blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Great Tree – Able Barrett

Andrew and his older brother Nicholas were separated as children.

Nicholas had been snatched away by the Prince of Darkness, and Andrew had all but given up hope, but now their mother is ill, and he’s determined to reunite them before she passes – despite her objections.

With his dog Jenny by his side, Andrew sets out on an epic and perilous crusade well beyond his wildest imagination, facing evil protectors, giant wolves, dark magic, Sorcerers, Goblins, and even the Prince of Darkness himself.

Then there’s The Great Tree. 

It’s enormous, with a presence that’s nearly impossible to describe…

And it’s clearly the heart of the kingdom of the wicked Sorcerer. 

This is the setting for the adventure story that changed Christmas forever!


Young people and adults of all ages will enjoy this thrilling fable in the same way we’ve enjoyed other great Christmas stories of the past.

Jenny the dog is based on a very real Jenny, the author’s vision of a true warrior – who has her own inspiring story that he’s happy to share with anyone who asks.

All proceeds from the sale of The Great Tree go to The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary to rescue unadoptable dogs, cats, and horses, an approved 501 (c)(3) Animal Public Welfare Charity that greatly appreciates the ongoing support of readers like you!

Able Barrett is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force Prosecutor who shamelessly admits he loves animals more than most people, and he’s the manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary.

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Andrew & The Treasured Spirit of the Northland

I enter the darkness that has been cultured for thousands of years, the legends of life gone by, ringing within its corridors with a deafening silence. I feel the presence of both good and evil, which seem to loosely pull at me. Which direction to take? A light can only slightly penetrate the thickness of the darkness. Faces begin to appear as ghost-like images; it’s a warning, which I do not heed. 

The images become clearer. They are the faces of beautiful women, goddesses perhaps; they draw my very being deeper into the darkness, serenaded by their gentle voices lifting away my fear of the unknown. I am floating now, effortlessly on a bed of soft blowing air. I am totally consumed. Have I fallen under a spell? I call out for help. 

Suddenly there is a flash of brilliant light and the real faces of the women are revealed to me. They are the true evil ones, the guardians of the darkness, the Temptress Sirens of the Dark Lords. They have surrounded me. I see a faint light in the distance. I begin to run towards the light, I feel Temptress Sirens clawing at me as I try to go towards the light in hopes of a safe passage. I hear a voice ever so softly… “Don’t go to the light…….Don’t go to the light…….It will deceive you. Use your faith and follow your heart.”  

I stop but I can feel the Temptress Sirens stalking me. I move through the complete darkness with my eyes closed now. There then appears a golden mist that forms a stairway leading upward through the darkness. Without hesitation, I follow the stairway climbing slowly out of the darkness. I can still feel the draw of the Temptress Sirens at my back growing stronger. I become weary as I continue to climb. The strength of the Temptress Sirens is beginning to hold me back. I fear I cannot make it to the top. A silhouetted hand appears from out of the darkness above me. I do not know whether to take it. I have no choice. I grab the hand and a gentle pull brings me away from the grasp of the Temptress Sirens. I hear their shrieks of madness slowly fade away as I am pulled forward. 

A gentle light appears and an Angel appears before me. She has the youthful beauty of a thousand ages. I hear her gentle voice speaking to me yet her lips do not move. Her name is Afriel. She is a being of light charged with safeguarding young life. She is to protect that which is youthful and tenderly growing within each of us, no matter how old we actually are. Afriel grants youth, vigor, and vitality. She places her hand on my forehead and closes her eyes as she nods her head and says, “go forward and save your brother, Nicholas.”


How did you do research for your book?

I start of course with my own knowledge; from there I am pretty impatient so I go to the internet and reliable sources. Since my books are mostly fiction I can make up anything I want, although I like to be as close to the truth as possible to make it believable which is always a goal of mine. 

Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

Nicholas was the hardest; here is a guy we swept away by the Prince of Darkness as a kid and transformed into something he was not; but he remembers deep in his soul what he was like. The easiest was Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy. 

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

I was working on a project and as I sat in my office out the window I saw this huge tree sitting on a hill in the distance, shaped perfectly and it came to my mind immediately what a “Great Tree” and the rest just fell into place. 

There are many books out there about Christmas. What makes yours different?

I could not find a book/story about how Santa Claus (St. Nick) came to be; also how did this Christmas tree celebration come to be. It may be the first book about how St. Nick and Christmas Tree celebration came to be; at least to my knowledge. 

What advice would you give budding writers?

Just go for it! Don’t let any excuse stop you. Failure is not a good reason not to try; otherwise nothing would get done. 

Your book is set in an alternative world. What inspired that?

The Great Tree is set somewhere between the 7 Kingdoms, Middle Earth, and the Shire. Great places that I love in lore and from great writers. 

In your book you focus on the brothers’ bond. Why is that?

Two young men together were the only powers on earth that had the power to defeat the evil before them. It is the key to the book and story, without it, the story fails. 

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

That is an easy one Andrew and Jenny; that was me and my girl Jenny, so very easy. 

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I am manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Rescue where we have a home for the unadoptable dogs, cats and horses that otherwise would be homeless or worse. I get to spend every day with my animal buddies which is a life all dream; while at the same time to write; nothing is better than that for me. 

How long have you been writing?

The Great Tree only took 25 years to finish. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

Absolutely. Drop it for a while then just jump back into when you least expect it and boom you are at it again. 

What is your next project?

“Life Beneath the Surface.” It is about a man that wakes up in the sweat lodge of an Indian medicine man, who just brought him back to life, when all else failed. He has a little memory of his past except that he remembers his wife, Aurora, was killed. It goes from there…

What genre do you write and why?

Fiction; fantasy, animals and sometimes epics, but always a good yarn!

What is the last great book you’ve read?

The Bible. 

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

“I really like your story but really loved the pictures!”

How are you similar to or different from your lead character?

I was a young man very similar to Andrew, as his persona is that of my own at that age, at least from my perspective, in particular his love of Jenny. 

If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

Andrew: Timothee Chalamet

Nicholas: Tom Holland

Aurora: Sydney Sweeney

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

A movie score by Hans Zimmer; Lead Song by Lady Gaga; and Directed by Antoine Fuqua

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

Making it as perfect as you can; proofed to perfection and getting the pictures to match your mind’s eye and then getting people to read it!.  

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Long and winding road!

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Just go for it. You will be surprised what you have inside you, that just needs a jump start to get going, and the you will have a great fun doing it. 

Which authors inspired you to write?

J. R.R. Tolkien

George R.R. Martin

Jack Kerouac

Dr. Seuss

Jack London

What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

A deeper dive into the personalities of Andrew and Nicholas but it slowed the pace of the book too much. 

On rituals:

Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?

Nope! I work best on an empty stomach. 

Where do you write?

In my office with my dogs all around me. The atmosphere is perfect.

Do you write every day?

It goes in spurts. Days at time and then a break, sometimes caused by life’s ever-changing  events. 

What is your writing schedule?

Late nights when it is quiet.

Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?

I like having a movie I have seen a million times but has a good soundtrack in the background. 

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I have because it is actually faster and you can do an outline form much faster, at least in my case that sometimes is the only way to keep up with my brain pumping out ideas quickly and rather in random order. 

If you’re a mom writer, how do you balance your time?

I am a dad to my dogs, and I find the time with them is in balance at all times. 

Fun stuff:

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

431 BC – 404 BC to the Greek and Sparta era; the time of my ancestors!

Favorite travel spot?

The beach.

Favorite dessert?

Don’t like deserts; but I would like to visit the Sahara Desert. 

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you? 

Boat building book for novice; Edible native plants; and The Bible.

