book birthday · book blitz · book excerpt · family · historical

Book Birthday Blitz- The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus

Sometimes there are books that come along at a time when, as a book reviewer, I simply can’t squeeze them into my reading schedule. This was one of those, and so I had to get involved in the birthday book blitz in some way, if not as a reader. (I’ve added the book to my Kindle though, and will get to reviewing it just as soon as I can)

The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus

Brothers bound by blood but fated to be enemies. Can their Empire survive or will it crumble into myth?

Istanbul, 1903.


Since his younger brother usurped the Imperial throne, Sultan Murad V has been imprisoned with his family for nearly thirty years.

The new century heralds immense change. Anarchy and revolution threaten the established order. Powerful enemies plot the fall of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. Only death will bring freedom to the enlightened former sultan. But the waters of the Bosphorus run deep: assassins lurk in shadows, intrigue abounds, and scandal in the family threatens to bring destruction of all that he holds dear…

For over six hundred years the history of the Turks and their vast and powerful Empire has been inextricably linked to the Ottoman dynasty. Can this extraordinary family, and the Empire they built, survive into the new century?

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Imperial Istanbul,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is a spellbinding tale of love, duty and sacrifice.

Evocative and utterly beguiling,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is perfect for fans of Colin Falconer, Kate Morton and Philippa Gregory.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Payhip

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Google Store

A message from the author

Lynne, thank you so much for inviting me to share an extract from my book on your Blog, and thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising my Virtual Book Tour to celebrate the 1st Birthday of The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus.

Extract

The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is the book that I always dreamed of writing. Ever since I was a little girl… Initially I did not intend to publish – it was written to encourage my children’s interest and sense of pride in their heritage, and to teach them forgotten customs and traditions. I wanted to record stories and memories that my grandfather shared with me of his unique life before they are lost forever, and I also hoped to discover more about the characters and personalities hidden behind faded family photographs… Then one day my father persuaded me that others might enjoy this personal story set during the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire, so it was published and today celebrates its first birthday!

The inspiration for this scene comes from two beautiful photographs that I have of my Great Aunts. Both were strong, independent and modern young women, confined by the traditions and conventions of their time. Yet, their spirits were free:

Jean Pascal Bey now sought and received the permission of both princesses to set about creating a suitable photographic composition with the props available to him. First, he lifted the finely-gilded tête-à-tête chair that stood by the window and placed it against a wall at an angle so that one end projected into the room; then he unrolled the small Hereke carpet that he had brought with him and laid it under the back legs of the chair, ensuring that the fringe was arranged in a way that looked haphazard and informal. He was glad that he had decided to bring this carpet: he had been right in thinking that the opulent yalı would not have such a small rug to hand. After that, he picked up a three-legged pedestal table that he had previously spotted in a corner of the room and put it on the opposite side of the rug from the tête-à-tête chair, placing on it a vase full of heavy-headed blooms. Standing back to contemplate the scene, he rubbed his chin, moved forward to remove two or three of the flowers from the vase, and laid them on the table. During the entire process, the princesses had been watching him work with great interest. After a few final tweaks, he appeared to be satisfied with the scene he had created, and turned to address Hadice.

“If your Imperial Highness would be so kind,” he said, “I would ask you to please stand between the seat and the table, and place your right hand on the curved back of the seat … Oh, and maybe your left hand might be placed behind your back.” Hadice did exactly as she was bidden. “Hmm … there is something missing. I wonder …” he mused, scratching his head just above the right ear and making the hair stick out beneath his fez. “A fan! Princess Hadice, do you have a fan? I think it would complete the portrait most satisfactorily if you were to hold a closed fan in your right hand as it rests on the back of the seat.” This was an item that it had not occurred to Hadice to bring with her: she looked across the room at her sister, who opened a narrow rectangular box that was lying on a nearby table – it bore her initials in swirling gold letters – and took out an ivory fan with a beautifully-carved ebony handle. Fehime then handed it triumphantly to her sister, who smiled at her in gratitude. “Perfect!” exclaimed Jean Pascal. “Now we are ready for Aslan Bey.” He placed a richly-embroidered cushion on the seat of the tête-à-tête chair, which was upholstered in red velvet, and Hadice called Aslan to her. The dog obediently jumped up onto the seat and sat on the cushion facing the photographer just as if he knew precisely what was expected of him. Everyone laughed, and this served to lighten the atmosphere in the room even further.

