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On Bookstagram Today: The Reluctant Vampire Queen – Jo Simmons

Head over to Instagram today to see my thoughts on new book The Reluctant Vampire Queen – info on the book and author below.

Meet Mo Merrydrew – independent young woman, Mini Battenberg fan, president of the debating society – and reluctant vampire queen …

Fifteen-year-old Mo Merrydrew isn’t exactly expecting to be asked to be Vampire Queen of Great Britain when she’s cycling home from school one wet Tuesday evening. Apparently, she is ‘the Chosen One’. Aside from being uncomfortable with the idea of unelected power (not very democratic), there’s the blood drinking to consider (Mo is a vegetarian), and frankly it’s just not really the sort of role Mo’s looking for (she wants to aim for a real job in politics). But – if you’re Vampire Queen, you probably don’t have to do PE any more, and when the dreamy Luca, a vampire familiar, turns up, it all suddenly starts to look a bit more appealing …

Jo Simmons is an author of funny fiction. I Swapped My Brother on the Internet was shortlisted for the Lollies Book Awards 2020 and was translated into several languages. Jo began her working life as a sub editor on magazines in London and later became a freelance journalist. She started writing for children when her two boys were young and hungry for daft and silly stories to make bedtime more fun. She lives in Brighton with her family and a small, scruffy dog who leaves hair absolutely everywhere. THE RELUCTANT VAMPIRE QUEEN is her first novel for teenagers. Twitter

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Blog Tour: Bee Movie – Wendy W. Webb

BeeMovie copy

Welcome to the book tour for cozy mystery, Bee Movie by Wendy W. Webb. Read on for more!

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Bee Movie (The Beluga Stein Mysteries Book 1)

Publication Date: March 30th, 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery/ Suspense/ Paranormal

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Beluga Stein is here, with her signature loud muumuus, pastel cigarettes, and hit-or-miss psychic ability. She and her feline familiar, Planchette, are ready for their closeups. Or are they?

Beluga is called to investigate paranormal activity and other strange events on the set of a low budget horror movie. But after a mysterious fire, an actor dressed in a bee costume is found hoisted high in the air by a crane. Is the set haunted? Or are the supernatural stirrings and death the result of special effects?

From the dark screening room to the madcap SFX warehouse and scary set itself, Beluga and Planchette are there as reluctant cast members. But even a bit part in this film could be murder.

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Production Manager’s Notes

Shooting on set of Bee Mine delayed yet another day due to unforeseen circumstances of boom falling on antenna of actor playing part of giant bee. Actor sustained minor injury (covered by insurance), antenna sent to SFX department for surgical repair (not covered by insurance), boom operator yet to be found after his exit from soundstage, screaming, “It’s a ghost. It’s a ghost.”

Budget overrun in Craft Services department. Snack Head places blame on Beluga Stein.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Wendy Webb (aka Wendy W Webb) has published dark fantasy short stories and supernatural-humor murder mystery novels over many years. After a hiatus for far too long as a professor of emergency management and as a disaster responder, she welcomes the return to fiction writing. She adores her husband; two dogs, one of which turns on iTunes whenever Wendy leaves her office; dry red wine; theatre; and travel as long as she doesn’t see anymore ghosts.

My thoughts: this was a strange story, a bit confusing and completely mad. There’s odd events on a low budget film set, including the death of the Bee Man (not the actor hired to wear the suit but someone wearing it nonetheless). Hired by the producer to find out what’s going on and who is trying to destroy the movie, biology professor, PI and psychic Beluga Stein, her feline sidekick Planchette, friend Tanya and eventually her daughter Olivia, is on the case.

As more strange things occur, the brightly dressed sleuth starts to narrow down her suspects, but has she overlooked the real killer?

Funny, weird and entertaining.

Book Tour Schedule

July 4th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

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July 5th

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@dee.saychay (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dee.saychay/

@love_coffee_n_books (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/love_coffee_n_books/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

FUONLYKNEW (Spotlight) http://fuonlyknew.com/

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

July 6th

@itsabookthing2021 (Review) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

July 7th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33

@wellread81 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wellread81/

July 8th

@my_books_and_coffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/my_books_and_coffee/

Bunny Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

@gin_books_crochethooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/gin_books_crochethooks/

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

@bookishkelly2020 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/BookishKelly2020/

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

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Blog Tour: One Last Secret – Adele Parks

Everyone has secrets, don’t they?

