants

The Teeth of Giants

by Gordon Wallis

In the brutal war on Elephant poaching in Africa one man takes a stand against a ruthless international ivory smuggling syndicate. A stand that almost costs him everything.

Jason Green never for one minute expected the appalling violence and horror he would endure when he returned to Africa to pay his respects to an old friend. 

A profound sense of guilt and nostalgia prompts London based ex soldier Jason Green to return to Africa for the funeral of an old friend killed in suspicious circumstances in The Zambezi Valley. He is about to be sucked into the murky and brutal underworld of the illegal ivory trade. Grave injury and a burning desire for revenge thrust Green from the blistering heat of The Zambezi Valley to the tropical coast of Mozambique and beyond. Every tortured step of this journey is fraught with extreme danger and the ever present threat of death. 

The Teeth Of Giants is the second novel by Gordon Wallis featuring his main character Jason Green. Readers of thrillers set in Africa will devour the frenetic pace and sheer brutality of this gritty crime thriller. 

Pick up The Teeth Of Giants today and prepare for the ride of your life.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QHY66Q2

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QHY66Q2

About the Author

Gordon Wallis is a 50 year old author based in Zimbabwe , Southern Africa. Born of British parents he has lived there all his life. A keen reader of thriller novels , particularly those set in Africa , he has travelled extensively in Africa , Europe , The Middle East and Asia. He runs a number of businesses in Zimbabwe and is single.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/gordon.wallis

https://twitter.com/zimbabaloooba

My review

This was the first book I’d read by Gordon Wallis and, despite it featuring the same character as his previous novel, I didn’t feel disadvantaged by not knowing the main character, Jason Green, prior to this story. If I were to sum this book up in one sentence, I’d say it was “exciting, fast-paced and hugely addictive, set against a stunning backdrop.”

The settings were so vividly drawn, I felt totally immersed in Jason’s world right from the tense investigation of the camp back in 1979; the putrid sewer he and Kriel were confined to in order not to get caught had me holding my nose and my breath.

When Kriel’s wife passed over the hard drive which inevitably cost her husband his life, then the anticipation of a fantastic – and horrific – adventure drew me in completely. Stunning wildlife settings painted a beautiful world, but one marred by the hunters and crooks who sought to kill elephants for their ivory tusks, or to massacre rhinos for their horns just to feed the demand from unscrupulous companies exporting their ‘wares’ to China.

It was clear from the start that Jason would pick up where Kriel had left off, not only delivering that report to Switzerland but by closing down the hunters and businesses by whatever means possible. So, you can see what I mean by exciting and fast-paced.

There were a few inconsistencies that caught my eye – I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to detail, it’s the editor in me 😦

The main one being that when Hannes Kriel died in the present day (by which I assume 2019), he was 51, yet he and Jason – whose age is not disclosed – were on a mission together back in 1979, forty years earlier. That slight glitch jumped out at me, but says more about me as a reader than anything because I just had to do the sums.

For me, the story was written in such a style that is not so common these days, with more telling than showing. That said, it didn’t spoil the story in any way. In fact, it was more gripping than many stories that ‘show’ too much at the expense of the story.

I often wondered – as did Jason – now and then, why he didn’t just take the hard drive home – or at least email / post it right at the beginning. He didn’t have to take on the battles he did, he could have let justice do its job – or was he saying he didn’t trust the system – in which case why bother with exposing the corruption at all? Although, I’m glad he didn’t do that, it would have been a very short, and dull, story had he done so. And, besides, I’d have missed the great drone experiences, where Jason captured so much of the evidence he added to Kriel’s report.

In all, this was a story of total adventure where real danger lies in exposing the utter greed of the few. There’s a very real message within these pages. If only there were more real-life Jason Greens to end this exploitation of Africa, which is driving so many great creatures into extinction.

Definitely an author whose books I’ll will seek out in the future.

