You have a review …

Email arrives just before I clamber into bed … and, of course, I can’t ignore it. Could you?

Me: Review? What kind of review?

Email – A Readers’ Favorite review

Me: Oo! For which story?

Email – “To Make the Birds Cry”

Me: Really?

Email – Yep. Don’t just take my word for it. Go check it out …

Me: On my way.

Log in for details …

Me: Hmm … what was my password again? *taps in first one that comes to mind*

RF: Not that. Try again.

tap, tap, tap

RF: Nope, not that either

Me: Okay … well maybe I’ve written it down somewhere.

RF: Like where?

Me: In a notebook.

RF: I’ll wait …

Me: Can’t you just tell me now what it says?

RF: Sorry, no.

Me: Okay *pulls out current notebook* Not in here *mooches in drawer where older notebooks live*

Tick tock, tick tock

Me: Don’t rush me …

RF: Would you like to reset your password?

Me: No. I’ve got this. Don’t panic.

RF: Not panicking …

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Next morning on my laptop

Me: I found it!

RF: That’s the one.

Me: Wow! I love it.

RF: Was it worth the wait?

Me: Absolutely.

RF: So, who you going to tell?

Me: Everyone.  But first, I need to add the seal to my cover.

RF: Good idea. Go on then.

Me: I will.

Opens Canva – login screen.

Me: Hmm … what was my password again?

Just kidding!

Me: Phew! Looks good though …

Thank you Readers’ Favorite!

Now to update purchase links …, but first a cup of tea and a choccy biscuit. (Do I know how to celebrate or what?)

If you’d care to read the story without the ‘bling’, you can get it here. Same story, just not as shiny.

 

 

 

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Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts

by Madalyn Morgan

Chasing Ghosts

In 1949 after receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears.

Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery?

Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.

Get your copy here

My Review

Another of my favourite genres to read – WWII fiction – and this one is an absolute gem. Even though it takes place in 1949, there are subplots that keep the war era very much at the forefront of the story. I haven’t read any others in the series, but that was no obstacle at all. The author cleverly interwove past details to the extent they were neither overwhelming nor underdone. (That said, I did enjoy this book so much that I’m tempted to go and read the previous ones in the series too.)

It’s fascinating to read about PTSD following the war, and the treatment thereof seems just as scary, if I’m honest. But it is the relationships – past, present and future – that hold this story together.

Claire is naturally concerned when her husband, Mitch, is said to have gone AWOL just as she and their daughter are about to board a flight back to England. Torn being looking after Aimee and staying to find him, she knows she has to get on that plane. But, home, especially with Christmas looming, is no home without Mitch. Besides, she can’t get the thought out of her head that something else is wrong, especially when he calls out another woman’s name in his sleep.

On discovering Mitch is in France, and accused of being a traitor, she returns to her former role working for the Résistance, and connects with friends from her past who help her to find her husband and uncover the truth behind those sleep-fuelled ramblings of his. With Aimee secure with her family, Claire promises to bring her daddy home.

The story oozes all the intrigue I love about the era, the undercover heroes, the tales of traitors, and the best and worst of humankind. Danger, conflict and tension fill the pages, but is equally balanced with respect, kindness and love. All in all, a wonderful read. Entertaining, well-written and clearly well-researched, this is a story to curl up with, shut out the world and enjoy.

PS – Note to author – I really hope Thomas Durand gets a story of his own too, or at least that there’s a happy ending for him around the corner.

About the author

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in Lutterworth, at the Fox Inn. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, as there were so many different characters to study and accents to learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn taught herself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and started writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

Happy to be an Indie Author, Madalyn has successfully published six novels. Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue and The 9:45 To Bletchley are set before and during WW2 and tell the wartime stories of Bess, Margot, Claire, and Ena Dudley. Foxden Hotel and Chasing Ghosts are both post war.  Chasing Ghosts is a sequel to China Blue.

Madalyn’s books are available on Amazon – in paperback and all formats of eBook.

Madalyn Morgan Author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2

Social Media Links –

Madalyn’s Blog: https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/madalynmorgan/

Wait, there’s more … there’s a giveaway too.

Giveaway – Win signed copies of China Blue and Chasing Ghosts (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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

Good Luck!