One last client. A week at a beautiful chateau in the south of France—it should be a straightforward final job for Dora. She’s a smart, stunning and discreet escort, and Daniel has paid for her services before. This time, all she has to do is to convince the assembled guests that she is his girlfriend. Dora is used to playing roles and being whatever men want her to be. It’s all about putting on a front.

One last chance. It will be a last, luxurious look at how the other half lives before Dora turns her back on the escort world and all its dangers. She has found someone she loves and trusts. With him, she can escape the life she’s trapped in. But when Dora arrives at the chateau, it quickly becomes obvious that nothing is what it seems…

One last secret. Dora finds herself face-to-face with a man she has never forgotten, the one man who really knows her. And as old secrets surface, it becomes terrifyingly apparent that one last secret could cost Dora her life…

From the Sunday Times number one bestseller Adele Parks comes a blisteringly provocative novel about power, sex, money and revenge.

My thoughts: I love Adele Parks, so I was thrilled to get my hands on her newest book and oh it doesn’t disappoint! It’s full of secrets and sex and revenge and sudden heartstopping moments and twists.

Dora is a rather sympathetic figure, right up until the end, and she finds herself in a horrifying situation after agreeing to one last job – even though she doesn’t need to or really want to. The beautiful location hides darkness and manipulative, dangerous people.

After it all takes a nasty turn, Dora’s memory isn’t very reliable. The book flashes back to her aged 19, to how she ended up working as an escort and why. It adds dimensions to her character and starts to explain why the present events might just be happening.

This was so enjoyable, if you’re heading off to lounge by a pool, take a copy. If like me, your summer involves your own sofa, get a copy too.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Dead Drift – Kelly Romo

Two teenage girls on the run with fake IDs and a beater car…what could go wrong?
Emmy has always been impulsive. She is no longer a minor and has aged out of foster care. When her best friend, Amber, is the target of a perverted uncle who lives in the basement of her group home, they plan her escape.
They head for Canada, where Amber will be safe, and the foster care system can no longer control their lives. When they come across a whitewater rafting brochure, they decide to take a detour for one last adventure before leaving the country. Emmy and Amber have no idea it will be a decision that will forever change their fates.
The rafting town is so far in the middle of nowhere that Emmy’s car radio catches nothing but static.
They consider turning around until a truck pulls up, loaded with hot whitewater rafting guides and rubber rafts–just the fun they were looking for. Ignoring every instinct, they turn off the pavement
and follow the truck down an isolated dirt road. They end up in Lodell, the town where a girl went missing the previous summer…and she will not be the last.

Amazon UK
Amazon US


Kelly Romo grew up in California but has lived in Oregon for over twenty-five years. She teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She is the mother of three grown children: Brittany, Brennan, and Ryan. She is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to kayak, hike, and fish. DEAD DRIFT is Kelly’s third novel. She also has two historical fiction novels; WHISTLING WOMEN (2015) and WHEN SORROW TAKES WING (2021).

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My thoughts: this was a clever, dark, twisted thriller. Set in a small town where tourists come to ride the rapids every summer and girls seem to go missing every year too. When Emmy and Amber, heading to Canada, stop by to explore the river, they find more than they bargained for. Amber goes missing and Emmy can only vaguely remember the night before – did the girls really hurl their new shoes into the tree? And why would Amber, afraid of the water, risk the river?

As a year goes by, Emmy’s memories remain fuzzy but a new summer brings more tourists and more girls go missing. Can Emmy solve the terrible mysteries and save another girl from Amber’s fate? Can she stop a killer?I didn’t see the killer at all, all the hints pointed in several directions and the sunny, tourist friendly nature hid a really disturbing dark side – one that needed Emmy’s outsider perspective to finally be revealed and stopped. Very enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Twelve Percent Dread – Emily McGovern

A fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away!

Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show ‘Football Lads’.

While Katie bounces from job to job and obsesses about falling behind in life, Nas has bigger things in mind—waiting endlessly for their visa to come through, while working on a seismic art project that will revolutionize politics and society as we know it. Their friend Emma, meanwhile, seems to have it all figured out—job, mortgage, engagement—yet the long hours working for tech giant Arko and endless wedding admin prove equally dread-inducing.