You can find more news and reviews on these blogs

As always,

99p books · chick-lit · happiness · price drop

Price Drop Promo – Passport to Happiness

Passport to Happiness

An inspiring and escapist read – Eat, Pray, Love meets Bridget Jones!

Will the trip of her dreams…

Everly Carter is bored.

With her job, with her single status and with the never ending line of rubbish men on Tinder.  Tired of going through the motions of seeming happy, Everly wants to be happy!

So, in a spontaneous moment of bravery (perhaps spurred on by a few cocktails) Everly books a holiday.  Time away, alone, to find out what she really wants from life.

Become the journey of her lifetime?

Everly’s search for happiness takes her to picturesque Swiss villages and the sunsets of glamourous Bermuda.  But with every new stamp in her passport, Everly still feels as though something is missing…

Could it be that true happiness is hard to find, until she finds herself?

Purchase Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Passport-Happiness-Carrie-Stone-ebook/dp/B01J0VL67U

https://www.amazon.com/Passport-Happiness-Carrie-Stone-ebook/dp/B01J0VL67U

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/passport-to-happiness/id1174826663?mt=11

Take advantage of a special 99p price drop, while it lasts!

Author Bio

Carrie was born and raised in London, but her love for travel and adventure has seen her spend the last fourteen years living and working internationally. She is currently based in Spain alongside her husband, young daughter and adopted Indonesian dog, Bali. 

Carrie is a traditionally published author with Harper Impulse, as well as an independently published author. When not writing, she works as a Psychic Medium & Spiritual Coach (www.carriebattley.com). To find out more about her, connect on Facebook (Carrie Stone) or Twitter @CarrieStoneUK

 

As always,

blog tour · mystery · suspense

Blog Tour – The Keeper

TheKeeper

The Keeper Book Cover

The Keeper (Underground Defenders Vol. 1)

Publication Date: May 28th, 2019

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense

Page Count: 230 Pages

Publisher: Liminal Books (Between the Lines Publishing)

When the Ericksons move home to care for their ailing grandmother, they’re told a stranger has taken up residence in the attic of the sprawling mansion. Upon investigation, the family isn’t sure the tenant is anything more than a figment of old Mrs. Erickson’s imagination—until a mysterious young woman begins to show herself to the family in fleeting, uncanny visits.

When unexplained things start happening under the mansion’s roof, suspicions arise as to just who—or what—she is. In the chaos that ensues, the family is forced to make a decision: trust the stranger or band together as a family against her—and their grandmother who’s protecting her.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

‘She tried to distract herself by thinking of other things, like the invigorating chill in the atmosphere or the soft crushing of the mushy grass under the thin, flappy shoes, but nothing worked. The feelings and emotions around her were too big to be crowded out by minor sensory input.

Amira was aware of darkness rolling off Dr. Bordell like a smothering fog. She could no longer hear the other two men out here with them. They had either straggled far behind or were being strangely silent. Most likely it was just her and the doctor now traipsing out into nowhere. Would she ever come back?

They only walked a short while longer when the doctor stopped Amira in her tracks. He ripped off her head covering in one violent motion that took several long brown hairs with it. He watched her with a sickening grin as she tried to get her bearings.

Amira’s gaze went straight to the heavens, an immediate escape. It was a cloudy night and she couldn’t locate the moon in the sky, only a glowing veil of clouds in its place and a sugar-sprinkling of stars all around. The tree branches that clawed at the atmosphere were unfamiliar in shape, and she couldn’t find a recognizable landmark anywhere in the inky darkness. . . . The doctor gripped the nape of Amira’s neck and flung her to the ground like an unwanted stray kitten. She tumbled several times from the unnecessary force, kicking up loose soil before coming to rest atop a bare, earthen mound.

“She’s in the ground, you stupid moron,” Dr. Bordell replied and laughed, thoroughly enjoying his moment of revelation, “which is exactly where I’m going to put your mother if you don’t do everything I tell you to from here on out.”