Hadice looked magnificent. Her thick dark hair framed her face in a loose pompadour bun; the simple cream dress she was wearing had a high neck and ruffled sleeves that fell to the top of her white gloves, while its sweeping train lay pooled in front of her. She had decided not to wear much jewellery as she wanted the Imperial Order that hung around her neck, and the Mecidiye Order pinned to her left breast, to stand out. Fehime thought she had never seen her sister looking more lovely or more dignified.

Jean Pascal wheeled his camera forward on the small wheels attached to the tripod legs; noticing how badly they creaked, he made a mental note to have them oiled as soon as he returned to the studio. He then made a slight adjustment to the camera’s angle, tilted the lens, and disappeared for a moment beneath the dark cloth draped over the camera box in order to view the inverted image. He brought the image into focus by adjusting the distance between the lens and the film plate, moving the folding leather bellows as though he was playing an accordion. When he reappeared, he was utterly dumbfounded to see that Hadice was unveiled: during the few seconds it had taken him to re-emerge from under the dark cloth, she had unpinned her yashmak and allowed it to float to the floor. Zeynel Ağa moved forward to pick up the discarded veil, his smooth, finely-chiselled face betraying nothing of what he might be thinking. Jean Pascal, meanwhile, looked thunderstruck, having been thrown completely off guard. Unlike the old eunuch, he was incapable of hiding his mental confusion.

“Jean Pascal Bey, I think you will need to hurry before Aslan tires of the pose,” Hadice said. Fehime giggled behind her hand. How she loved her sister, and how she admired her ready wit!

Jean Pascal now disappeared under the dark cloth for a second time – more to settle his nerves than to double-check the focus. Then, standing to attention beside his camera box, he squeezed the small air-pump ball that operated the shutter system and took the photograph. Neither Hadice nor Aslan had moved even a millimetre. He knew instantly that he had captured a perfect image.

Author Bio

Ayşe Osmanoğlu is a member of the Imperial Ottoman family, being descended from Sultan Murad V through her grandfather and from Sultan Mehmed V (Mehmed Reşad) through her grandmother. After reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter, she then obtained an M.A. in Turkish Studies at SOAS, University of London, specialising in Ottoman History. She lives in the UK with her husband and five children.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/ayseosmanogluauthor

https://www.instagram.com/aysegulnevsultan/

https://twitter.com/AyseGulnev

As always

book birthday · book blitz · book review · non fiction · travel

Book Birthday Blitz ‘n’ Review – Solo

Solo: A Down to Earth Guide for Travelling the World Alone

Feeling alone? Trapped? Lost?

Time for an adventure!

The bad times won’t last forever, and for more than five years, Aaron Hodges has journeyed the globe alone, visiting everywhere from Istanbul to Argentina. Honest and insightful, SOLO is packed with his personal travel tips and humorous stories. Learn about the ups and downs, the triumphs and the pitfalls of venturing off the beaten path. Follow his guidelines for exploring the world alone and be inspired to take the trip you’ve always dreamed of.

Discover the world of solo travel.

Go Solo!

Purchase Links

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082P8W1BD/

books2read.com/u/meBM8g

Author Bio

Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…

Social Media Links

https://instagram.com/aaronhodgesauthor

https://www.facebook.com/aaronhodgesauthor/

My Review

5/5 stars

Wow! That was such fun. Just like having a personal adviser to answer all your travel questions. Great job, Aaron!

With info based on actual experience – I, for one, love an expert – peppered with funny anecdotes, it’s impossible not to get the travel bug after reading this gem. Delivered with a personal touch, the author treats the reader like a friend with his chatty, conversational style. You can tell this author writes fiction too, as he doesn’t just tell you what you need to do, he shows you – warts and all! 

Whatever your age or budget, travelling solo is an option open to everyone (once the world gets back on its vaccinated feet, that is) From the planning stages right through to arriving at your destination and moving around, the authors inspires and encourages with suggestions and tips specific to many countries. 