But when Katie’s latest job finds her tutoring the daughter of Arko’s formidable CEO, Michelle, and Emma welcomes the eccentric and enigmatic Alicia to her team at Arko, none of the three women are aware that their lives—and possibly the future of society itself—are about to change forever.

Twelve Percent Dread is a fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away from Emily McGovern, author of Bloodlust & Bonnets and the hugely popular webcomic My Life As A Background Slytherin.

My thoughts: Bloodlust & Bonnets is still one of my favourite graphic novels of the last few years – it’s very, very funny and we need a sequel please! So I was delighted to be gifted a copy of Twelve Percent Dread to review.

It didn’t disappoint, funny, insightful, intelligent and wry, this is very much a book for right now. With a giant tech firm, its megalomaniac founder poised to try to take over everyone’s lives, while threatening the Prime Minister and barely parenting her teenage daughter, and two young people who have to share a room even though they broke up – rent is not cheap people, just trying to get through life, make enough money to survive, oh and not get deported, this is the satirical read we need!

Katie and Nas are just about surviving, Katie’s addicted to her phone, just lost her job and needs to get a new one – not least because the rent is due. Nas is hoping to stay in the UK (why?) and isn’t allowed to get a job. And now they want to bring down Arko. As things start to spiral out of control, will they be ok?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Cover Reveal: The Syren’s Mutiny – Jessica S. Taylor

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Check out this cover!!! Syren’s Mutiny by Jessica S. Taylor, will be released this fall and I can’t wait!

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The Syren’s Mutiny

Expected Publication Date: November 9th, 2022

It’s frightful bad luck to have a woman aboard.”

Brigid knew the superstition, but when her father tried to marry her off, she had no choice but to stowaway on a ship bound for Bhodheas. When she’s discovered and discarded, her fate seems sealed…until she’s saved by the ocean and its queen.

Transformed into a syren and given new life, Brigid now has the power to seek revenge on those who wronged her.

Caelum has spent his entire life trying to help those who couldn’t help themselves. After years suffering the cruelty of his pirate father, saving others from a similar fate was ingrained in him. But when he’s unable to save a young girl from being thrown overboard for hiding away, he’s devastated.

Until one day, when he’s thrown into the water by unforeseen forces, he comes face to face with the past, and maybe, with his future.

But there’s a darkness lurking on the seas they both call home. And Caelum and Brigid have no idea just how intertwined their stories really are.

Content Warning:

This book contains dark and adult themes. Possible trigger warnings include: violence, drowning, death, dismemberment, torture, brief/non-explicit references to child kidnapping and deaths, mentions of past domestic violence, mild sexual content, and mentions of arranged marriages. 

Pre-Order Here!

About the Author

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Jessica was born and raised in Kentucky, but has been moving with the waves and is currently residing in southern Maine with her husband and cat, Nebula. Jessica’s love of reading and writing began at a young age with the help of her grandmother and her local library, and she hasn’t looked back since. Similarly, her love for pirates, mermaids, and all things fantasy have only grown more intense with time.

Author Jessica Taylor | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Pinterest 

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Blog Tour: The Other Guest – Helen Cooper

One year ago, Leah’s twenty-one-year-old niece, Amy, mysteriously drowned near her family-owned luxury resort on the shores of Lake Garda.

Now, returning to Italy for the first time since Amy’s death, Leah is shocked to find her family seem to have erased all reminders of Amy. Despite the murky circumstances, they insist her death was an accident but Leah knows she must look deeper if she is to uncover the truth.

Meanwhile, in Derby, university counsellor Joanna is recovering from a surprising break-up when she is swept off her feet by a handsome bartender. But after she invites him into her home, Joanna is forced to accept that she doesn’t know him as well as she thought.

What follows is a propulsive game of cat-and mouse as both women begin to realise that appearances can be deceptive – and that the darkest secrets often lie closest to home.

My thoughts: there are a lot of red herrings and murder suspects to sort through, I really thought Amy’s dad, Gordon, was involved, he acted in an incredibly controlling manner and was hiding all sorts of things. Though towards the end his reasons are revealed and it makes some sense.