Amira clutched fistfuls of dirt in her palms and let the powder cascade through her open fingers. “No,” she whispered as the soil rained against her bare legs.’

Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

image1

Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist.

“I read because my grandmother showed me how to immerse myself in books for recreation, relaxation or even as a coping skill.

I write because my head is filled with daydreams and I like to choose the endings.”

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

For your chance to win a digital copy of this book, visit the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TheKeeper

Blog Tour Schedule

June 24th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels@gmail.com

Kim Knight (Interview) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

The Consulting Writer (Interview) https://theconsultingwriter.wordpress.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com/

June 25th

Where Dragons Reside (Excerpt) https://kernerangelina.live/

Just 4 My Books (Excerpt) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

June 26th

B is for Book Review (Interview) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Excerpt) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

Musings of a Final Girl (Excerpt) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/

June 27th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

June 28th

Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

The Genre Minx (Excerpt) http://www.thegenreminx.com/

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Misty’s Book Space (Excerpt) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Shalini’s Books and Reviews (Review) https://bookreviewsbyshalini.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours

blog tour · book review · British · cosy · must-read · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Body in Belair Park w/Giveaway

The Body in Belair Park

by Alice Castle

Beth Haldane is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted. Her son is starting secondary school, her personal life seems to have settled down – even her pets are getting on. But then the phone rings.

It’s Beth’s high maintenance mother, Wendy, with terrible news. Her bridge partner, Alfie Pole, has died suddenly. While Beth, and most of Dulwich, is convinced that Alfie has pegged out from exhaustion, thanks to playing with Wendy for years, Beth’s mother is certain that there is foul play afoot.

Before she knows it, Beth is plunged into her most complicated mystery yet, involving the Dulwich Bridge Club, allotment holders, the Dulwich Open Garden set and, of course, her long-suffering boyfriend, Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Harry York. The case stirs up old wounds which are much closer to home than Beth would like. Can she come up trumps in time to stop the culprit striking again – or does the murderer hold the winning hand this time?

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/BodyinBelair

Author Bio

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim and also hit the number one spot. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, was published in August 2018, with Homicide in Herne Hill following in October 2018. Revenge on the Rye came out in December 2018. The Body in Belair Park will be published on 25th June 2019. Alice is currently working on the seventh London Murder Mystery adventure, The Slayings in Sydenham. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliceMCastle

Links to buy books:
MyBook.to/GirlintheGaller
myBook.to/1DeathinDulwich,
myBook.to/CiC
myBook.to/homicideinhernehill
myBook.to/revengeontherye

Death in Dulwich is now also out as an audiobook: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07N1VNMLT/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-140657&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_140657_rh_us

Alice lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Body in Belair (Open to UK and US Only)

*Terms and Conditions –US and UK entries welcome. 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

My Review

I could read this author’s books forever – her observational wit and perfect descriptions of people and situations are second to none.

Welcome to Dulwich society – where yummy mummies battle for dominance at the school gates with coffee morning invites at the ready while the more senior residents cross swords over allotment entitlements and Bridge Club etiquette (fortunately, “helmet” hairdos are not obligatory)

This is a cosy mystery, very much in the style of Murder She Wrote with its small community setting and everybody knowing everyone’s business. However, added to the mix of authentic setting, eccentric characters and a murder-mystery, is the author’s unique observational wit and satirical asides.

This is not a grand drama or gory massacre, but rather a very satisfying mystery where members of the Bridge Club are being poisoned. Eighty-year-old Alfie Pole – victim no.1 – is found stiff as a board on a bench in the gardens of Belair House. Most people, including our sleuth, Beth Haldane, think he’s had a heart attack or something typical of a man of his years, but Beth’s mum, Wendy thinks differently. Alfie was her bridge partner, and had never left her in the lurch during a club meeting before. So, what had tempted Alfie into the gardens where he met his untimely end?

