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Blog Tour: The Concierge – Miranda Rijks

They hired an assistant to help them. But she has other plans.

High-flying duo Goldie and Braun Delucci run a major film production company. But recently their gilded lives were touched by tragedy when one of their leading actors, Ally, died in a car crash.

What the Deluccis don’t realise is that their newly hired private assistant is actually Ally’s sister. Simone is convinced Ally’s death was suspicious and she is determined to find out what happened on that terrible night.

Simone’s new job puts her at the heart of a rich, dysfunctional family. As she digs for the truth about Ally’s death, she realises someone is watching her. And they want her gone.

That just makes Simone more determined to discover whatever terrible secret the Deluccis are hiding. But she doesn’t understand she is about to uncover something so dark, so shocking that her own life may never be the same again.

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Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

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My thoughts: this was a clever premise and paid off nicely. Simone goes undercover with her sister’s former employers to find out what really happened to her and gets caught up in a messed up family and a terrible situation.

No one is particularly honest about things, apart from maybe the children, though not teenager Rose, who’s hiding all sorts of nasty little secrets. But her dad isn’t very truthful either and his secrets put people in harm’s way.

Simone finds that her sister, far from the drug addicted car thief the media are spinning her as, was, as expected, an innocent caught up in something bigger than her and with someone who can’t be trusted.

I felt for Simone but she took things incredibly far, pretending to be someone else and her niece almost paid the price. Honesty tends to be the better policy. Luckily Goldie was a really nice person and not to blame and able to forgive the deception, of Simone at least.

*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: Where David Threw Stones – Elyse Hoffman

Welcome to the tour for Where David Threw Stones by Elyse Hoffman. Perfect for fans of The Book Thief.

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Where David Threw Stones

Publication Date: September 27th, 2022

Genre: Historical Fantasy/ Historical Fiction/ WW2

“Welcome to the Brennenbach of Midnight! The Curse Hours have begun.”

West Germany, 1968

When ten-year-old David Saidel’s parents are murdered, he is sent to live with his grandfather in the anti-Semitic village of Brennenbach. Miserable and lonely, David finds solace in his kindly Grandpa Ernst, who has one strict rule: never go out after midnight.

When David breaks curfew to search for his missing dog, he discovers why Ernst is so serious about his curfew: Brennenbach is cursed. When midnight strikes, the town is thrown back to 1943, the height of Hitler’s reign.

The Nazi ghosts that infest Brennenbach are just as dangerous as they were in life. They’re hunting for David, thinking he is the last member of a family they’ve been ordered to destroy.

Through the help of a little girl named Maria Rahm, David sets out to end the Curse before it claims more victims.

Award-winning author Elyse Hoffman has crafted an expertly woven tale of World War II’s horrors – perfect for readers of Marcus Zusak’s “The Book Thief,” or Michael Reit’s “Beyond the Tracks.”

Check out the wonderful reviews on Goodreads and grab a copy today!

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Elyse Hoffman is an award-winning author who strives to tell historical tales with new twists. She loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: The Barracks of the Holocaust five-book series and The Book of Uriel. Elyse’s books are the way to go if you love history and want to read some unique stories.

Elyse Hoffman

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Blog Tour: Case Files – Rachel Amphlett

Discover twelve dark and twisted mysteries from USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett.

This page-turning collection features The Man Cave in which Darren regains consciousness in a dank basement where escape turns out to be the least of his worries; in All Night Long Zoe soon wishes she wasn’t working the late shift; and in Nowhere to Run a rookie detective encounters her first serial killer… but will she survive?

My thoughts: this was a really enjoyable collection of short crime stories. Some were very brief and others felt like the beginning of a novel. All were clever and a couple made me laugh out loud. If you like crime fiction and short stories, you could do a lot worse than starting with these.

*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: Local Girl Missing – J.A. Baker

Missing without trace…
When local woman Deborah goes missing, her colleagues Adrian, Yvonne and Merriel are all left in shock. Gossip around the office begins to swirl – what could have happened to Deborah? Is she dead or alive? And who could be responsible for her disappearance?
Everyone is terrified that they could be next…except the one person who has all the answers. The last person people expect.
Because Deborah is being held captive by a monster, a psychopath. But not a stranger… it’s someone she knows all too well…
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J. A. Baker is a successful psychological thriller writer of numerous books, previously published by Bloodhound. Born and brought up in Middlesbrough, she still lives in the North East, which inspires
the settings for her books. Her first title for Boldwood will be published in December 2022.

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My thoughts: I enjoyed this, I liked the switching between different characters so you see what they think about each other and recent events. You don’t know who to trust because they all seem to be hiding something. Even Deborah, who ask the kidnapped victim, you’d think would be the most honest.