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

My compassion and caring for animals.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

That is my life; it didn’t change much during the pandemic, because I pretty much stayed at home most of my life anyway; it is typical, not atypical.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Kojak – he is of Greek heritage too. 

What is your theme song?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 

What is your favorite thing to do in winter?

Playing with my kids (dogs and cats); going on hikes with them is wonderful, even better in the snow. 

What is a favorite Christmas tradition (or memory)?

I love watching It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I first saw it when I was about 14 or 15 and I lived outside of Chicago, where I grew up. It was on the local PBS station. I started watching just when Gorge Bailey is on bridge and about to jump in to commit suicide when Clarence, his guarding angel, saves him. After the movie was over I went outside at about 1 in the morning and it was snowing big snowflakes outside and it was an absolutely beautiful night out, with the snow gently falling ever so gently. I will remember it forever. 

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

Walking in Memphis 

What is something that made you laugh recently?

When Jenny just starts to roll over on her back and scratches in the grass, always cracks me up as funny and happy because she is so happy. 

What is your go-to breakfast item?

Spinach

Hard Boiled Egg

Whole Grain English Muffin

Yogurt

Non-fat Milk

What is the oldest item of clothing you own?

I have t-shirts from high school days from the 1970s. 

Tell us about your longest friendship.

I have some friends that we get together every year in summer that date back to grade school days, about 60 years; Rob, Will, Jimmy, Scott, and Cookie. Rob and I are the closest. I pray for their good health and prosperity every day. 

What is the strangest way you’ve become friends with someone?

I saved (adopted) a couple of dogs Pebbles and Bambam from a no kill shelter in 2004; they had been dropped off when they were just puppies on the shelter doorstep; and had been there for 5 years. Pebbles was quite famous as she one night opened the gate to the puppies’ room and they found a bag of kibble and they all feasted until morning when they were found. Pebbles and Bambam were great dogs and I loved them both. The lady that helped me adopt them; we became very good friends from then on; even today. 

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

An actress that went to my high school, before my time, but I still had quite a crush on her, even today, Ann-Margret.


My thoughts: this was an adventure story about one young man and his dog, Jenny, going on an epic quest to find his missing brother and save him from the darkness. There’s magic and danger but the bond between Andrew and Jenny, as they fight to redeem Nick and return to their home, is at the heart of the story. An enjoyable holiday fantasy. And all proceeds from the book go to support an animal charity. Whi

*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: Woodborn – Heather Nix

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We’re thrilled to share the cover for the soon to be released epic, sapphic fantasy, Woodborn by Heather Nix — Coming January 2023!

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Woodborn (Song of Gods #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 21, 2023

Genre: Sapphic Fantasy/ High Fantasy

“I do not know how I lived in darkness for so many years with this bright world just waiting for me to grasp it.”

Maelwen is a young witch trapped in a harsh and unforgiving life. Friendless and alone, she endures terrible abuse in order to survive in the desolate land of Iowain.

Across the continent, Cicerine, a virtuous young faun, lives in the idyllic glade of Kanitosh Woods. Alongside her mother and closest friend, she is raised with dutiful reverence for the god, Idyth—led by the mysterious Father Farragen.

After escaping her tormentor and seeking a new life of her own, Maelwen finds a fresh start in the seedy trade city of Konidas. Meanwhile, a terrible tragedy befalls the glade, and Cicerine must flee to the same seaside town, leaving behind all she has ever known.

As a dark and menacing force spreads across Idythia, can Maelwen’s gifts and Cicerine’s developing power stand against the threat which faces them all? Alongside found family, new friends, and a crew of sapphic pirates, the line between good and evil is tested as the continent prepares for an epic battle.

CW: This is a sapphic fantasy novel, featuring a great deal of blood. Full list here

Coming Soon! Pre-order here!