Beth’s mind is already preoccupied: Her son, Ben, has just started at a new school, but he’s not very chatty and seems to be just getting on with things, including his homework – which worries Beth. Her boyfriend, Harry, the detective is, of course, not disclosing any facts the police case has found – which also worries Beth. Her mum’s obsession with the case, and her ideas to help find the killer – also worries Beth, and then there’s her new job in the archives dept at Ben’s school, and the fact she hasn’t been turning up for work much – which is also a worry for Beth. So, the last thing she needs, despite her sleuthing reputation, is another mystery to solve. Her mum has other ideas, and very quickly Beth sees that maybe Wendy is onto something, but not before there’s another death.

There are a lot of bridge rules mentioned, all of which are over my head, but, thankfully the author spices up these scenes with wonderful observations of the players, told through Beth’s thoughts as she comes across one eccentric character after another.

“She had what could only be described as a helmet of hair … as sugar-spun as Donald Trump’s”

“his thick black hair was slicked down with enough gel to keep a boy band going for weeks”

“with white hair collected into two tufts over his ears, like a cartoon professor”

With such imagery, it’s impossible not to get drawn into this world.

The story is rich in characters, outside of the mystery, which really builds the idea of a community. Even so, it seems Dulwich has more than its fair share of oddballs and eccentrics: the garden-crazed neighbour and her fear of Japanese Knockweed in Wendy’s garden; Alfie’s daughter and the Jane Austen film crew in his garden of plastic flowers, and Belinda, the school tyrant mum who leaves Beth out of her coffee morning get-togethers (probably the only thing that Beth is not worried about)

Beth’s antics and attempts to solve the mystery are frequently hilarious, notwithstanding the serious side to the investigation that endangers her and others. All of which, in true cosy style, is nicely tied up at the end, although you’d never think it possible. This is an easy-going, funny read, a lovely world to lose yourself in for a few hours.

As I’ve not read every book of the series, I’ve remedied that and picked up the books missing from my reading list – yep, it’s that good, and I really wish I’d been reading from the start. But hey, it’s never too late to catch up 😉

For more news and reviews, you know where to go ….

As always,

blog tour · France · historical · suspense

Blog Tour – Overture

It’s my stop on the blog tour for Overture, the first novel in Vanessa Couchman’s new trilogy.

The story of Marie-Therese’s journey from rural farming family to opera singer is beautifully written, rich in period detail and perfectly evokes the sights, sounds and smells of early 20th Century France.

What’s not to love about this?

Overture

What if you had a unique talent, but everything conspired against your dreams?

France, 1897. Born to a modest farming family, Marie-Thérèse has a remarkable singing voice and wants to become a professional singer. But too many obstacles, including her parents’ opposition, stand in her way. And, through no fault of her own, she makes a dangerous enemy of the local landlord.

When the family circumstances change suddenly, Marie-Thérèse and her mother must move to Paris to work in her aunt’s restaurant. Her ambitions rekindle, but the road to success is paved with setbacks until a chance meeting gives her a precious opportunity.

She is close to achieving all her dreams, but the ghosts of the past come back to haunt her and threaten Marie-Thérèse’s life as well as her career.

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/OvertureBook1

Author Bio

Vanessa Couchman is a novelist, short story author and freelance writer and has lived in an 18th-century farmhouse in southwest France since 1997. French and Corsican history and culture provide great inspiration for her fiction. She has written two novels set on the Mediterranean island of Corsica: The House at Zaronza and The Corsican Widow. Her third novel, Overture, is Book 1 of a trilogy set in France between 1897 and 1945. Vanessa’s short stories have won and been placed in creative writing competitions and published in anthologies.