I had no idea who the kidnapper was. There were too many suspects, too many messed up families. So it was a huge surprise and yet there were definitely questions at the end that still needed answers.

*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 Secrets of Rochester Place – Iris Costello

Spring 1937: Teresa, a young Basque girl, is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she has reached safety in the lofty halls of Rochester Place and the soothing arms of Mary Davidson, but trouble seeks her out wherever she goes…

Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency services operator, receives a call from a distressed woman called Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at Rochester Place – the address the woman gave them – she is nowhere to be found. No matter how hard she tries to forget, memories of Mary’s raw fear haunt Corinne and secrets, long-hidden in Corinne’s family tree, begin to surface.

Is Mary calling from beyond the grave? And what actually happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?

Set between the dusty halls of Rochester Place and the bustling streets of modern-day Tooting, this emotive, intricately layered mystery tells the spellbinding story of two people, separated by time, yet mysteriously connected through an enchanting Georgian house and the secrets within its walls. The perfect escapist read for fans of Kate Morton, Eve Chase and Lulu Taylor.

My thoughts: inspired by the author’s family, this is a moving and clever timeslip book, set between now and events in the Spanish Civil War and Second World War.

Sadly Spain’s horrific 1930s War is not taught much here, and what little I know I’ve learnt as an adult. But it was the precursor to the horrendous events of WW2, especially the massacre of Guernica. Which is where little Theresa is fleeing from.

Sent to safety in England by her elder sister, Theresa travels by sea with other refugee children. Offered a home by the kind and intriguing Mary, an Irish woman who speaks Basque and lives with her English husband in Rochester Place, she finds herself in a world unlike that she’s known. But Mary has secrets and a past too.

How these two are connected to Corinne, who works as an emergency services call handler, while her wife and sister-in-law run a family restaurant, selling the delicious food their mum used to make. After a strange phone call shakes her, Corinne and her historian uncle Robin look into Rochester Place and its occupants. Then she’s called to Ireland, where her grandmother is ill. And secrets are about to be revealed.

Moving and rather lovely, with several love stories mixed into the history, this is a heartwarming tale of found family, survival 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: A Deadly Covenant – Michael Stanley

While building a pipeline near the Okavango Delta, a contractor unearths the remains of a long-dead Bushman. Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to investigate, and MacGregor discovers the skeletons of eight more men.

Shortly after the gruesome discoveries, the elder of a nearby village is murdered in his home. The local police are convinced it was a robbery, but Kubu isn’t so sure … and neither is the strange woman who claims that an angry river spirit caused the elder’s death.

As accusations of corruption are levelled and international outrage builds over the massacre of the Bushman families, Kubu and his colleagues uncover a deadly covenant, and begin to fear that their own lives may be in mortal danger…

Michael Stanley is the writing team of South African authors Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana CID. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. The third in the series, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award. A Death in the Family and Dying to Live are the latest in the Detective Kubu series, published by Orenda Books. A prequel to the Detective Kubu series, Facets of Death, was published in 2021 and A Deadly Covenant follows Kubu’s second case.

My thoughts: Detective Kubu returns in a case of murder, secrets and promises. Sent out to a remote village to investigate human remains found while digging for new water pipes, Kubu encounters people who won’t speak up, closing ranks against the outsiders. As more bones are found and pathologist Dr McGregor thinks they’re the massacred remains of a group of Bushmen, discriminated against widely, and some may be children, Kubu becomes more determined to find the truth. Then new murders occur.

As Assistant Commissioner Mabuku comes out to help with this new spate of crime, the local police think it’s a newcomer – a Bushman who says he’s come at the behest of his ancestors, because of the bodies they’ve found.

Digging into local history, rumours and friendships, the team find a terrible pact made between a group of friends years before. Could this hold the answers?

Gripping, trawling through the worst things humans can do, but with a lightness of touch, finding moments of humour, and with such intriguing characters. I loved the last Kubu I read and this was also very good. Enjoyable and thought provoking.

*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: Alone With You in the Ether – Olivie Blake

Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the Art Institute, in the armoury section, quite by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.

Everything else, however, is slightly different.

Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.

Alone with you in the Ether, is a glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.

My thoughts: as someone living with mental illness, I do understand Regan’s ambivalence towards medication – I take mine because without it I can’t realistically function but I do wonder what parts of me it silences. For Regan it’s her art, she can’t draw or paint while medicated.

For Aldo perhaps it’s his brilliance with numbers, she calls him a genius. Constantly working on complex calculations in his head, contemplating hexagons and bees. The number six repeats throughout the book. The six conversations Regan agrees to have with him.

