Bloggers · books · Indie authors please · Reading Indie

A book blogger’s delight!

BBNYA Panelist Logo by Jenn @JennieLy (

Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year is an annual Indie book award hosted and judged completely by book bloggers from all over the world!

I’m so looking forward to being a panelist for 2022. It’ll be my first time taking part as a book blogger, but based on past years I know I’m in for a treat. Being an Indie author myself, I understand how easy it is to feel invisible in the sea of famous names and celebrity authors. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be on the other side with one of my own books, but until then I’m more than happy to lend my support to other Indie authors with the help of the book blogging community.

It’s going to be amazing. I’ll keep you posted as much as I can but you’ll understand if I have to be cryptic until the winner is discovered.

As always

blog tour · Bloggers · book launch · book review · Magic O'Clock · Magical Memories

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 
The Spoonie Mummy 

See you tomorrow.

I hope you enjoy the new colours 😉


blog tour · Bloggers · book launch · book review · Magic O'Clock · Magical Memories

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 😉


blog tour · Bloggers · book launch · book review · Magic O'Clock · Magical Memories

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.

blog tour · Bloggers · Giveaways · murder mystery · mystery · noir fiction

Blog Tour with Giveaway – Dark Paradise

Dark Paradise

by Gene Desrochers

Dark Paradise

Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for.

Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly.

Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper.

With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Jeffrey Black.

The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.

Purchase Links


Barnes & Noble

The Secret Stash


This sounds so good … and to entice you a little more, here’s an excerpt

In this extract, Boise explains to his friend’s aunt who he is. Boise begins to piece together what happened to Roger.


“Were you the ones with all the cats?” she asked, wrinkling her nose.  

I nodded.

“Father hated your cats. Ever since, I’ve disliked cats too.”

“That’s too bad. They’re good bullshit detectors,” I said. “Would you mind telling me what you know about Roger?”

She scratched her head and let out a long, reluctant sigh. “He got into illegal dealing. Drugs. He got into it deeply and wholly. It took him to the grave. He died around Christmas two years ago.”  

My breath quickened as I felt a sharp pain run through my right arm like a moving needle. My thumb twitched. I put out my hand and found a chair in the corner. Roger dead? Impossible.

He’d never had any interest in that life. We played stickball, rode bikes near the baseball stadium, snuck into games on Saturday afternoons. The convenience store with its treasure trove of sugary goodies like Hubba-Bubba and ring pops, our only vices. Once, Roger washed blood out of my hair when an older boy pegged me with a rock in the head after a baseball game. I didn’t want my mother to know or she’d have whipped me. He washed it out and kept the secret.

The familiar feeling of home I’d experienced on the airport runway disappeared, leaving a gaping wound in my chest that fluttered with each breath. “Drugs?” I muttered.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Iris got up, went to a water cooler. She handed me a tiny paper cup. It felt cool against my fingertips. “Drink this,” she said as she gently pushed my hand toward my lips. I tried but dribbled some of the water onto my shirt. The cold wetness startled me.

“I…did he try to get out of that life?” I said, hoping his soul cleansed itself before death.

“Don’t think so. He was deep in, like I said. He wanted to run things. He was not savage enough in his heart for that, but he wasn’t a good person either,” she said. “I hear he’s buried down by Frenchtown.”

Iris adjusted the waist of her flowered skirt then circled back around her desk. As she sat down, her face lit up. “Now I remember you! You gained some weight, right?”

“Yeah,” I said, patting my protruding gut. I was probably twenty-five pounds over ideal weight. Stress. “I got more buff, just in the wrong places.”

She laughed. “Nah, mi son, we all put it on over the years. You also have a nice chest.”

I waved good-bye on the compliment. The sun warmed the back of my neck as I stepped outside.

Roger and I hadn’t seen each other or spoken in seventeen years. Yet without him, St. Thomas was a foreign land. I pushed the hair away from the scar on the right side of my head where that boy had hit me with a rock after the ball game.

Jet lag notwithstanding, trudging around in the ninety-degree humidity felt freeing. I walked through Charlotte Amalie, past the whorehouse, right next to St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Dronningens Gade, also known as Main Street.