Social Media Links 

Website: https://vanessacouchmanwriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessacouchman.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vanessainfrance

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/VanessaCouchman

For more news and reviews, these amazing bloggers have what you need:

blog tour · book review · British · Contemporary Romance · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Perfect Moment

The Perfect Moment

by Alix Kelso

Is there ever a perfect moment to begin again in life?
Ever since tragedy threw her life into turmoil, Laura has taken refuge at her waitressing job in Valentino’s restaurant in Glasgow’s leafy Fairhill. Serving lattes and lunch specials means she’s too busy to think about all she lost, or the dreams she was forced to abandon. So when her beloved boss announces she’s selling the business, Laura is devastated. Hatching a plan to set her up with the local pub owner, Laura hopes the two of them will make a connection that might just change her mind.
Recovering from betrayal and heartbreak, Bruce is also in hiding from the world, and working in his uncle’s pub while he wonders how to restart his life. When Laura asks for help with her matchmaking scheme, he finds himself unable to refuse. She has a smile he can’t resist, no matter how much he wants to.
But as their plan is set in motion, the matchmakers begin falling for each other. Yet Laura thinks she’s happy with her dull boyfriend, and Bruce won’t risk another broken heart. As the future of Valentino’s hangs in the balance, can these two lost and lonely people find the perfect moment to start their lives again together?
Treat yourself to THE PERFECT MOMENT, a sweet, funny, emotional romance about new beginnings and being brave enough to follow your heart.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07P87FYHX/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P87FYHX

Author Bio


Alix Kelso is the author of the Fairhill novel series. She’s happiest with her nose in a book and has been known to lash out dangerously if disturbed while reading. Having previously worked as a shop assistant, waitress, hospital cleaner and dishwasher, she eventually became a university lecturer. Although she loved the academic world of teaching and researching and helping her students, she always enjoyed writing stories in her spare time and finally decided to pursue her dream of publishing a novel and becoming a full time writer.
She lives in her home city of Glasgow with her husband and their rescue lurcher, Maggie. She enjoys pottering in the kitchen, walking in Glasgow’s many lovely parks, and is a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of a long lunch with a big glass of wine.

Social Media Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlixKelsoAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlixKelsoAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alixkelsoauthor/

My Review

Laura lost her parents at 19, during her first year at university. Her world ground to a halt, she gave up her studies and found solace working as a waitress in Valentino’s where the owners, Angelo and Natalie, became her surrogate family.

Ten years later she is still working there, her life having barely moved forward. Socially, she keeps to a tiny circle of friends, and despite dating now and then, those relationships never last. Some might suggest she has cocooned herself from further heartache – and I think they’d be right.

When Natalie, now a widow of two years, announces she is selling the restaurant, Laura’s world trembles from the aftershock. Are her self-constructed barriers in dangers of tumbling down? To avoid such a disaster, she convinces herself that Natalie only needs to find a new love, and everything will be rosy once more. But who will be the man to win Natalie’s heart and restore equilibrium in Laura’s life?

Cue Keith.

Realising she needs help to pull this off, Laura turns to Bruce who is currently helping out at his uncle’s pub – uncle Keith, that is – across the road from Valentino’s. Recently divorced after his wife cheated on him, Bruce tells himself he is biding his time until the right opportunity comes his way to enable him to move on. In essence, he is as vulnerable as Laura, but being the kind, generous man he is, he agrees to help her with her plan. Although he is concerned about putting his uncle’s feelings on the line. Keith has not be lucky in love, yet despite several failed marriages and unsuccessful dates, he hasn’t given up on love. Could he and Natalie be the perfect match?

With a bit of cunning, a date between Keith and Natalie is set up. Laura and Bruce (though, mainly Laura) look on from behind the curtains to see what transpires.

Keith, as he is prone to do, is soon enamoured with Natalie, and she enjoys his company. The experience of having male company in her life proves to her that she really is ready to move on from Valentino’s and indulge in the travel plans she and Angelo had often discussed. It would seem Laura’s plan has backfired. The restaurant will be sold, and she needs to accept that.