If this doesn’t give you itchy feet, then nothing will.

¡Buen viaje!

book birthday · book blitz · mystery · paranormal · YA

Book Birthday Blitz – Paralleled Bond (The Altered Helix Series)

Happy book birthday to author Stephanie Hansen! Today marks the release of Paralleled Bond, book #3 in her Altered Helix series. To celebrate we’re sharing the entire series! Read on for an excerpt from her latest installment and enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card!

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Paralled Bond (Altered Helix #3) Publication Date: Today! Genre: YA/ Paranormal Mystery/ Novella When the only option left means losing someone you love, you have no options. How could you, how could you save one person you care about, when doing so would harm another? What if they weren’t even letting you choose but choosing for you? You’d have to intervene without letting them know, right? To be an Altered Helix and put others in danger is the new reality for Austria. Luckily someone’s there to catch her when she falls, Josh, and fall she does, in love that is. While witnessing her family being put in danger, Austria’s haunted house family grows. Now that Austria has found a way to defeat Mutant Altered Helixes after her, a dangerous stream of events occur to those around her. Just when the family has finally come together, could they be ruined? The amazing conclusion to the Altered Helix series, Paralleled Bond displays the results when polar opposites come together for the greater good. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“Please let them be okay.” If I had known I would be chanting this phrase over and over again, I don’t believe I would have ever set out on this mission. If I had known that my entire world would change in just a matter of months, would I have taken the job at the haunted house? If I had been given a heads up about my DNA being different, would I have lived a different life? I don’t know; those are not options for me now. We’re too far in. We are inches away from saving many lives. We can do this. I know we can. I just don’t know what it will cost us. I have no clue how I’m going to find the dough to pay. The odds seem stacked up against us. Is that because it is impossible to accomplish what we want to, or is it because we’ve gotten too close?

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Abe Books | Audible

AlteredHelix_mock1Altered Helix (Book One) I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too? The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria’s life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger. Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good. Goodreads StrandedCoil_mock1Stranded Coil (Altered Helix #2) For Austria, travelling to the Stranded Coil means she gets to see someone she believed was lost. She’s able to do this because she’s an Altered Helix. But doing so takes her away from her first true love, Josh. Josh is working hard to keep their Haunted House family safe on Earth, but seems to fall in love with Austria more with every second they spend together. Austria and Josh face a devastating challenge, the mysterious appearance of Mutant Altered Helixes, and an enticingly dangerous answer to their questions. Impulsive, caring, and full of surprises, this teenage love against the odds is well on its way to breaking even…maybe. Goodreads Giveaway: $30 Amazon Gift Card (International) Giveaway will be open until August 7th! a Rafflecopter giveaway About the Author Stephanie Hansen Stephanie Hansen’s short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She’s part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Stephanie Hansen | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Book Blitz Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

blog tour · book birthday · historical · mystery

Book Birthday Blitz – Children of Fire

Children of Fire

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?

In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912083469/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1912083469/

Author Bio 

Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd. 

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

Social Media Links – Twitter @cw_beatty

My Review

4/5 stars

An interesting and original story. As with many historical fiction novels, the story is heavy on details in regards to the setting and the procedures involved in making the explosives. Alongside that information runs a fascinating – if not a little gory – murder mystery, and it is Constable Josiah Ainscough’s job to find the killer of the leader of the Children of Fire. Eager to make a name for himself, Josiah is thoughtful. considerate and attentive in carrying out his duty.

The members of the Children of Fire community welcome him (initially undercover as a traveller), but when their leader, Elijah, is found brutally murdered, they are suspicious of him – and more so when he reveals his true identity as a police constable. Had it not been for Sister Rachael and the hinted-at romance between them, I doubt Josiah would have succeeded at Long Clough, and the openness they share brings another layer of intrigue to the story.

Not content with just the one “love interest”, Josiah is captivated by Aideen Hayes, whom he meets at a social gathering where he is sussing out some of the business owners in the area. His attempts to question them creates friction, but he gets the chance to visit the mines and forges which gives him new leads on the killer. Aideen is on to watch – a determined young woman on a mission. Josiah is on her radar, but is she on his? Should she be?