I entered the iron gates and whitewashed concrete walls of the cemetery. After thirty minutes, I found his tombstone. It read: “Roger Black, January 26, 1983-December 24, 2011.” While there, I visited my grandparents’ graves as well.


About the author:

Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas.

He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime.

He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids.

After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018.

If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.

You can follow Gene on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Medium and on his website.



But, wait … there’s more. 

Giveaway 1 – Win a $25 Amazon e-gift Card

Post your photo with your e-book or hard copy of Dark Paradise on social media and share on Gene’s Facebook  Instagram  or Twitter page and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card to be awarded on Monday, September 24th

Giveaway 2 – Win 2 x Paperbacks and 2 x E-copies of Dark Paradise (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. The two paperbacks are only open to USA entries.  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.


Good Luck!

Check out these amazing blogs for more reviews and excerpts from Dark Paradise:

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:

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.

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blog tour · Bloggers · British · cosy · crime · detective · thriller

Blog Tour – Duck Egg Blues

Duck Egg Blues

by Martin Ungless

Duck Egg Blues is funny, sad, mysterious and thrilling. “A robot butler detective, what’s not to love?”

Martin Ungless is a WCN Escalator Prize winning author who has twice been shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for their Debut Dagger Award.

What the CWA Judges said about his work:

‘A clever and ambitious story’
‘I was laughing and crying and hugging the sheets to my chest’

This perfect slice of ‘cozy crime’ is narrated in the voice of a pre-war English butler and concerns a rich and powerful businesswoman whose daughter goes missing from their country house estate. That the story- teller is a robot belonging to an impoverished detective brings a fresh and original take on ‘cozy’, and as for ‘crime’… well, it does begin to escalate, what with MI6, criminal gangs, corrupt police, and that’s not to mention international cybercrime!

As the plot strands weave together, we discover that behind one mystery lurks a greater threat. No one is safe, not even PArdew…

This is without doubt the robot-butler-detective thriller you have been waiting for!

Get your copy here

For the duration of this blog tour, Duck Egg Blues will be on a Kindle Countdown Deal,

so if you are tempted, purchase before the price rises.

If you still need some convincing, then let me whet your appetite with an extract:

The stakeout


Don, an irascible private detective, owns PArdew, a robot butler, though it becomes clear to the reader that Don wishes he did not. When left to clean his master’s flat, PArdew tidies some files away. In doing so, he absorbed the information in them and sees patterns which allow him to predict a crime. Much to PArdew’s surprise he is taken on the resulting stake-out, not it transpires as a reward for his brilliant deductions, but because Don will receive a bonus from the semi-privatised Police force if he is seen to be ‘investing in new technology’.

PArdew’s memory was wiped when his ownership transferred to Don, which means that much of PArdew’s behaviour is as if he is seeing the world for the first time.

PArdew and Don are hiding in a doorway. PArdew narrates.

EXTRACT (don’t forget to ‘do’ the voice!)

So this is a stake-out. I must say, I find it to be most stimulating. Here are all these humans waiting on the accuracy of my neural-net predictions. I do hope that nothing happens to interfere with the regular behaviour of the criminals, I should hate to disappoint my Master after he has been so generous in bringing me along. It will be such useful feedback too, though one concern I have is that the data which I processed was entered by human hand. Of course I had allowed for that in my calculations but one never knows, to err is human, one simply never knows.  

Many of the buildings around us broadcast ident-signals and whilst we wait I handshake with each of these in turn. I also detect call-signs from a variety of appliances, mostly commercial ones given their range, and these include a butcher’s walk-in freezer from 2 doors down, and opposite us, a print-shop’s checkout till. At this stage I can see no benefit in complex communication with these machines but I log their details just in case.

After 14 minutes my Master swears beneath his breath and rises. He crosses Lesser Wednesday Lane and travels right, along the pavement, for approximately 38.4 metres until located beneath the lamppost he produces a vapour-cigarette. The tip reddens 3 times. My Master looks about himself, coughs, and then returns along the middle of the causeway. His body-language is casual, relaxed, but his eyes absorb everything and this surely is the hallmark of a great detective. Arriving at our aedicule, he crouches next to me and the extinguished vape is placed inside a jacket pocket.

‘Nasty things!’ He spits the taste away.

4 minutes pass. He fishes out his phone and checks the screen. 