Spending time with Bruce as they watch events unfold between Keith and Natalie, Laura begins to trust him and open up. She has put her life on hold since her parents death. Maybe Bruce is the one to encourage her to revive her hopes and dreams.

This is a sweet story with very likeable characters that I wanted to be happy. Each has their ups and downs, and dramas along the way lead to crossed wires and all sorts of misunderstandings.

I’m not a romance reader usually, but I love the idea of this community and its people. Of course, it’s even better knowing that this is the first book in a series – yes, there’s a sequel to come, and hopefully more too. With well-rounded and relateable characters, genuine and heartwarming friendships, Bruce’s marvellous family, and lovely touches of humour, this is an enjoyable world to escape into, and the bonus comes from a burgeoning Scottish vibe that shines throughout.

If there ever was a perfect moment to start reading a new series, then this is it 😉

For more news and reviews, check out these blogs too.

As always,

asking questions · Author interview · blog tour · crime · detective · series

Blog Tour Q&A – Injections of Insanity

by Lorraine Mace

Injections of Insanity

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling has just six weeks to solve a series of murders by insulin injection, with nothing to connect the victims except the manner of death and a note left at each crime scene.

The murderer, determined to avenge a wrong from many years earlier, gets close to his prey by assuming various identities.

Can Paolo win in his race against the pretender?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Injections-Insanity-Sterling-Lorraine-Mace/dp/1786156830

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Injections-Insanity-Sterling-Lorraine-Mace/dp/1786156830

Author Bio

When not working on her D.I. Sterling Series, Lorraine Mace is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Social Media Links

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

 

Q&A

I’m thrilled to have been able to put a few questions to Lorraine, and even more thrilled to have her answers here too. (Is that fangirling a bit too much? 😉 )

  1. Tell me about your book / series? What do you want readers to most remember after reading it/them?

My D.I. Sterling series is hard-boiled crime. I tend to tackle subject matter that is happening in our society all the time, but which we tend to look away from because knowing it is taking place makes us uncomfortable.

Having said that, what I want readers to remember most is that they enjoyed the read and want to know more about the main characters and their lives.

I knew from the cover that this would be a book I’d enjoy, add into that the topical themes and fascinating characters, it comes as no surprise that readers are hooked and completely invested in this series. 

  1. Does writing energise or exhaust you?

Both! I love being a writer, but the actual writing can be hard work. It is a case of getting the words down on paper and then revising and refining until the text becomes something others would want to read.

I imagine writing a series is even more fraught with issues of consistency and continuity, so the rewards when you get it so right must make it worth the effort.

  1. What’s your favourite genre to read?

I read everything from crime to rom coms, but my favourite genre is American courtroom crime. I have no idea why I am drawn to that, but when it is well written, such as the Dismas Hardy series by John Lescroart, it makes for compelling reading.

I’m a courtroom junkie too. Good to know I’m not alone 😉 

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

After I read this question I stopped writing the answers and went to check! I have four adult novels (nothing to do with this series), three children’s and two non-fiction books started but nowhere near a finished first draft.

That is one heck of a mix! Kudos to you. 

  1. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I know I shouldn’t, but I read them all. I have been very lucky so far with this series in that I have only had good reviews. I am sure that will change in time, but for the moment I can read them without losing any sleep.

I would like to think I could ignore a really bad review, but in reality I know it would hurt. Still, that comes with the job, and we authors have to accept that not everyone will love our work.

Wise words. 

  1. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not in my crime novels, but in my children’s novel, Vlad the Inhaler – Hero in the Making, I put in lots of humour for the adults who might be reading with the children, but which would go over the heads of young readers.

Those who read to their kids salute you!

  1. What was your hardest scene to write? Why?

In book two, Children in Chains, I had to write a scene from inside the mind of a paedophile. I sobbed afterwards and felt dirty.

A tough call, but an author’s got to do what an author’s got to do. 

