blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Shimmer on the Water – Marina McCarron

When you’re lost sometimes the only way to look forward is to look back…
Three women. Two generations apart. One secret they share.
Maine, 1997. As the people of Fort Meadow Beach celebrate the Fourth of July, four-year- old Daisy Wright disappears and is never seen again.
Maine, 2022. Fired from her job and heart-broken, Peyton Winchester moves back home for the summer. Bored and aimless, she finds a renewed sense of purpose when going through her old diaries she is reminded of her dream of becoming a journalist. Returning to life in her home town brings back all kind of memories – including Daisy’s disappearance when she was a young girl herself.
As Peyton begins to search for answers about Daisy’s disappearance, she finds that they might be closer to home than she thinks – and their lives become intertwined with irreversible consequences.

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Marina McCarron was born in eastern Canada and studied in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to England. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Publishing degree. She has worked as a reporter, a freelance writer, a columnist and a manuscript evaluator. She loves reading and travelling and has been to six of the seven continents. She gets her ideas
for stories from strolling through new places and daydreaming. Her debut novel, The Time Between Us, came to her as she stood at Pointe du Hoc on a windy June day and asked the magical question, what if…?
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My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, supposedly Peyton is looking into the disappearance of little Daisy but really the mystery she’s most interested in is that of her mother, Lydia. Cold and remote, critical and clearly unhappy, she’s someone whose entire past is an intentional blank. When Peyton finds an old Christmas card, it starts her off trying to find out what happened to make her mother the way she is.

Intertwined with Peyton’s complicated summer of rediscovery is the story of Eualla, a young girl in rural Tennessee decades before, who she is and her life is a bit of a mystery to the reader but it does all make sense.

A clever, moving, complex story of mothers and daughters, of generational trauma and love.

*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: So Happy For You – Celia Laskey

A wedding weekend spirals out of control in this bold, electrifying, hilarious novel about the complexities of female friendship

Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. When Robin came out, Ellie was there for her. When Ellie’s father died, Robin had her back. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honor, she is reluctant. A queer academic, Robin is dubious of the elaborate wedding rituals now sweeping the nation, which go far beyond champagne toasts and a bouquet toss. But loyalty wins out, and Robin accepts.

Yet, as the wedding weekend approaches, a series of ominous occurrences lead Robin to second-guess her decision. It seems that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. Perhaps even Ellie herself.

Manically entertaining, viciously funny and eerily campy, So Happy for You is the ultimate send-up to our collective obsession with the wedding industrial complex and a riveting, unexpectedly poignant depiction of friendship in all its messy glory.

My thoughts: this is very funny and a bit silly but there’s a serious side to it as well. Set in a not-so-distant future where there’s an even more insane focus on marriage than there is now – the dating app telling women when they’re running out of time to reproduce was a particularly hellish detail, Robin and her best friend Ellie are on a collision course.

Robin hates weddings, is writing a sociology thesis on why the wedding industrial complex is so toxic and never wants to get married (thankfully her partner, Aimee, agrees) but Ellie cannot wait to be Mrs Ellie Ellison (gag).

Ellie wants Robin to be her Maid of Honour. Why on earth she asks her anti-wedding lesbian high school BFF and not one of her much more likely to agree other friends is beyond me. I didn’t have bridesmaids, and for my hen night I went out for dinner and cocktails with some friends (one of whom was a man) and my mum. I do not get the whole OTT wedding thing at all.

I don’t think Robin’s perfect though, she could just go along with some of Ellie’s requests (not the nuts ones though – the trust falls, the crazy wedding “charms”, some of the other stunts she pulls) but maybe being a little more enthusiastic for her friend might have meant it didn’t have to go quite so batshit over the wedding weekend.

Or not, I mean, some of it was hilarious, some just disturbing. Poor Ellie, I don’t actually think she’s crazy, but society has certainly made her act like she is. The huge pressure to get married, have the 2.4 children, dog and picket fence etc is huge and ugly and deeply unnecessary.

A really thought provoking and intelligent read with some really outrageous moments.