I felt for Leah, she so desperately wants to understand what happened to the niece she loved, but even her own sister was being really secretive and the whole “always seem perfect” attitude the family had about their hotel was incredibly weird. They must have stood out a lot amongst the locals. Leah just wanted answers, instead she’s spied on, intimidated, and her family are locking her out of everything. Luckily she’s stubborn and determined to get the truth.

Similarly I felt for Joanna, who really has no real connection to the events of the previous September, is swept into this awful mess by a handsome bartender, and wants to resolve things, even though she didn’t know Amy, she just wants some justice. Especially as she feels she let a suicidal student down at the uni where she works.

Between these two complete strangers, in different countries, both feeling a bit freaked out by things, answers are slowly revealed. Maybe justice for Amy isn’t impossible.

Compelling, shocking and incredibly readable, this is a clever, twisting thriller that takes in a lot of big current themes (powerful men, image being everything, #MeToo, among others) and creates a smart modern murder mystery.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Way Back to You – James Bailey

When Simon reconnects with his first love Sylvie – the French pen pal he never met – he is determined to not let her go again.

Life may not be as straight-forward at sixty as it was at sixteen, but that won’t stop him.

Together with old school friend Ian, he sets off on the same bike ride – from Bristol to Bordeaux – that they attempted all those years ago.

But while they now have better bikes, more acceptable haircuts, and Google Maps, some things never change.

And it soon becomes clear that this trip will have even more bumps in the road than the first . . .

My thoughts: this was really fun, a clever road trip rom com, told from the male perspective and written by a man too. Which I really liked. Simon is 60, single after the death of his wife ten years before, running a very stressful B&B and in need of a change.

After an old school friend dies (I promise this book isn’t sad, there’s several laugh out loud moments) he and old pal Ian, decide to recreate a madcap adventure they had as boys and cycle to Bordeaux. Becoming MAMILs in the process (Middle Aged Men in Lycra – fetching, not!). They almost die a few times, and honestly it’s hilarious – there’s a bit where they camp out in a church and accidentally flash a congregation of French villagers and the priest.

I think the romance of letters, then emails, between Simon and Sylvie is very sweet but the real relationship here is the rekindled friendship between Simon and Ian – a bromance if you will. As they remember their teenage years, apologise for some terrible behaviour and bond in their adventures. There’s something very precious about friendships that last a lifetime, even when you don’t see each other for forty odd years in the middle.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Review & Author Q&A: Aunt Edwina’s Fabulous Wishes – Lynne Christensen

Aunt Edwina’s Fabulous Wishes (Friesen Press, June, 2022), the first book in the uplifting Aunt Edwina series, begins when free-spirited painter Julie Fincher discovers that her fiancé is a gold-digger, and she reluctantly decides to go ahead with the wedding to please her ailing father. The day before the wedding, however, the family’s beloved ninety-two-year-old Lady Edwina Greymore passes away and everything changes.

After Aunt Edwina’s passing, Julie is appointed executrix of her large country estate and discovers an intricate family history treasure hunt with clues scattered all around southern England that she now must solve. Leaving her deceptive new husband behind, Julie sets out on the madcap adventure of a lifetime, together with her eccentric, karaoke-loving cousin. Along the way, they meet well-meaning aristocrats, experienced genealogists, a handsome antiques shop owner, and a verbose lawyer with a curious potbellied pig.

A clean, uplifting, humorous novel, readers will enjoy solving riddles while picking up a few basic tips about doing their own family history research along the way.

Q&A with Lynne Christensen

Question: What inspired the Aunt Edwina series?

Lynne Christensen: One day, I was standing in our vast home library packed with topography, genealogy, travel, archives and museum books and thought that it was a real shame more use wasn’t made of it. It dawned on me–I am the daughter of a world­renowned genealogist and have spent my life visiting archives, historic places and museums all over the world. As a writer, it became instantly obvious that I was in a unique position to write a new uplifting series about family history. I’ve been a writer all my life, mainly in the corporate world, and saw a unique chance to write a novel series like no other.

Question: Your cover is so colorful! Why did you put a 92-year-old woman on the front?