When it seems the investigation is getting nowhere, a twist in the tale rekindles his hopes and within no time he is on the hunt for the killer, needing to stop his escape and further disasters. The pace picks up considerably at this point, resulting in a compelling chase along the canal banks and a watery encounter at the locks.

The ending presents yet another twist, and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.
While the story is strong, the book could most definitely do with another pass with a proofreader or editor since there are numerous issues throughout that often made me re-read parts for clarity.

A great combination of history and mystery. Never was the Industrial Revolution so intriguing 😉

As always,

book birthday · book blitz · fantasy · series · supernatural

Release Day Book Blitz – To Wake The Dead – plus Giveaway

ToWaketheDead

Join us in wishing author Sarah Lampkin, a very happy book birthday! Today marks the release of To Wake the Dead, book #2 in her Dead Dreamer series! Read on for more details, and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

Psst!!! There’s also a giveaway bundle! Make sure you enter below!

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To Wake the Dead (Dead Dreamer #2)

Publication Date: October 8th, 2019 (Today!!!)

Genre: NA Fantasy

Publisher: The Parliament House

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.

Classes have begun…
The battlefield is set…
Let the fight for the Fade begin.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“Who wrote the laws saying that doorways must be sealed? Who told you to create another one of you?”

“The church.”

“Why?” He was silent. For once, he had no answer. He merely stared at me not blinking or unwavering as his eyes locked on mine. I thought I had him; nowhere in the Bible did it say to interfere with the dead or the other side. In fact, the Scripture scorned it. If I remembered correctly, that would border on witchcraft and necromancy, which was forbidden. So, if Wilson were the type to follow the Bible no matter what, then these questions just pushed his logic out the window. Even if the church said he had to do those things, who was to say they were right?

Available Here

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Parliament House Press

To Dream is to Die (Book #1)To Dream is to Die.v2

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural!

Add to Goodreads

Amazon

B & N

Kobo

Parliament House Press

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We’re giving away To Dream is to Die AND To Wake the Dead!!! Click the link below to enter!

*Print Bundle (North America Only)

*Digital Bundle (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

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A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

Dead Dreamer | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blitz Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

book birthday · book blitz · book review · British · crime · murder mystery · thriller

Book Birthday Blitz – The Fourth Victim

The Fourth Victim

by John Mead

The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Victim-John-Mead/dp/1912575361/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

https://wordery.com/the-fourth-victim-john-mead-9781912575367

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Fourth-Victim-by-John-Mead-author/9781912575367

 

Get your copy here:

Amazon

Waterstones

My Review

This is the first book I’ve read by John Mead, and highly original it is too.

With your everyday whodunnit (or police procedural) as his core theme, he takes the reader right into the story. With the three killings early on, it’s up to the investigative team to find the killer – but, of course, it’s not going to be an open and shut case.

Mead does a great job at getting to the bottom of what makes certain characters tick; his own confession to being a people watcher makes that abundantly clear. The police team struggle with the daily norms of everyday life (problems at home, family issues, job prospects etc) which gives them credibility (although there is a tendency to focus a tad too much on the characters flaws outside of the case). We also see the intricate workings of a case in action, from the intense scrutiny of cases, the inevitable missed opportunities, dealing with grieving families, and the consistent need to be one step ahead of the perpetrators.

Add into that a suspect with a multiple personality disorder, and you have a swarm of characters vying for your attention. It is sometimes hard to keep track of who is thinking or speaking, as the flow of the text is choppy at best in parts. However, it offers an original take on a tried-and-trusted story-line.

Despite working out who was the dominant force behind the killings early on, it was interesting to see how the author brought it all together at the end. An interesting, satisfying and original story that kept me scrolling – if only to be proved right! 😉

If you enjoy a good whodunnit with an imaginative plot, then this is the book for you.

About the author

Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built. I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. 

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. Although I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

Catch up with the author via his Amazon Author Page, Twitter or Goodreads

I’m looking forward to reading his next book, Geraldine soon; I have high expectations – no pressure, John 😉

As always,

 

book birthday · book blitz · book review · British · chick-lit · Contemporary Romance · Giveaways

Book Birthday Blitz ‘n’ Book Review – The Secret to Falling in Love

The Secret to Falling in Love

by Victoria Cooke

The Secret to Falling in Love

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.
That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!
Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.
If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

My review:

As my first book by this author, I had high expectations based on the general buzz from other reviewers and bloggers. I wasn’t disappointed, and totally breezed through this funny, modern, and sweet romance story.