*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: Quarter to Midnight – Karen Rose

Quarter to Midnight is the first thrilling novel in a brand new series by Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Rose, set in New Orleans.

Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night.

His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death.

PI Molly Sutton knows what it’s like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack the investigation, as she tries to fight off her growing feelings for Gabe.

They soon realise Rocky was working on an investigation of his own; one that threatened to expose the deep corruption going all the way to the top of the police department. And that the key to the puzzle lies with a young witness to a murder that happened years earlier: Xavier Morrow.

Just what did Rocky know? And who might have shut him up?

As they get closer and closer to the truth, they realise that the killer is not going to stop at Rocky. And that Xavier is in very real danger. Someone will go to any lengths to protect what he witnessed that night coming out…

Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.

Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby -knitting.

My thoughts: I knew this was going to be good, it’s Karen Rose after all, but this was so good, so compelling. I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the whole book in one go – and it’s not a small book.

There’s basically two investigations. The one into Rocky’s death and then into the murder case he was looking into when he was killed. They tie together nicely, as it becomes clear whoever is targeting Gabe and Xavier is responsible for the murder during Katrina.

The PI team headed by Burke, with Molly assigned to Gabe, are clever and know how to get answers, aided by Xavier and his family, I loved Willa Mae. As they dig deeper into the case, they uncover corruption in the NOPD and ADA’s office that has been hiding a killer in plain sight.

The case is so compelling, and Gabe and Molly’s romance is pretty hot too. As the start of a new series, set in New Orleans, this is a fantastic introduction to the team and to the city. I cannot wait for more.

*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: Love & Other Human Errors – Bethany Clift

A book synopsis is fundamentally ridiculous. How can I possibly convey, in only 100 words, the events of the past year and their impact on my perfectly ordered existence?

It is insufficient space to accurately detail how I was blackmailed into demonstrating my flawless algorithm to find a soulmate, despite having no desire for one.

In my former life I avoided trivial human connections. I was alone, accomplished and brilliant.

Unfortunately, that solitary and driven woman no longer exists.

My name is Indiana Dylan and this is the extraordinary account of how I fell in love.

There: 100 words exactly.

My thoughts: I loved this funny, sweet book, I loved Indi and Jack and Lina and Connie and Bruce and Frank and Lina’s family and Peggy and Spider and of course Alan. I did not love Emily. She was a bitch.

Indiana is basically a genius, she’s designed an algorithm that can find anyone’s soulmate. And now she wants to sell it to JaneDoe, a tech company, so she can move on to her next project. Only people don’t do what you want. Cameron, the mean owner and CEO of JaneDoe forces Indi to be a human guinea pig and find her soulmate.

Her new friends Lina and Jack want to help her, Peggy, her brilliant assistant, wants to look after her, Frank and Alan who are basically her neighbours want to help her and look after her. She wants to be left alone.

I loved Indi’s determination, her resilience and her sadness, her life hasn’t been easy and she’s tried to bury it under her tech genius. But she’s lonely. And people need people. Once she starts to let people in, she changes and realises she doesn’t have to be alone anymore.

This was a lovely book, even the sad bits.

Also I’d like Mr & Mrs B to come and cook my Christmas Dinner this year please.

*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: Blitz Bullion Busters – Daryl Joyce

During the Blitz in World War II, £5 million pounds in gold bullion was loaded onto a secret, secure train in London.

When the train arrived at its destination the gold had vanished.

Eighty years later, three teenagers stumble across the mystery and set out to find the truth. What starts as an enjoyable search soon turns into a mysterious, dangerous and thrilling hunt under and through the streets of London, and a fight for their lives.

Daryl Joyce was born in Andover, Hampshire and brought up in Farnborough, also in Hampshire. He worked in IT for over twenty years, mostly in London, before deciding to do something more worthwhile than switching it off and on, and so become a primary school teacher.

Somewhere before being in school at 7am and after the end of a long day teaching hordes of young people, Blitz Bullion Busters was written. Daryl has long had a fascination with the London Underground and the myriad of stories surrounding it. Working with children has also given him valuable experience of what makes a story exciting and worthwhile.