Lynne: It made sense because she is the foundation of all that follows. Her family looks to Lady Edwina Greymore for guidance, composure and how to best serve the community. Of course they are a privileged family, but they know how to give back and include the people in their village and greater county. On a higher plane, ageism in entertainment needs to be halted, and it’s so scarily unusual to see a senior on the cover of a novel.

Question: Do you have to be an expert genealogist to understand this book?

Lynne: Absolutely not. It’s actually written for beginners, someone who’s starting to discover family history records, interviews, build a rudimentary family tree etc.

Question: What kind of fact-checking had to happen for this book?

Lynne: My mother, Penelope Christensen, PhD, has written 38 nonfiction research methodology books and is a world-renowned genealogy expert. I was fortunate to have her to rely upon for checking that the research sections were correct. I am by no means a genealogy expert myself but am extremely interested in historical lives, family heirlooms, social history etc.

Question: Who is your ideal reader?

Lynne: Readers today, I believe, are looking for an uplifting escape from all the challenges our world is experiencing. Aunt Edwina’s Fabulous Wishes is humorous family history fiction. It’s a niche category for those who love family history and all its twists, turns and eccentric characters. This book is a fun read filled with characters who will become friends.

Question: Is this a clean read, safe for all ages?

Lynne: Yes, there is no erotica, violence or profanity in this novel, making it easy to share with your children or grandmother without worrying about any dodgy bits! I understand that clean reads with substantive stories are in demand.

Question: When can we expect more from the Aunt Edwina series?

Lynne: Book 2 is already at the publishers and should hopefully be out late 2022. The Greymore team is in full action helping two new characters pursuing more family history adventures and knowledge.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynne Christensen is a world traveler who enjoys visiting museums and archives. She grew up roaming around graveyards in Europe with her genealogy-loving parents in search of elusive ancestors. A lifelong learner, she earned both Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Commerce degrees plus has over twenty-five years of experience in marketing and corporate communications. Her writing is published in numerous magazine articles, case studies, advertisements and technical manuals. She lives on the West Coast of Canada in a house full of fascinating books.

Connect with Lynne at http://www.auntedwina.com and on Twitter (@LVChristensen), Instagram (@lynnevchristensen), and LinkedIn.

Aunt Edwina’s Fabulous Wishes will be available wherever books are sold.


My thoughts: I was sent this book for review, so thank you to the PR team. It sounded like lots of fun so I was happy to share it with you all.

After Julie discovers her brand new husband is cheating on her, and her grandmother/aunt Edwina has just passed away, she takes off a treasure hunt with her eccentric cousin Gertie to discover Edwina’s secrets and a forgotten love story.

The book is very funny and clever as Aunt Edwina’s clues have the duo meeting all sorts of interesting people from antique dealers, aristocrats turned hoteliers, and a lawyer who never uses one word when six will do! There’s also escaped rabbits, runway pigs, a lost puppy and a diversion to Scotland for the no good husband and his mistress.

Taking in parts of southern England, from Kent across to Devon, visiting the places the mysterious artist ‘E.E.’ painted and finding all sorts of keys and locks along the way. This was a fun and clever book, very enjoyable and accessible.

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Blog Tour: My Husband’s Secret – Karen Clarke

His secret could destroy them, but her truth is even harder to bear…

One year ago, my husband Jack left. I’ve longed for the moment he would walk through the door and tell me all he ever wanted was to be with me.

Now he’s back, but this isn’t the reunion I had dreamt of…

Jack has been in a hit and run accident. He doesn’t remember we aren’t together, has no clue about his other family, and no recollection of the phone call he made before the crash – I made a terrible mistake that I can’t put right. All I can do is get out.

Jack is different to the man that walked out and I’m certain he’s hiding something too.

But I finally have my husband by my side, and with Jack suffering from amnesia, surely the easiest thing would be to stay quiet…

But can you really trust a man who simply vanished from your life? And should he even trust me?

My thoughts: this was a very clever book with two unreliable narrators in Caitlin and Lydia – the only one who knows the whole truth is Jack and he can’t remember.

With suspicious goings on, angry lingering exes, in the form of Owen, a teenage boy with his own plan, memories surfacing even in those without amnesia, and ends being manipulated all over, this is a twisting tale of love, violence, truth and lies.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.