  1. Do you Google yourself? What did you find that pleased you most?

I used to do that, but hadn’t for a long time until I reached this question. I was astounded to find I was still getting links about me on page 11. That surprised and pleased me.

Yay! Happy days!

  1. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’m afraid there is no average. I’ve written an 85,000-word novel in three months and taken four years to write a 45,000-word children’s book. I’ve covered most permutations in between for all my finished novels.

  1. If you could speak to any author – past or present – who would you like to meet?

For a crime writer, this one might surprise you, but I would have loved to meet Terry Pratchett and Georgette Heyer. Both writers had the most amazing touch with dialogue that enabled them to include humour that made me genuinely laugh out loud – not the lol kind, but the real thing.

  1. What are you writing now?

I’m just finishing the editing of book five in the D.I. Sterling series (working title Petals of Pain) and am about to start writing book six as yet untitled.

Great news! I’m looking forward to the next one.

So, there you have it … that was fun, right?

For more news and reviews, you could check out these blogs next.

As always,

blog tour · book review · comedy · cosy · detective · fun · mystery · there's a dog

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day

By Chloe Grace

Every dog has his day

They say every dog has his day.

Well, today I’ve certainly had mine.
Hey, I’m Albertus Eagle and it turns out I’m an unwitting pet detective. I haven’t always been such a successful legal beagle, but when I’m confronted with a case that is so personal I can’t ignore it, I discover I have a passion for finding those who don’t want to be found.
Cleo the cat. Well, she came along for the ride too.
So, sure I’ve had my day today, but not in the sense of being past my prime. To the contrary, the fun is just starting. And I am buzzing with a new purpose, mixed with a tiny amount of vindictive elation.
Why?
Because, I’ve not only found myself a new home after the untimely demise of my previous owner, but I’ve also made amends with the cat. It turns out she’s not that bad, really.
On top of that though, and this is what really sends shivers racing all the way down my spine to my paws, is that we’ve fingered a killer.
How?
Because you humans, you underestimate us animals. And while you go about your business ignoring our very existence, the cat and I are listening and taking notes.
This is the first full length novel in the Albertus Eagle detective beagle series of animal cosy mysteries, starring Albertus Eagle, and his two sidekicks, Cleo the cat and Bella Schuhmann, the smart human who actually understands him. In this wonderful full length book packed with humour and satire, we see the world of murder and intrigue set up through the eyes of a loyal dog turned amateur sleuth.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NP9VVXK

UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NP9VVXK

Author Bio

Chloe Grace is the cosy mystery pen name for romantic mystery author, Karen Botha. While she doesn’t understand animals quite as well as Bella in the Albertus Eagle Detective Beagle cosy mysteries, she does chat along to her rescue dog, Shadow, pretty much all day.

And she’s sure that he chats back.

Chloe lives with Shadow and her hubby in a small outpost of London city—funnily enough it’s a little like where Bella and Albie live. As a family they like to go on walks in the local woods and throw a tennis ball until their respective arms ache, which is usually before Shadow shows any hint of exhaustion.

While her first romance novels were inspired by true life events, the Albertus Eagle series are complete imagination – although her conversations with Shadow can’t be ignored.

Social Media Links

SIGN UP FOR MAILING LIST – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/jgeib0362x
VISIT HER WEBSITE – http://www.karenbotha.com/meet-karen/chloe-grace-cozy-mysteries/
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/ChloeGraceMysteries/?modal=admin_todo_tour
INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/karenbothaauthor

My Review

5/5 stars

I’m pretty sure it’s more than obvious, but any book with a dog in it stands a huge chance of pleasing me 😉

Albertus Eagle is a fine Beagle, a perfect specimen, and with a great voice throughout this story. His relationship with Cleo – the cat – is sweet, and funny, and so very natural.