This isn’t an easy to read, simple love story. It’s complex and messy, much like life. Similarly to the author’s Atlas books there is a fascination with time travel – Aldo is trying to solve it with maths, the Atlas scholars with magic.

Regan and Aldo are interesting figures, trying to solve their place in the world, to understand themselves as well as the bigger questions in the universe – love being one of them.

*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 Weekend Alone – Jacqueline Grima

Bella has the perfect life with her husband Jack and their two children – until the ex who stalked her years ago is released from prison.

A tragic past that haunts her
Now Bella is convinced he’s back to hurt her, and sees him everywhere – but no one else can see that anything is wrong.

One last chance to put it behind her
With her family away for the weekend, Bella determines to leave the past in the past – but she’s about to discover the danger is closer to home than she ever imagined…

My thoughts: traumatised and haunted by a terrible experience with a stalker, Bella is reliving it and seeing him everywhere after he’s released from prison. Her husband Jack is worried about her, more so when she insists on spending the weekend alone while the kids are away.

But all is not as it seems, and this time the monster terrorising Bella is a lot closer to home. I was genuinely thrown when their identity was revealed, as it chucks the preceding narrative up in the air and you have to reevaluate everything that’s gone before.

I was really glad that Bella had a true friend in Jazz, someone who had her back even when Bella didn’t realise it. And that her stalker got to redeem himself along the way. Clever and twisted, this stays with you.

*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 Missing Wife – Kerry Barrett

1933. Hannah Snow is fleeing her unhappy marriage when she finds herself in a small hotel on the banks of Loch Ness. But when a monster is spotted in the depths of the waters, the press descends – and Hannah finds her hiding place is discovered. Someone has been looking for Hannah, and when they find her events will take a devastating turn…

Present day. True crime podcaster Scarlett finds herself intrigued by the mystery of Hannah Snow, wife of a promising government minister who disappeared in 1933 – just months before her husband also went missing, presumed dead. As Scarlett works to uncover the truth, she discovers a tragic family secret, and a story as murky as the depths of the loch where Hannah and her husband were last seen…

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, Hannah flees her unfortunate marriage for a new life in Scotland on the banks of the Loch Ness, just as monster fever sweeps the land. Can she stay hidden or will someone from her past show up?

True crime podcaster Scarlett is on Hannah’s trail years later. Did she and MP husband Laurie end up in the Loch or did they manage to disappear to new lives back in the 1930s, before the internet and social media would make that impossible?

As Scarlett digs through the archives and talks to locals, falling for a monster hunter and fellow podder along the way, she learns not just some secrets from the past but ones from the present that might make her horrible ex Charlie finally go away.

Fun and cheering, I loved Hannah, a very modern woman who wants to be a journalist and not a trophy wife and certainly not in a sham marriage. Her adventures in Scotland lead to a whole new life and I cheered her, and Scarlett, who also needed a new start, on.

*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 Best Case Scenario – D.B. Sayers

Welcome to the book tour for D.B Sayers NA romance novel, The Best Case Scenario. Read on for more info!

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Best Case Scenario (The Nyra Westensee Series)

Publication Date: April 2018 (First Edition)

Genre: NA Romance

“Isn’t hope in some form our best case scenario?”

More than a year after graduating from college, Nyra is beginning to wonder when her life, professional and personal, gets started. Was it like this for her mother? She doubts it, but things were different, then. Nyra’s reality is nothing like her mother’s. Each generation confronts its own challenges.

Still, she’s tired of feeling like she’s wading through waist-deep wet cement. Buried somewhere deep in a future she can sense but not feel, Nyra can hear the siren’s song of hope and hypothetical options whispering to her. She’s so ready! But is the song she hears hope or just an illusion?

Best Case Scenario is the first act in Nyra Westensee’s journey from student to self-aware, fully actualized woman.

CW: Mature Content/ Adult Situations/ Sex and Sexuality

Fifty (50) percent of all royalties earned through the sale of Best Case Scenario, print or electronic are donated to Stand Up for Racial Justice.

Excerpt

Splashes of mid-afternoon sun dapple the stairs retreating down to the beach, shaded by a green archway of Eucalyptus, Hibiscus and Bougainvillea, still blooming fiery red. “Steep,” Toni observes. The sign reads, Coastal Access. Open to the Public—Thousand Steps Beach.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Nyra assures her. “And it isn’t really a thousand steps…more like three hundred, I think. It just feels like a thousand on the way back out but—”

“Greaaat…there’s no easier way?”

“Not unless you have a boat.” Nyra shrugs. “Sorry.”

“I get it. Payback for riding your ass these past few weeks, right?”

“No! And it’ll be way worth the climb.”