When he is not writing, Daryl spends most of his time reading about hidden places underground and watching Star Trek. He now lives in Surrey, not far from Gatwick Airport with his wife and two pampered cats. This is his first book.

My thoughts: along with his best friend Jack and older stepsister Fazia, Wade is on the hunt for missing gold. Meant to be shipped to a secret location, it vanished in the tunnel somewhere between Bank and London Bridge during the Blitz. Can three smart teenagers manage to do what no one else has done and find the gold or will the sinister forces chasing them stop the search?

A short book but one that packs a lot in, this was a fun adventure story set in London’s Square Mile around Bank underground station. I knew all of the locations from when I worked just round the corner and that was fun, a different perspective on places thousands of people pass every day.

The characters are clever and work well together, resourceful and able to dodge the many people seemingly after them. Thank goodness for Ms Corner of the secret service though, helping them out so they don’t get grounded for their adventures.

*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: Small Angels – Lauren Owen

When Chloe turns the key to Small Angels, the church nestled at the edge of Mockbeggar Woods where she is to be married, she is braced for cobwebs and dust.What she doesn’t expect are the villagers’ concerned faces, her fiancé’s remoteness, or the nagging voice in her head that whispers to her of fears she didn’t even know she had.

Something in the woods is beginning to stir, to creep closer to the sleeping houses. Something that should have been banished long ago.

Whatever it is, it’s getting stronger, and pretending it’s not there won’t keep the wedding, or the village – or Chloe – safe.

My thoughts: woods have always been full of stories, magic and monsters. They have a pull on us and our imaginations. Mockbegger is the same here. The church of Saint Michael and All Angels – Small Angels, stands on its edges, not used by the villagers but only by the Gonnes. When Chloe hires it for her wedding she stirs up one of the things living deep in the woods.

A story of brothers and a death and a vengeful spirit, a story of sisters and secrets and a terrible night, a story of love and fear and finally setting the past free.

Beautiful, Gothic fiction, weaving a fairytale like spell over the people of the village, over Chloe and over the reader.

*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 Vicar Man – Amelia Crowley

Dora is a barmaid.
Usually her life is fairly simple: she gets up, cleans the inn, feeds the chickens, argues with the increasingly obstreperous cockerel, listens to the woes of her fellow barmaid, avoids doing the laundry, and serves drinks to the motley crew of islanders who lurk about the taproom every night.
The same old routine, day in, day out.Tonight, though, is different.

Tonight, just one week before the vernal equinox, after a catastrophically bad harvest the year before, a stranger has walked into the bar…

Amelia lives in Yorkshire with her family.

At least she definitely had a family around here somewhere, but to be honest she’s spent so much of the last year staring into a word processor she thinks they may have wandered off.

Her writing is fuelled by mugs of terrible, over-sugared coffee, much better chocolate, and the occasional macaron, and is punctuated by her soulless whimpers and the sound of her head hitting the keyboard. 

Occasionally she remembers to get up and do something else, if the cats bite her hard enough.​

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My thoughts: this was very funny, poor Dora, she just wants to find a way to rule the new vicar out of being sacrificed to the island’s god, and seducing the vicar or scaring him off seem like such good plans too.

But she hadn’t counted on Norman (the vicar) being completely immune to everything she tries and they’re running out of time.

Clever, funny and a bit silly too. Maybe human sacrifices are a bit passé but the island’s terrifying god needs appeasing somehow. Just not with roasted vicar.

Playing with tropes of horror and Gothic literature, as Dora attempts to save Norman from the flames and realises that perhaps, even though she’s read lots of books, she doesn’t know much at all.

*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: I Am Not OK – K. Lucas

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We are so excited to share I Am Not OK by author K. Lucas with you all today! Read on for more info!

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I Am Not Ok

Publication Date: July 5th, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller

All he ever wanted was a normal life, but now he’s been indicted for murder.

Ed is a social pariah, a target of bullies at work, and bears the brunt of his father’s brutality. When his co-workers start to go missing—people he has a reason to hate—Ed finds he’s a prime suspect.

Now, barbed wire, armed guards, and a forthcoming prison sentence separate him from the only person who matters: his twin sister, Emmie.