His loyalty to his previous owner is adorable too, as is his growing fondness for Bella who finds them both at the animal sanctuary after the death of their owner, Milly. Taking them home, Bella is in for a shock when it becomes apparent that neither pet is going to accept Milly’s death as having occurred naturally. And so the intrepid duo convince Bella to investigate. I love the idea of Bella, a Dr Doolittle type who can talk to her pets, in fact I’m more than jealous of her abilities.

Together they unravel the mystery behind Milly’s death with many an adventure or escapade in between. It’s a true cosy, but with the viewpoint being all dog which makes for a fun, entertaining, easy to read story. I read this in one sitting, and I blame Albie for that entirely 😉 It is such a fun read, full of mystery and suspense, and some lovely satirical comments from Albie who really can’t believe quite how dumb humans can be. Although, that said, Albie and Cleo might be the stars of the story, but infallible they are not, albeit they do get carried away with infectious enthusiasm.

I look forward to more in this series.

If you need some escapism, this is for you.

For more news and reviews, here are some more blogs to sniff out (see what I did there? LOL)

As always,

blog tour · comedy · contemporary fiction · dark · Giveaways

Blog Tour – The Space Between Time

Tour Banner

Welcome to the month-long mega tour for Charlie Laidlaw’s newest book, The Space Between Time, due for release on June 20th! There will be fantastic bloggers participating, who will be posting interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other exclusive content!

Additionally, there are loads of goodies being given away, so be sure to enter at the bottom!

Book Cover

The Space Between Time

Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Dark Comedy

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.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Timescale for a Closed Universe

It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.

Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.

Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.

I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.

Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.

I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.

I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?

I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.

In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.

I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.

But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.

The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, or we should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.

Purchase Here!

About the Author

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I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook | Twitter

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I have 2 signed copies of The Space Between Time to giveaway, 3 fun coffee mugs featuring all 3 of Charlie Laidlaw’s books, and 3 digital copies of the book in the winner’s format of choice! Amazing right? Click the link below to enter!

*Open Internationally – Giveaway closes June 30th

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Blog Tour Schedule

June 3rd

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

The Writer’s Alley (Review) https://www.jacobrundle.com

Yearwood La Novela (Excerpt) http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

June 4th

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Little Tinklabee (Review) https://littletinkablee.com/

Jun 5th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

June 6th

Cup of Toast (Review) https://cupoftoast.co.uk

Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com

June 7th

Breakeven Books (Interview) https://breakevenbooks.com

June 8th

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

June 9th

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com

June 10th

Where Dragons Reside (Excerpt) https://kernerangelina.live/

Inked and Blonde (Review) http://www.inkedandblondeonline.co.uk

Go By the Book (Review) http://gobythebookblog.wordpress.com

Novel Lives (Review) https://novellives.com/author/literacybatmanlives/

June 11th

Valerie’s Musings – https://valeriesmusings.com/

June 12th

Misty’s Book Space – http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

June 13th

Brianne’s Book Reviews (Review) http://briannesbookreviewsvideo.wordpress.com

June 14th

Love Books Group – http://lovebooksgroup.blog

June 15th

Wrong Side of Forty (Review) http://wrongsideoffortyuk.wordpress.com

The Eclectic Review – http://eclecticreview.wordpress.com

June 16th

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

The Reading Chemist (Review) https://thereadingchemist.com/

June 17th

Erin Decker (Excerpt) http://erindeckerblog.wordpress.com

Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

June 19th

Banshee Horror Blog (review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

June 20th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

June 21st

Sawdust & Spoons (Review) http://sawdustandspoons.com/

June 22nd

Tsarina Press – https://www.tsarinapress.com

June 23rd

The Hufflepuff Nerdette (Review) https://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com/

June 25th

*Yearwood Novela – http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

Kim Knight (Review & Interview) http://www.kimknightauthor.com

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Review) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

June 26th

The Photographers Way (Review) http://www.thephotographersway.org

June 27th

Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/

I’m Into Books (Excerpt) https://www.imintobooks.com/

June 28th

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Interview) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

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