For more reviews, excerpts and guest posts, check out these amazing blogs too:

As always, it’s been a pleasure …

 

Blog tour ‘n’ Book Review – Right on the Monet

Right on the Monet

by Malcolm Parnell

Right on the Monet

New York

Claude Monet painting is stolen

Mediterranean

Of all the things Harry Chase had imagined in his life, being a drummer on a cruise ship band was not one that would have occurred to him. And yet, there he was. Centre stage, behind a young female singer along with his mates, Dave, Tony and Steve.

Which meant that getting involved in a jewellery theft, an on-board massage parlour and the hunt for an Old Master was even further from his mind as he cracked the snare drum.

And yet, this was exactly how he found himself being questioned by Interpol …..

My review

3.5 stars

I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to art crime, so the moment I read the blurb for this I was begging Rachel @rararesources for a place on the blog tour.

However, as far as the art crime element of this mystery goes, the story falls a little flat for me. The prologue sets the scene after the Monet painting has been stolen from the NYC gallery, then it’s not mentioned again until I’m 45% into the book. At which point, it’s a fleeting remark about the theft and a small reference to a framed print of the stolen painting on sale in the on-board art gallery.

Until that point, the story centres on the gang of six (seven when joined by Clem) and their cruise trip, which also happens to be their first public gig as a band. Don’t get me wrong, the story is jam-packed with funny moments, laugh-out-loud chuckles as a result of well-written dialogue and witty one-liners. That said, it’s also filled to the rafters with sexual innuendo, the like of which I haven’t seen since watching dodgy 1970s sitcoms. In fact, it was turning into a 1970s sitcom on the Love Boat, given the constant sexual objectification of women. For me, some scenes are quite uncomfortable to read, to the extent that skimming became a necessity to avoid my eyes rolling out of my head. I’d go as far to say the characters are clear stereotypes – maybe this was the author’s intention – the women are all ‘painted’ in the style of those “Real Housewives” shows where all they want to do is shop; the narrator (Harry) and Steve are seriously obsessed with ogling and fantasising about women (particularly for Harry, his friend’s wife, and for Steve any woman with a pulse, but especially, lesbian Clem and the sexy Sofia). Dave and Tony bring some balance to the story, as do the other characters involved in the mystery which finally kicks in at 69%.

To be fair, the art mystery does turn out to be quite a good little story when it gets going. Add that to the on-board shenanigans of finding a thief among the crew and/or passengers, the band-playing scenes, and the adventures as they visit several beautiful cities when the ship docks each day, and the subplots all come together well. Maybe I just expected more on the art element; although it’s obvious the author himself loves to paint as he has a real talent for description. Through his words, the MC, Harry, sees the world as a canvas and is able to use his own painting knowledge to contrast the shadiness of the criminal activity on board with the lightness of humour and wit.

If you’re looking for a book to make you chuckle, then this will do just that. It’s probably more aimed at men though, as it does feel a tad dated in terms of the characters’ attitudes to women. A fun, easy-to-read mystery, but you do have to wait some time for the ‘arty-farty’ bit  😉

 

About the author:  Malcolm Parnell has a passion for painting and teaches art and drawing skills when he is not working on his next novel.

His other passion, apart from his good lady wife, Marion, is Leicester City Football Club.

Becoming an author and Leicester win the Premier League have been two of his greatest ambitions realised.

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter – @PaintAuthor

Facebook – malcolmparnellbook

Unfortunately, at the time of posting there were no purchase links available.

Once they arrive from the publisher, the post will be updated accordingly.

 

For more reviews, guest posts and excerpts, take a look at some of the other blogs on this tour.

 

OMG – All purpled out!

I realise it’s not a word, but you get the gist. I feel the need for a change of colour, which only goes to prove how super fantastic the bloggerverse was again yesterday.

Day 3 of my inaugural blog tour for Magic O’Clock and Magical Memories, as organised by Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources, saw purple once more – Woohoo! Thanks again to lots of wonderful reviewers who blogged about my stories, and to their awesome followers who shared and retweeted like a boss!

Here are some more of the glorious reviews:

For Magic O’Clock

What wonderful books these both are. They are written with compassion, honesty and from the heart.

I loved getting to know Archie and seeing him in his element, with all his charm and sense of humour. The descriptions of the Antarctic in his speech were beautiful, and they drew me into what he was saying. There is a little twist at the end of this story which also made me smile.

First of all I have to mention that Magic O’Clock is a short read but oh what a wonderful story it is. There was such a beautiful and emotional pull for me as I experienced both sadness and joy with the characters. I was completely pulled in by this story I think the word I am looking for is captivated!
L.S. Fellows has written a brief but powerful piece of descriptive writing that I’m sure will stay with me for quite a while.

And, for the recently launched Magical Memories

L.S.Fellows beautifully depicts the brighter days amongst the dark and how all the matters in the end is he continuing love that remains and the beautiful memories you’ve made.

I felt all the emotion that went into this story, and was able to feel joy and sadness in equal measure in the same way as the narrator. I enjoyed learning more of Archie’s life through the memories that make up this story.
Magical Memories showed me the value of memory, and its message is one that I will hold with me as I grieve for my own elderly relatives.

After reading Magic O’Clock I was looking forward to picking up Magical Memories and seeing where the story would take me next. I have to admit that there were tears as I read the first part of this story,
L.S Fellows explores what happens after a loved one dies and how anger can pull at you. There is also a wonderful hopeful feeling that balances out with the emotional side although it is safe to say that Magical Memories certainly packs an emotional punch!

I still can’t believe it, but we’re only halfway through the week.

There are more wonderful book reviewers and bloggers to come.

Today, we have another three sites to visit:

Books, Life and Everything 
hayleyreviews10
The Spoonie Mummy 

See you tomorrow.

I hope you enjoy the new colours 😉

 

Blog Tour – Redneck’s Revenge

Redneck’s Revenge

by Joan Livingston

Redneck’s Revenge

Her next case. She’s in it for good.

Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over. Then the cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.

Encouraged by her ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother  — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

Get your copy here and find out with Isabel.

Who’s up for an excerpt?

In this scene, Isabel Long and her mother, Maria, — her Watson — are eating dinner at the Rooster, the only bar in the town, when they are approached by a woman, who becomes the connection to their second case. Marsha also figured in Isabel’s first case — the disappearance of Adela Collins. The Old Farts mentioned are a group of gossipy old men who station themselves in the backroom of the general store. They are a great source for Isabel.

My attention turns toward the woman who approaches our table. It’s Marsha, who my mother and I nicknamed the Floozy although we keep that to ourselves. She was the person who gave Bobby Collins an alibi the night his ex-wife, Adela Collins, disappeared although nobody believed him or her, myself included. It turned out she was being honest all along. Let’s say Marsha is a little rough around the edges.

“Hey, Marsha, how are you?”

Her dry bush of brown hair swings around as she checks behind her. I catch a whiff of cigarette smoke, booze, and B.O. Oh, dear.

“Can I talk with you for a minute? It’s kinda important,” she says.

“You remember my mother, Maria? It’s okay to talk in front of her.”

“Sure.”

Marsha aka the Floozy nods as I scoot over, so she can take the space beside me. Yowser, I smell more than a whiff. I’m guessing the Floozy is in her late forties, but she’s got some serious country miles on her with missing teeth and some heft she crams into tight jeans. I spot a roll of flesh beneath her loose-hanging flannel shirt. I wonder if she and Bobby Collins are still an item since I didn’t hear any, “Hi, ya, honey,” from either of them.

“What’s up, Marsha?” I ask.

“Heard you’re still doin’ that investigation stuff,” she says.

I smile. Word spread fast thanks to the Old Farts.

“Well, part-time and if it’s a case I’m interested in,” I answer.

She snorts.

“I think you’ll be interested in this one.”

“Is it for you?”

“Nah, my cousin. I don’t think you’ve met her. She lives in Caulfield.”

Caulfield is a hilltown even smaller than Conwell that’s north and west from here in the next county. That town wasn’t part of the Daily Star’s coverage, and honestly, I’ve never had a reason to go there. Maybe Sam and I drove through it a few times to get to somewhere else. Nothing sticks out in my mind about the place.

“Tell me more, Marsha.”

“I’d rather you hear it from her.”

“Fair enough. Why don’t you bring her to my house? You know where I live?”

The Floozy gives me an amused smile. Of course, she knows where I live. Everybody in this nosy little town knows where everybody else lives, what vehicle they drive, and how they make their money. They know their marital status and how many kids they have.

“I can do that.”

“What day works for you two?”

“How about Sunday? My cousin works Saturdays.”

I nod. She’s not messing around.

“Make it around three.”

“I hear you’re chargin’. My cousin can’t afford much.”

“Maybe we can work something out.”

“All right then.” Marsha slaps the table before she’s on her feet. “See you Sunday.”

I giggle as the Floozy pounds Bobby hard on the back before she heads back to the far side of the room. I wait until she’s definitely out of earshot before I ask my mother for her take on that conversation.

Ma slides her empty plate forward. I only ate half of my sandwich. I’m not big into piccalilli in my tuna salad. The fries were a bit on the soggy side.

“Sure, I’m interested in what the Floozy’s cousin has to say,” Ma says. “The fact she wouldn’t say what it is makes me curious. And then she agreed so fast to meet Sunday.”

“What do you think? Money or murder?”

“Maybe both.”

I laugh. My mother’s instincts are usually spot on.

You’re tempted now, aren’t you? Here’s that all-important link again.

About the author:

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a long-time journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, Joan returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.

You can follow Joan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Litsy: JoanLivingston

Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of Redneck’s Revenge (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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

 

Finally, for more reviews, author interviews and excerpts, check out these other amazing blogs:

OMG! I didn’t believe it could get better

But it did!

Day 2 of my inaugural blog tour for Magic O’Clock and Magical Memories, as organised by Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources, was another riot of purple. Thanks again to lots of wonderful reviewers who blogged about my stories, and to their awesome followers who shared and retweeted to infinity and beyond!

Here are some more of the glorious reviews:

For Magic O’Clock

This story shows two sides to dementia; the forgetful side but also the lucid side. A quick enjoyable read that is sad but in a way that shows love and honesty. A wonderful read and a perfect introduction to the next book; Magical Memories.

Somehow, in just a few short pages, L.S. Fellows managed to articulate everything that I was feeling, in ways that I never could.

I was immediately drawn into Magic O’Clock it is written with such honesty and emotion from the daughters’ perspective. If you don’t have any experience of this horrendous disease why not spend a coffee break reading this, it will certainly give you an insight.

And, for the recently launched Magical Memories

This story is emotional and beautifully told, I had to get the tissues out on a couple of occasions. Again a quick read but my goodness did it pack a punch on the heartstrings. A story of loss, grief, happy times, and moving on with life.

In Magic O’Clock, L.S. Fellows captures the emotional strain of loving someone with dementia, and the joy of witnessing the rare moments of lucidity. Magical Memories tells the story of the all too familiar dash to say goodbye to a loved one. These books are a must read for anyone who knows someone with a loved one suffering from dementia, and who wants to understand just how hard it is to watch that person slip away to their own world.

Magical Memories does a very good job of highlighting the difficulties some families endure based around jealousy, grief and control. The author does a brilliant job of including the reader in all the decisions made and I felt I was right alongside them having experienced the same conflicts in my family. Another coffee break style story which will open your eyes and hopefully make you count your blessings. If you love somebody let them know, there may not be a lucid tomorrow.

Thank you to these wonderful book bloggers who gave me such a fantastic start to the week.

Today, why not head over and see what these lovely people have to say.

Wrong side of forty
Portable Magic
Rae Reads 

More news tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep pinching myself 😉

 

OMG! This was Day 1

With the first day jitters now assuaged, let me share the fab reviews from three wonderful bloggers on my inaugural blog tour for Magic O’Clock and Magical Memories, as organised by Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources.

To start with, I’ll just mention that my Twitter feed was overwhelmed by a mass of purple thanks to the blogging community who liked, commented and retweeted throughout the day. I could barely keep up! Such a great problem to have.

Without further ado, here are some of the glorious reviews:

For Magic O’Clock

This is a very short story which tugs at your heartstrings. It is a well-written piece of fiction, but obviously draws from real life, which brought up a lot of memories for me as I read it.

An incredibly powerful, well written and touchingly realistic story.

Magic O’Clock is probably one of the shortest books I’ve read for years but one that packed a punch. Wow.

And, for the recently launched Magical Memories

This is a poignant, fictional story which deals with the emotions associated with losing a loved-one and the grieving process. It is another well-written story, following on from Magic O’Clockwhich had me thinking about the people I have lost and how I and my family have dealt with that.

Again, this story is written sensitively, realistically and exceptionally well and will resonate with most people. Have the tissues handy.

It’s sensitively written with the feelings and emotions beautifully captured within the pages. It’s a book to lose yourself in and to go through the whirlwind that is Magical Memories. The characters despite only scratching the surface of their personalities are brilliantly written and I genuinely got to care for them.

Thank you to the awesome bloggers who gave me such a fantastic start to the week.

Today, the baton passes to

Me and My Books
Mai’s Musings
Ali – The Dragon Slayer

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update 🙂

If you get a chance, please check out these blogs yourself, too.