“Better be.” Toni pulls her sunglasses down to give Nyra the benefit of her best stink-eye, softened with a teasing smile.

“I promise. Let’s go.”

Toni grabs Nyra’s hand to stop her. “And you keep your promises, right?”

Nyra’s heart races and she squeezes Toni’s hand, drawing her toward the stairs. “Come on,” she says. “Low tide was almost an hour ago, but the caves will still be dry.”

The whole way down, Nyra is acutely aware of the caress of Toni’s eyes from the side and the warmth of the hand she’s still holding. Sunlight winks at them periodically, through the canopy overhead. Twice on the way down, the tickle of a low-hanging branch against her shoulder makes her shiver. Fear, anticipation—both?

At the bottom, they break into full sunlight that seems to bless the translucent waves, staining them a delicate tourmaline. Strands of kelp mark the last high tide line in the sand. Nyra is surprised to find the beach deserted.

She shrugs out of her hydration pack and sheds her sweatpants, revealing skimpy bikini bottoms. “We’re guaranteed to get wet somewhere,” she explains. “Either in the caves or the tide pools.” She glances at Toni’s navy-blue Capri leggings. “Those may salt stain. I have an extra pair of shorts in my pack you can wear if…”

Toni’s already skimming her capris over her hips, to reveal ivory panties, with lace trim. She exchanges her capris, still warm to the touch for Nyra’s shorts. “Thanks,” she says.

“My pleasure.” Nyra rolls Toni’s leggings carefully and stows them in her pack, along with her sweatpants.

She takes a deep drink from her hydration tube and offers it to Toni. After a tentative sip, Toni takes a deeper drink. “Tastes like pomegranate,” she notes.

“My brother Kip used to get on my case about not drinking enough while we were out hiking or at the beach,” Nyra replies. “But I can’t stand drinking plain water, especially after it gets warm. So, I started adding ice cubes and flavoring to make it more palatable.”

“Good idea!”

They poke around in the tide pools, where Nyra points out black and wavy top Turban, Sea Anemone, Limpets and a startled Shore Crab, scuttling across the partially submerged rocks. She can’t recall it ever being this deserted.

The tide’s still low enough to clamor around in the exposed caves, worn smooth by wave erosion in some places, rough with barnacles in others. Where boulders are routinely awash, moss clings to them, filling the air with the humid, organic scent of life.

“I’ve lived in Southern California almost ten years,” Toni observes, “and I had no idea this was even here. I thought you had to go a couple hundred miles up the coast to find places like this.” Her eyes meet Nyra’s and she steps closer. “Thanks for taking the time to be my tour guide, today.”

“My pleasure,” Nyra replies. Toni is so close now, Nyra can feel her warmth. Even in the subdued light of the cave, she feels the pull of her eyes. Nyra’s stomach spasms as Toni’s hands slip around her waist. She looks up, offering lips that tremble when Toni’s find hers. She kisses back, tentatively, then insistently.

Apprehension melts into desire, spiking Nyra’s blood with excitement as her lips bloom open to welcome the probe of Toni’s tongue. Nyra’s hands, as though with a will of their own, slide over Toni’s hips, pulling her closer. Her thoughts swim to the caress of Toni’s ripe, sweet mouth.

She can feel herself opening up and the cave’s humid shelter mutes the outside world. Time feels elastic, as though it’s bending to their will, making the moment last. Even the irritant of the rough cave walls digging into Nyra’s back can’t distract her, until the sound of water sluicing into the cave brings her back to the present.

A thrill of apprehension competes with frustration and the hammering of her heart. “We should go.” Nyra’s whisper sounds dry, raspy to her. “Tide’s coming back in. And…the walk up always feels longer than the walk down.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Dirk’s path to authorship wasn’t quite an accident, but almost. It’s not that he didn’t write. He did. But through two previous careers, first as a Marine officer and subsequently as a corporate trainer, he started way more stories than he finished.

In the backwash of the 2008 financial meltdown however, Dirk’s employer filed for Chapter 11 protection and laid off more than half it’s staff. Cordially invited to leave and not return, he found himself out of work and excuses. He finished his contemporary last-chance romance entitled West of Tomorrow the following year.

Since then, Dirk has written five more books, including Best-Case Scenario, Act I of Nyra’s Journey and it’s squel, (Act II) entitled The Year of Maybe, published earlier this year. He also writes for Medium, blogs on his website, where you can find a full list of his works and subscribe to Smoke Signals, his newsletter.

A member of the Southern California Writer’s Association, Dirk lives in Laguna Niguel with his wife their psychotic cat and a 13-year-old Ball Python named Corona. Besides his passion for the written word, he’s an accomplished wood worker, snow skier and compulsive gym rat.

DB Sayers

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