*Cover Art by Anna Doušová

About the Author

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Heather Nix is the debut author of Woodborn, the first book in the Song of Gods series. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA she longs to return to the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She is the mother of two human and three cat children, and enjoys tattoos, tabletop RPGs, and creating feminist art in her limited spare time. Heather is passionate about writing queer fantasy and strives to create nuanced characters who resonate with underserved communities.

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Blog Tour: The Heart of Neverland – Natalie J. Reddy

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I am thrilled to be part of the book tour for The Heart of Neverland by Natalie J. Reddy! Read on for more details!

eBook - The Heart of Neverland

The Heart of Neverland (The Neverwitch Chronicles #1)

Expected Publication Date: November 30th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Adventure/ Pirates/ Pan Retelling

One night.

That’s all it takes to turn my life upside down. It’s not like I had the most stable childhood to begin. Most of it was spent on the run from the villains in my mom’s head. It isn’t until after she’s murdered right in front of me that I realize maybe they weren’t in her head after all.

After her death I go to stay with an uncle I didn’t know existed to try to make sense of my life and find some answers about who I really am. As I search for the truth a guy named Peter shows up and makes it his mission to constantly get in my personal space. He’s gorgeous, flirty and completely infuriating. And possibly not actually human or from this world.

The things he tells me sound insane and I don’t think I can trust him. It doesn’t matter that each heated touch draws me deeper into his web. Things like magic, pirates and Peter Pan just aren’t real.

PRE-ORDER HERE!

About the Author

Author

Natalie J. Reddy is a Canadian Author who spends her days trying to escape reality by making up stories about the characters in her head.

Natalie realized at an early age that she had a passion for storytelling and that passion followed her into adulthood. There is nothing she loves more than to be pulled into a fictional world whether it’s in her own writing or the writing of others. Natalie is the author of the Scar of Days Forgotten series, a New Adult Urban Fantasy series with characters who have supernatural abilities and dark and sometimes unknown pasts to overcome.

When she’s not writing, Natalie can be found having all sorts of real-life adventures with her husband and daughter or curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

To keep up to date on upcoming books, subscribe to Natalie’s newsletter at nataliejreddy.com

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My thoughts: this was a very interesting take on the Peter Pan story. There’s a lot of darkness in the original and Natalie J. Reddy has certainly explored that element here, Pan is not a sweet innocent, but a grown man who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. With strong adult themes (consent, sex, murder) this is not the Disneyfied story you might be expecting.

Book Tour Schedule

November 28th

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

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

@over.on.my.bookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/over.on.my.bookshelf/?hl=en

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

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

November 29th

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

@the.brooke.library (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.brooke.library/

@ecce.libri (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ecce.libri/

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

@_toris.thoughts_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_toris.thoughts_/

November 30th

@its_b.e.l.l.e (Review) https://www.instagram.com/its_b.e.l.l.e/

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

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

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

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

@ better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read/

December 1st

@alexis.reads__ (Review) https://instagram.com/alexis.reads__?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

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

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

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

Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

December 2nd

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

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

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

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

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com

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Blog Tour: Children of Memory – Adrian Tchaikovsky

The modern classic of space opera that began with Children of Time continues in this extraordinary novel of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Earth failed. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carried its precious human cargo to a potential new paradise. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.

Then strangers appear. They possess unparalleled knowledge and thrilling technology – and they’ve arrived from another world to help humanity’s colonies. But not all is as it seems, and the price of the strangers’ help may be the colony itself.

Children of Memory by Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky is a far-reaching space opera spanning generations, species and galaxies.

My thoughts: every time I read an Adrian Tchaikovsky book I decide I really don’t get it, then I read it again, and sort of get what is happening. And that’s how I ended up feeling like Miranda does in the later sections of this complex, clever and slightly infuriating book. There are dozens of clever little literary and cultural references throughout, it takes time to spot them and I certainly felt silly when it hit me that The Tempest might be a source, the main character is called Miranda after all!

Visiting a planet that may or may not be occupied by the descendants of fleeing humans, refugees from the end of Earth, the crew of the Skipper hope to find a colony. But something strange is going on.

On Irma, Liff, the granddaughter of Captain Holt of the Enkidu, has a new teacher. And she keeps seeing her grandfather and she’s also pretty sure there’s a witch in the hills. But no one will listen to her, so she’s going to find out herself.

Clever, richly metatextual, intelligent science fiction that asks big questions about reality, life, memory and who gets to decide. Very pleasing.

*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: A Restless Truth – Freya Marsk

A Restless Truth is the second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.

Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance!

Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She expected plenty of it when she volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner, in order to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago.

What she didn’t expect was for the old lady in question to turn up dead on the first day of the voyage. Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham, who’s also returning home to England. Violet is everything that Maud has been trained to distrust yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress, and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must first drop the masks that they’ve both learned to wear before they can unmask a murderer and somehow get their hands on a magical object worth killing for—without ending up dead in the water themselves.

My thoughts: I didn’t think this would be better than A Marvellous Light, one of my favourite books of recent years, but oh it is. I loved Maud, I loved Violet, I even like grumpy Hawthorn. Basically I adored this book. A sapphic murder aboard a ship with magic and hijinks and lots of Maud getting a very private education from Violet. And it’s so, so, so good. Elements of Tipping the Velvet, Titanic (do not tell me the hiding in the car scene wasn’t a huge nod, that ended very differently), Agatha Christie style crime novels (made me think of the recently published A Fatal Crossing and Miss Aldridge Regrets) and just tremendous fun.

Maud is undercover, when the lady she’s accompanying across the Atlantic is murdered and she needs to solve the crime, identify the piece of the very important Last Contract, and avoid getting murdered herself, so she can report back to Robin and Edwin safe and sound. So obviously she recruits a team – an actress, a Lord and a reporter/jewel thief, and those are just the people who know they’ve been recruited (there’s a menagerie involved too – cheetahs at sea!)

I loved this and I can’t wait for my fancy Illumicrate edition to arrive and sit next to its siblibg on the bookcase and there’s still a book three to come and I am very excited as you might be able to tell…

*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: Deuce – Gail Meath

One for sorrow, two for spice triggers a game of three blind mice.

While vacationing in New England, PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, bite off more than they can chew when two small town deaths reveal two big time killers, and the locals don’t take too kindly to strangers.

Laura Graystone, Broadway star, auto expert, and Jax’s heartthrob, is once again front and center digging for clues while trying to ditch an old boyfriend. That is, until her brother becomes Jax’s prime suspect. Then all hell breaks loose, and Ace is left in the lurch, tracking down leads with his new sidekick, Susie.

A crazy duet of crimes sends Jax, Laura and Ace into a tailspin in small-town USA during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is above the law, everyone is a suspect, and time is running out before the clock strikes one.

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Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

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My thoughts: another cracking case for Jax and Co, most importantly Ace, always the best canine PI the Roaring Twenties has. Things are going great till they’re very much not and Jax and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of the case. Ace is helping new pal Susie, while the lovebirds are at odds and the clock is ticking.

I love this team, obviously Ace makes them extra good at crime solving. This was another corker and the historic setting is a bonus as I’m a history nerd!

*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 Judas Tree – Amanda Jennings

At a bleak boys’ boarding school in Cornwall in the eighties when bullying is rife, Will and his best friend, Luke, are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.

Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of a painful childhood come flooding back to haunt them both.

Will’s wife, Harmony, is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, and wishes Will would open up about what happened. But as Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, Luke, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt and desire . . .

My thoughts: childhood trauma is never completely left in the past in this thriller. Luke inviegles his way into old friend Will’s adult life, and slowly forces his way between Will and Harmony. The problems in their marriage mean there’s a weakness, they’re not as rock solid as they like to think. And Luke is happy to manipulate that. He’s had years to plan his revenge.

None of the characters are hugely likeable and they all do pretty mean things to each other but Luke is so damaged and takes everything to an extreme in his desire to avenge his child self. He’s twisted things in his mind for so long, his childhood was awful, his parents absent but it doesn’t excuse the monster he becomes. Therapy would probably have been more help. Creepy and sinister, perhaps looking up old friends on Facebook needs to stop. Just in case.

*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 Good News Gazette – Jessie Wells

Because we all need something to smile about!
She may be down but don’t count this determined single mum out just yet…
Nine years ago, Zoe Taylor returned from London to the quiet hamlet of Westholme with her tail between her legs and a bun in the oven. Where once her job as a journalist saw her tearing off to Paris at a moment’s notice after a lead, now the single mum covers the local news desk. At least, she did…until she’s unceremoniously let go.
When Zoe invites her friends over to commiserate, wine and whining soon turns into something more… and before the night is out she’s plotted her next step: The Good News Gazette.
Now, as a developer threatens to force Westholme into the twenty-first century, Zoe’s good news movement finds her leading a covert campaign as a community crusader. She may have started The
Good News Gazette as a way to save herself, but she might just be able to save Westholme in the process…

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Jessie Wells lives with her husband and two children in Merseyside. She has always written in some form, and previously worked as a journalist on the Liverpool Echo and Sunday Mirror and as a freelancer for various national women’s magazines and newspapers before moving into finance. She loves nothing more than getting lost in her imaginary worlds, which are largely filled with romance, communities bursting with character and a large dose of positivity.

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My thoughts: this book is such a joyful hug of a read, I loved Zoe and her determined attitude, she will find good news stories, she will save the Parade, and she will support herself and her son Charlie. And so she does. With the support of her mum, her pals and the new friends she makes as she goes about finding the positive things for the Good News Gazette’s pages, she discovers she can do pretty much anything she puts her mind to.

Funny, entertaining and with lots of heart, this was a cheering sort of book, with a dash of romance, the righting of a few wrongs, and a happy ending all round. Definitely the antidote to all the grim realities at the moment.

*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 Blitz: The Automobile Assassination – M.J. Porter


Erdington, September 1944
As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.
Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers
that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is
the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?
Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.
Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.
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MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh
to Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the
author’s writing destiny was set.

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My thoughts: this was a good old-fashioned whodunnit, with an intriguing victim – a man with no identifying documents or even clothes, found bent double near the airfield in wartime. Easy to see why Mason and O’Rourke look closely at the RAF stationed there.

Theres other strange goings on too, someone is tampering with the AA’s road side boxes, and there’s still a case Mason doesn’t even want to be investigating to be resolved – Jones would love the counterfeiting case.

But there’s more crime than coppers, so Mason, aided by the very resourceful O’Rourke (not limited to filing and tea making as sadly female police officers really were for a long time) to solve all of these cases and identify the mysterious dead man in order to return him to his family and find his killer. Highly 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.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Suicide Thursday – Will Carver

If words could kill…

Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.

He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter.

Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction. When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…

Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award 2020 and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and was followed by three standalone literary thrillers, The Beresford, Psychopaths Anonymous (both optioned for TV) and The Daves Next Door. He lives in Reading with his family.

My thoughts: another strange adventure inside the psyches of some more Carver characters. This time Eli, who can only write first chapters, Jackie, his girlfriend, and Mike, his best friend.

Leading up to and away from Mike’s terrible, tragic death, Eli struggles with what kind of person he is, hates his awful, soul destroying job (reminiscent of Office Space) and keeps planning on dumping Jackie. Who’s cheating on him, and visiting a confessional every week to appease her guilt.

Mike’s death makes them both feel guilty, and wonder whether they could have stopped it. But someone has been nudging him along, will his phone reveal their identity? And what’s with the two Teds in the coffee shoppe next door?

With little references to other Carver books for the careful reader, and clever little moments where you wonder just what’s real and what’s maybe in Eli’s head, like his invisible therapist, this is another clever, twisty turny book from one of my favourite authors.

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