Emmie witnesses his abuse and vows to do everything she can to help him start a new life. But as the court date looms, everything she thought she knew is brought into question. Ed seems resigned to his fate and time is running out. She must convince her brother to fight for his defense before it’s too late.

CW: Profanity, Mental Illness, Abuse, Violence, Death

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About the Author

Author

K. Lucas is an author who lives for the unexpected twist. Originally from California, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, three dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. After earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology, she became a homeschool mom and then a full-time author. She loves all things thrilling & chilling, and her favorite pastimes include reading, watching scary movies, and exploring nature.

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Blog Tour: And Then There’s Margaret – Carolyn Clarke

Marriage and midlife can be difficult. But when you add a controlling, manipulative and self-absorbed mother-in-law into the mix, things can get worse-much worse. Toxic, even.

When Allison Montgomery’s beloved father-in-law and long-time confidant passes away, her mother-in-law, Margaret, ‘temporarily’ moves in. From rearranging the furniture and taking over the kitchen, to undermining and embarrassing Allie at every turn, including funding her daughter’s escape, throwing a hissy fit at the mall, and publicly equating Allie’s glass of Chardonnay to full blown alcoholism, Margaret turns Allie’s life upside down causing her to bounce between a sincere desire to support her grieving mother-in-law and an intense urge to simply push her out of the nearest window.

Feeling annoyed, trapped and even a little childish, Allie struggles to avoid a complete meltdown with help from her fearless and audacious best friend, a plan for reinventing herself and enjoying a second act, and, yes, a few glasses of Chardonnay. Along the way, Allie discovers the reasons behind Margaret’s attitude toward her all these years. Does it help? Maybe…

My thoughts: I am very grateful my mother-in-law is nothing like Margaret, because Margaret is a nightmare. Actually, my grandmother is very much like Margaret. Constantly criticising, cleaning up around you while you’re still eating (she once washed a plate while I was still half a sandwich shy of finishing) and just completely out of control.

Allie can’t work out how her late sainted father-in-law managed with Margaret, and now she’ll never know. It doesn’t help that her husband Hank is next to useless at standing up to his strident and overbearing mother.

But somehow they’ve either got to get along or one of them will kill the other. Margaret is almost always in Allie’s house (change the locks!) and always looking for something to criticise. But as the family mourn the patriarch, might there be something else going on with Margaret?

Funny and highly observant of life’s idiosyncrasies, Allie and Margaret dust themselves off for battle. And we’re along for the ride.

*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 Summer of Castles – Rachel Walkley

A Summer of Castles. A secret in ruins.
At the beginning of the sultry 2003 English summer, Robyn Yates quits her job to photograph fifteen castles for a man she’s never met. A man who won’t tell her his real name.
What motivates her is an unusual ability she can’t explain nor understand. Somebody does though and is keen to exploit her secret.
But Robyn isn’t alone on her journey. An artist is painting pictures of the same castles. Wherever she goes, so does he, like a stalker. But is he dangerous? And could this man be the same person who
wants her photographs?
She decides to challenge him, never anticipating that the confrontation will change the path of both of their lives.
The stifling summer will eventually end, but will Robyn find out the truth in time?

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Aspiring writer who pens Women’s Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.
What else?
An East Anglian turned Northerner – almost.
Information professional, always.
Biologist, in my memories.
Archivist, when required.
Amateur pianist and flautist.
Reluctant gardener.
Scribbler of pictures.
And forever…. a mother and wife.
Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!

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My thoughts: this was a clever and gentle romance with a mystery at its heart. Who is the stranger who calls themself Medici, after Lorenzo, who asks for photos and paintings of ruined English castles? Why did they pick Robyn? And what is the strange gift she has that brings a glimpse of the past to life?

As Robyn roams Northern England with her camera and meets a mysterious painter, she is drawn further into the swirl of secrets around her new patron. And romance awaits on the horizon as well as a sad tale or two.

Gently enjoyable and with summer baked through it – one before everyone had smart phones or watches, when getting information was a lot trickier than just asking Google, this is a clever and moving story.

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