Melissa, a journalist is inspired to write an article entitled the Matrix effect which is well received by her usually less-than-complimentary editor. So popular is the article that her editor requests a follow-up, and challenges Melissa to live a month without technology.

It is nowhere near as easy as Melissa hopes, as she falls prey to missed appointments, forgetting events and struggling to communicate with her friends. However, the “quiet” life soon becomes addictive, and she adapts to her tech-free lifestyle by doing things that she rarely does – like visiting her sister in person instead of Skyping.

However, maintaining a social life is more awkward – and the fact that her mum conspires to set her up on a date with a friend’s newly single son doesn’t sit well with her.

So, a coffee shop encounter with a handsome man gives her hope that all is not lost – and convinces her she doesn’t need her mum’s help. Although, the coffee shop man only leaves her with a business card with an email address – once again, the tech-free problem gets in the way, until she runs into him again – on purpose – the following week and explains her dilemma. He (Joseph) is charming, and seems super keen to take her out.

At the same time she finally meets the son of her mum’s friend (Scott) and finds he is far nicer than she thought he’d be. But, Joseph wines and dines her with a flashy limo, a dazzling apartment and a housekeeper.

Melissa is torn between the two men, but is then sent by her boss for a week’s R&R in Scotland where she encounters the two men again. Choosing between could have been a problem, but one of them shows his true colours and the decision is easier than she expected. However, has she left it too late?

This is a fun read, and quite thought-provoking if we consider how technology has become such a time-consuming and addictive part of our lives. It begs the question that in the battle of the Luddite vs the Geek, for whom is finding love easier? Is it easier to find love in a few swipes as opposed to meeting face to face.

Without the technology taking up her time, Melissa was able to see the beauty of the world around her. She enjoyed spending real time with her sister, and then there is Doris – an old lady with whom she strikes up a friendship that would never have happened had she been glued to her phone or tablet.

Plot wise, the story is quite predictable but in the nicest possible way. As a mystery reader generally I’m used to looking for and finding clues, and I felt the author wove the story well, leaving hints as to what would happen and blending those events in with fantastic characters and beautiful settings (thanks to no tech).

Overall, this is a lovely,enjoyable way to while a few hours. I’ll definitely look out for more by this author.

Get your copy here

Author Bio – Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

Social Media Links –
https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaCookeAuthor
https://twitter.com/victoriacooke10
https://www.instagram.com/victoriacookewriter

Giveaway – Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –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 Rachel’s Random Resources 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

Good luck!

As always,

book birthday · book blitz · book review · comedy · Egyptian · humour · must-read · mystery · mythology · Underworld · Victorian

Book Birthday Blitz ‘n’ Book Review – Barnabus Tew

Barnabus Tew & The Case of the Missing Scarab

by Columbkill Noonan

Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to survive in his trade in Victorian London. Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients.

Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely.

The Land of the Dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the Land of the Living if Barnabas – together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred – cannot set matters to right. Pulled from his predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world.

You can get your copy here 

My review:

5/5 stars

Take an egocentric private detective, add in an assistant who you imagine really should be running the show, and put them before Anubis, Egyptian God of the Dead and you have the quirkiest, mystery-solving team in the Underworld.

Barnabus Tew brings a touch of Je ne sais quoi to the art of detection – trouble is, he doesn’t know what that is either. Before his untimely death, all his clients came a cropper too. But it was on the recommendation of one very dead customer that Tew, and his amiable assistant Wilfred, caught the eye of the Egyptian god, Anubis.

Khepre, the Scarab Beetle god, whose job it is to roll the sun across the sky to create nightfall, has gone missing. As a result, the Underworld is stuck in a never-ending high noon that could very well be replicated in the world of the Living if Khepre isn’t found – in one piece.

A severed beetle leg suggests they may be too late!

Barnabus and Wilfred, with more luck than judgement, travel through the Underworld to interrogate their suspects. As they visit other gods, their plight worsens as they face unknown dangers, the like of which they could never have imagined. Many such visits actually make matters worse, leaving them no closer to solving the mystery of Khepre’s whereabouts.

While Barnabus Tew would never be my first choice were I to need a detective, he possesses a charm that had me rooting for him, willing him to do well. His relationship with Wilfred is based on that of a boss and employee, yet it is his assistant who frequently has the ideas when Barnabus stalls for time. Their interaction oozes effortless comedy, yet Barnabus is so, so serious about the task in hand that he always strives to find an explanation for the absurd predicaments they find themselves in.

The narrator’s Victorian tone is a perfect fit. From the moment Barnabus and Wilfred visit the museum to see the Mummy, I was hooked. I’m a sucker for an authentic setting, and while the story soon shifts to the Underworld, the characters continue with their Victorian attitudes and mannerisms – very much in the style of keeping “a stiff upper lip” at all costs.

This is a fun-to-read book with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that will hit you when you least expect them. If you enjoy a mystery with a unique flavour, if you appreciate dry wit, and if you are even the slightest bit interested in Egyptian mythology, then this is a book you must read. The hapless (or is he?) detective and his rational sidekick promise to entertain.

About the author:

Columbkill Noonan lives in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where she teaches yoga and Anatomy and Physiology.  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her first novel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” by Crooked Cat Books, was released in 2017, and her latest work, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is set to be released in September 2018.

In her spare time, Columbkill enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, aerial yoga, and riding her rescue horse, Mittens. To learn more about Columbkill please feel free to visit her website or find her on Facebook and / or Twitter

I cannot wait to read more. If you agree with me, please be sure to leave a review. Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 😉

book birthday · fantasy · mythology · R&R Book Tour stop · YA

Book Birthday Blitz: Deity’s Soulmate

Happy book birthday to Deity’s Soulmate!

I’m thrilled to celebrate the first year of this whimsical fantasy!

Deity’s Soulmate

Publication Date: April 3rd, 2017

Genre: Fantasy/ Mythology/ Young Adult
From author Angelina Kerner (Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted) comes an all-new fantasy series about Gardenia, a daughter of Athena, and her 100 years of coursework on how to create whole new worlds and subjects of her own.
A sheltered school child in a realm of condescending gods and goddesses, Gardenia goes to Earth on a dare to witness the unsavory side of mankind for herself. Believing she can do better, she undertakes the formation of an entire galaxy, but without permission from Zeus.
Zeus disciplines her by assigning an epic 13-fold creational lesson destined to take her a century to complete. But he is taken aback once more when she makes an odd choice. She vows to fulfill this knowledge quest by tracking down a lost race of dragons, and discovering the secrets they’ve kept since time began.
Searching the universe to meet even one dragon may be a fool’s errand, but that’s the least of her worries. For ancient wartime resentments linger between the nations of dragons and deities, and some dragons would attack Gardenia on sight!
Yet she ventures out undaunted, learning unexpected things about nomadic life, tender love, and mortal peril along the way. The biggest surprise of all, though, goes by the name of Ri. Ri may be the man of her dreams, the voice in her head, the dragon she’s seeking, or all these things and more…
Meanwhile, the Fates brew sordid plans of their own and Hera jealously sets traps and trials for Gardenia at every chance. What’s a young goddess to do? Flight or fight?

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Purchase: Amazon
Giveaway!!!
To celebrate the anniversary of Deity’s Soulmate, the author is giving away 3 digital copies of her latest book Follow the Snowflakes!

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f31/?

About the Author

ANGELINA KERNER is a self-published author of paranormal and lighthearted romance.
She’s the wife of a photographer/physicist, and the mother of a cute little toddler, but she’s also been a dancer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a geographer, a dreamer, and an adventurer.
She does her best writing while being bothered by her cats, taking care of her son, in dressing rooms while waiting for family to try on clothing, and at home in sunny California.
Angelina loves to play goddess-dragon matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where young goddesses have lovable flaws, the Fates plan to dethrone, the universe is endless and untamed, and dragons roam free! She also loves to write carefree romance where one can finish reading with a smile.
Where Dragons Reside
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