‘Shouldn’t’ve listened to a clockwork toy.’

I think he may mean me.

19 seconds pass. 

‘Sir, if I am not mistaken, these are they.’

2 young men have exited a narrow alley between blocks of flats on the far side a few doors from where we are. The gentlemen are not speaking but nonetheless they act in unison, scouring the length of the street as we press into our reveal. One continues with his general observations as they walk towards us, the other’s attention is drawn towards the vehicles stationed along that edge. My Master tightens his crouch. The 2 gentlemen, still without obvious intercommunication, come to a halt beside a very ordinary looking automobile, neither old nor new, nor large nor small. A long flexible strap is drawn up from a trouser leg and its owner leans against the door to work the slender tool inside the window frame. At the same time the second individual manipulates a small black box. I sense radio signals, short bursts, streams of digits representing prime numbers as I interpret them. Many of the nearby vehicles respond in kind.

My Master looks up at me and whispers, ‘Can you see a Key-Exchanger?’

‘I believe, Sir, I am able to detect the object to which you refer.’

I have spoken too loudly, and the suspects raise their heads to look in our direction. 

My Master whispers, ‘Stupid rust-bucket,’ and without taking the phone from his pocket, sends a text. I register the signal, he must have had the message pre-prepared. 

I reduce my volume, uncertain that I shall remain audible. ‘I’m so sorry, Sir.’

‘Right,’ he says, and stands. 

The suspects take flight. They are heading for the gap from whence they came. My Master, a superior detective, quickly halves the distance between himself and them, then charges up the alley closing fast. One of the miscreants reappears, I presume having ducked between parked cars, and now he cleverly doubles back along the pavement, and this when the Police are all secreted in the opposite direction. Who will stop him now? Not I, obviously, the street and 2 substantial vehicles lie between us, and what is more he is human, I mere machine. 

I leap, an activity not sanctioned by my higher processors. Immediately I soar above the near-side car. Which circuit instigated this? I am still gaining height as I pass the centre of the road, adjusting my balance, preparing to land. Which microchip decided on this course of action? I demand to know! The fleeing malefactor checks behind himself and nods with satisfaction. He has begun to slow. Meanwhile I traverse the roof of the small van parked just in front of him, but too high, travelling too fast, and that print shop wall looks hard! 

The umbrella opens, for I pressed the button. He looks up, startled by the noise. As I descend he overbalances and now, with little I can do to amend my flight path, I land astride his torso. Most unfortunate. 

‘Oh, I do beg your pardon, Sir.’ 

As I bend to offer assistance he scrambles backwards on his hands and heels. 

‘Sir, do take care.’ I remain in place concerned over his self-injury, and am gratified to report, my tactic works. He stops and clambers into a crouching position, fingertips resting on the pavement, balanced on his toes. He starts to steal glances at the gap behind the van. 

‘I would prefer it, please Sir, if you did not attempt to flee.’ As he considers my request, I feel it is only polite to add, ‘So that you might be arrested, Sir.’   

He jumps for the opening as the space is filled by an arriving police car, and he slams into its side. Whilst dazed the officers easily restrain him but he soon recovers his composure and begins to struggle, so much so that he might now get away, except that when he sees my Master running up, he clearly understands, with such a great man present his capture is complete.

‘Well done,’ my Master calls.

I am delighted to have been of some small service.

He slaps the policemen on their backs, ‘Great work, you two!’ and I come to understand that he had not really been addressing me.

‘Did you see that jump?’ asks one of the officers. 

‘Unbelievable!’ replies the other.

Neither of them I would venture to suggest, could be more surprised than I.

Their prisoner points in my direction, saying, ‘That’s not fair.’

How devilishly delicious was that? Remember, this is on offer throughout the duration of the blog tour. You can find it on Amazon here.

About the author:

Following this year’s success, Martin Ungless had now been shortlisted three times by the Crime Writers’ Association for their Debut Dagger.

He has won a WCN Escalator Award, and been successful in a number short-story competitions.

Martin started life as an architect though now lives in the Norfolk countryside and writes full time.

Martin is currently studying for the prestigious MA in Fiction (Crime) at UEA.

You can follow him on Twitter 

Be sure to check out reviews for this book, guest posts and Q&As on the blogs below: