blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Promises of the Runes – Christina Courtenay


He travelled through time to capture her heart.
The amulet was still in the palm of his hand. Was it some sort of conduit to the past? The image of the anguished woman in his vision was seared into his mind. Perhaps it could help him find her?
Ivar Thoresson is desperate for adventure. As an archaeologist specialising in Viking times, he wants nothing more than to travel back to the ninth century as his loved ones have done, to learn everything
he can about the era which fascinates him. And whilst his adopted family have always made him feel loved, the chance to meet a true ancestor, the warrior Thorald, is a temptation he cannot resist.
But while Ivar is preparing to go, he uncovers an amulet which shows him a vision of an arresting woman with red-gold hair. Clearly in distress, she is pleading for help. Convinced of the power of the charm and its message, Ivar’s journey takes on a new purpose. He steps back in time determined to follow his destiny – and find the woman who has called to his heart.

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Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014) and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes. Promises of the Runes (time travel romance published by Headline Review 13th April 2023) is her latest novel.
Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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My thoughts: this time we travel with Ivar to ninth century Norway, or what will become Norway. Ivar is related to the protagonists of this series’ other books and as both an archaeologist and a man passionate about tracing his roots, he’s determined to go back in time and meet his family’s ancestor – Thorald and his family.

Accepted tentatively by his relative, they embark on a trip to assist Thorald’s brother-in-law reclaim his heritage, and Ivar meets the girl of his dreams – quite literally.

Proving himself to be the Indiana Jones style of archaeologist, he’s willing to get stuck into the adventures, willing to fight even (having hung out and trained with re-enactors) and determined to protect the woman he’s falling hard for. Even though he doesn’t think he could spend forever in the past – unlike his foster sisters.

Having a male protagonist is interesting, seeing the adventure from a different perspective. Much like Linnea, Sara and Madison, he’s kind, clever and brave. I’m not sure how many of us would cope in such a different world 1000 years ago.

This story really reaffirms that family is found and made – it doesn’t have to be people you’re related to – unless they’re your many times great-grandfather!

*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 Forgotten Palace – Alexandra Walsh


In an underground labyrinth a lost soul wanders, waiting for revenge, waiting for love…

London 1900
Alice Webster has made the worst decision of her life. When her Aunt Agatha offers her the chance to go on a Grand Tour she jumps at the opportunity to get away from the glare of scandal. Heading off to see the world as the century turns, Alice begins to believe her broken heart can be healed, and a chance encounter on a train bound for Paris changes everything. When their journey takes them to a Cretan house thick with history, and the world-famous dig at Knossos, stories from the past begin to echo through Alice’s life.

London Present Day
Eloise De’Ath is meant to be a grieving widow. But if people knew the truth about her late husband, they’d understand why she can’t even pretend. Needing to escape, Eloise heads to Crete and the house her father-in-law Quinn left her, and slowly Quinn’s home begins to reveal its mysteries. In his office Eloise discovers his life’s work: the study of the Victorian excavation to find the Minotaur’s
labyrinth. Fascinated by the diaries of a young woman from the dig, Eloise is drawn into Alice’s tale of lost love and her growing obsession with Ariadne, the princess of the labyrinth.
Three women divided by time but connected by the long-hidden secrets of the past. As their stories join in a golden thread, a terrible injustice might finally be undone…
Purchase


Alexandra Walsh is the bestselling author of dual timeline historical mysteries, previously published by Sapere. Her books range from the fifteenth century to the Victorian era and are inspired by the
hidden voices of women that have been lost over the centuries. Formerly a journalist, writing for national newspapers, magazines and TV, her first book for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2023.

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My thoughts: I have always been fascinated by myths and legends and Crete contains so many of them, predating the Ancient Greeks too. No wonder Alice and then Eloise are drawn into the story of the Minotaur and the labyrinth.

Moving between the two women, and a mysterious third figure – Ariadne, the story weaves an intriguing web of love and loss, sacrifice and suffering from the ancient world to the present day. Both Alice and Eloise find healing in Crete, and new hope for their futures.

A beguiling and evocative book, replete with archaeological digs, myths and love stories, oh and lots of delicious Greek food. One to keep you dreaming in your living room.

*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 Rock at the Bottom – Cynthia Hilston

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Welcome to the book tour for The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston. Read on for more details!

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The Rock at the Bottom (Lorna & Tristan Series Book 3) 

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2023

Genre: Historical Romance/ Prohibition Era/ Clean Romance

A big dreamer and successful novelist carries the sins of his father and a secret that leaves him wondering if he is the author or killer of love.

Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt, young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other reason than to prove his father wrong.

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in the mirror.

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.

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Excerpt

At eighteen, I stood taller than my father. No one had come to my graduation ceremony—no big surprise. Afterward, I returned to my house. We’d moved out of the rundown dump along the Cuyahoga River, for with the passing years, Dear Daddy had climbed the career ladder. With the twenties well underway by that point, the auto industry was booming. Mr. George Richardson, Sr. could turn on the charm when needed, and he used it at his job to great effect. That he could devote himself to his work proved he could have devoted himself to his family…to me.

But no matter where I laid my head, no matter which of the three houses I’d been forced to live in while growing up, none had been my home.

We weren’t so wealthy as to live in one of the leftover mansions from Millionaires’ Row along Euclid Avenue or in the esteemed residences of Bratenahl just east of downtown Cleveland along the lakeshore. The Fifth City, as Cleveland was called back then, was changing. The wealthy had shifted east to the so-called “Heights.” Our dilapidated first city home had new construction beside it. Towers that seemed to touch the sky were underway. My pal Ben and I were leaning toward making a buck working with such projects.

The old man and I inhabited an oversized brick home along Liberty Boulevard. He feigned at making a better name for himself to the outside world. A different woman would come over every weekend. He even threw parties with some of his buddies from work, but I knew him better. His parties were as empty as Jay Gatsby’s. I’d read Fitzgerald’s work shortly after its release the previous year and found it mirrored the current times and trends well. As for how I saw my father in that fiction, I guessed from his vacant stares into the bottom of a bottle, where he thought he could somehow erase my mother’s absence.

So, it was no surprise when I entered the living room that second Saturday in June to find my father in his easy chair, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other.

“Where’d you get this round of giggle juice?” I motioned toward his empty bottle.

My father scowled, the heavy creases framing his mouth deepening. He dropped the dead soldier, and it rolled until it stopped at my foot. I picked up the bottle, shook my head, and tossed it aside. It gave a satisfying shatter.

Prohibition hadn’t stopped the old guy from getting zozzled whenever the urge hit.

“What d’you want?” He got to his feet.

I stepped up to him, and he recoiled.

“I’m leaving,” I said.

“Then what’re you waitin’ for? Get outta here!” He pointed with a quivering finger toward the front door.

“I have a few things to say first.”

My father gazed up at me and seemed to shrink more. “Well, out with it.”

“I’m a writer. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid, and you won’t stop me.”

He snorted. “What do I care about those rags?”

“I thought you’d like to know, Father, that you inspired me.”

He squinted, then raised his eyebrows. “Huh? What’s that?”

“Your hatred inspired me to imagine a life better than this hellhole, and you”—I poked his chest, hard—“are the villain.”

He raised his fist, but I caught it before he struck. As I pushed back with the force of a stronger, younger man, his legs buckled, forcing him into his chair.

“You come to gloat, boy?” His words were the only weapon he had left.

“I came to tell you the truth. I pity you, Father. You’re pathetic.”

His gaze dropped to his lap. The man reached into his pocket and fumbled for another cigarette, then lit it with shuddering hands. Letting out a long plume of smoke, he said, “Maybe, but the fruit don’t fall from the tree.” He jabbed the cigarette at me.

I shook my head. “I’ll never be like you.”

A hollow laugh filled the room. He laughed until coughs overtook him. Then he went quiet, until a sob escaped. “No matter what you think, boy, you can’t change who you are. You were born a killer. No fancy dreamin’ will take away your reality. You think I haven’t tried?”

I turned and took a few steps until I stood on the threshold to the outside. Glancing back at my father, I knew that would be the last time I saw him. “Maybe you should’ve tried harder.”

Maybe you should’ve loved me.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorphoto2022

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction, although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Cynthia Hilston | Instagram | Facebook 

Book Tour Schedule

April 10th

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

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

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April 11th

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

Country Mama with Kids – https://countrymamaswithkids.com/

@booknerd_jen22 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/booknerd_jen22/

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

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

April 12th

@booksontheknightbus (Review) https://www.instagram.com/booksontheknightbus/?hl=en

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

@r.c.thomson (Review) https://www.instagram.com/r.c.thomson/

Books Blog (Spotlight) https://www.booksblog.co.uk/

April 13th

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

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

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

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

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

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Blog Tour: From The Ashes – Melissa Addey


They called it the Flavian Amphitheatre. We call it the Colosseum. Let the Games begin.
Rome, 80AD. A gigantic new amphitheatre is being built. The Emperor has plans for gladiatorial Games on a scale no-one has ever seen before. But the Games don’t just happen by themselves.
They must be made. And Marcus, the man in charge of creating them, has just lost everything he held dear when Pompeii disappeared under the searing wrath of Vesuvius.
Now it will fall to Althea, the slave woman who serves as his scribe, to ensure the Colosseum is inaugurated on time – and that Marcus makes his way out of the darkness that calls to him.
Can a motley crew comprising a retired centurion, slaves, a prostitute and an ex Vestal Virgin pull off the greatest gladiatorial Games ever seen? Or will they fail and find themselves in the arena as
punishment? Time is running out to deliver an unforgettable spectacle.
From the Ashes is the first, fast-paced novel in the gripping new Colosseum series. Follow the quick-witted and fiercely loyal backstage team of the Colosseum through the devastation of Pompeii,
plague and fire. This is historical fiction at its most captivating: both action-packed and tender.
Take a front row seat at the Colosseum’s inaugural gladiatorial Games. Buy From the Ashes today.
Trailer
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Melissa Addey writes historical fiction set in Ancient Rome, medieval Morocco and
18th century China. She is a fulltime self-published author and runs workshops for authors wanting to be entrepreneurial. Her books have been selected for Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society and won the inaugural Novel London award. She has been the Leverhulme Trust Writer in Residence at the British Library, has a PhD in Creative Writing and works with the Alliance of Independent Authors on their campaigns.
If you’d like to try her writing, visit http://www.melissaaddey.com to pick up a free novella, The Cup.
Website – where readers can get a free novella that starts another series (medieval Morocco).
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My thoughts: return with me to the first century CE, a time of great upheaval and the horror of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the destruction of Pompeii and the construction of Rome’s famous Colosseum.

Greek slave Althea is given to Marcus, the director of the Colosseum’s inaugural festival of games, as his scribe. But she becomes his friend after his family die amid the chaos of Pompeii. She is instrumental in getting him back to Rome and back to work, before their masters realise he left the city. There isn’t a lot of time to organise the kind of events that will satisfy the emperor, and the crowds.

This was a fascinating and interesting read, vividly bringing the past to life, the sights, sounds, smells of ancient Rome, the people who lived in its streets, the sheer number packed into what’s actually quite a small amount of space. The characters are well created too, I liked Althea and the friends she makes, from Fausta the former prostitute to Julia – once a Vestal Virgin, now their landlady. There’s plenty of action to keep you interested and the story itself, full of tragedy and loss, as well as the creating and staging of the epic spectacle in the Colosseum is enjoyable and draws you right in.

*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 Lazarus Solution – Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett

Daniel Berkåk works as a courier for the Press and Military Office in Stockholm. On his last cross-border mission to Norway, he carries a rucksack full of coded documents and newspapers, but before he has a chance to deliver anything he is shot and killed and the contents of his rucksack are missing.

The Norwegian government, currently exiled in London, wants to know what happened, and the job goes to writer Jomar Kraby, whose first suspect is a Norwegian refugee living in Sweden, whose past is as horrifying as the events still to come…

Both classic crime and a stunning expose of Norwegian agents in Stockholm during the Second World War, The Lazarus Solution is a compulsive, complex, richly authentic historical thriller from one of the godfathers of Nordic Noir.

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published fourteen novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

My thoughts: oh this is clever, sending you all over Sweden and occupied Norway, looking for a killer, a conspiracy, when actually it’s something else entirely. Nobody seems to be able to explain, people are double crossing every way, and somehow writer Jomar Kraby, who’s very good at pretending to be a bit thick, must solve it to satisfy the government in exile, and more importantly himself.

Even when he’s told to stop digging, he doesn’t, even when the Germans are on his heels, he keeps going. He wants answers and he’s not satisfied with only knowing a little. He wants the whole lot.

Dragging along behind him is the man he suspects killed Daniel Berkåk, brother to another man who is linked to this whole mess. Soldier, sailor, internment camp inmate, Kai Fredly claims to want to go to the UK and join the Norwegian army, but hasn’t left Stockholm and has some interesting acquaintances. Sucked into a conspiracy, not exactly connected to the one Kraby’s chasing, he’s afraid to leave and recruited by both sides, he’s stuck.

As the plot winds it’s way through the Venice of the North, through bars and restaurants, homes for refugees, the offices of the Norwegian delegation, apartments and parks, taking in more and more people for Kraby to wonder about, it slowly reveals who the players are and the game they’re all in. Oh, and the reason it’s called The Lazarus Solution…well maybe Kraby has the answer to that too. Deliciously ingenious and thoroughly enjoyable, a spy thriller that hooks you in and definitely not just another WW2 read.

*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 Manhattan Heiress in Paris – Amanda McCabe

Step into the roaring 1920s Parisian music scene
Leaving Manhattan…
For a secret Parisian affair…
New York darling Elizabeth Van Hoeven has everything…except freedom. But now Eliza’s traveling to study piano at the Paris Conservatoire and falling for jazz prodigy Jack Coleman in the process! A love like theirs is forbidden back home, and as they make beautiful music together under the
Parisian lights, Eliza and Jack face a difficult choice: the life they’ve always known, or the possibility of a life they never could have imagined…

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Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the
National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of A Manhattan Heiress in Paris plus a 1920s locket (Open to US Only) a Rafflecopter giveaway T&Cs below.

My thoughts: Paris in the Twenties was the place to be, artists, musicians, writers all flocked to the City of Lights following the First World War, jazz was the music and these Bright Young Things were living life to the full, drinking and dancing the nights away. So much incredible art came out of that period, even if the creators were all a bit of a mess.

Into this hedonistic world steps shy young Manhattan debutante and pianist Eliza, daughter of an illustrious New York family, but determined to spread her wings and choose her own life. Then there’s Jack, a talented jazz musician from Harlem, in town to play his trumpet and feel free in a country where people don’t cross the street to avoid walking near you. Eliza has never had to consider anything like that in her privileged world but here in Paris, free and without her family, they don’t have to. Paris, the city of love.

Their romance is intense, they can’t resist, and their music improves too. Seems love is good for you. But can Eliza break free of her family expectations and follow her heart? Paris is one thing, but what if she has to go home?

I loved Eliza and Jack, their story is obviously bittersweet, they can be together but not in the country they both come from, only in Paris and only amongst the artistic set they run with. The 1920s were an incredibly free time but not everywhere or for everyone and Jack feels this much more than Eliza. Although she is trapped too, in a way, by the expectations of society and her family, to marry one of their set and basically become her mother. Rather than the concert pianist she could be if she stays at the conservatoire and works hard. She’s talented and determined.

I liked the glimpses of the Paris arts set – Hemingway, Sylvia Beach (of Shakespeare & Co fame), the Fitzgeralds, Picasso, but they weren’t the focus, which was nice. Eliza and Jack are on the periphery of the hard drinking, fast living crowd, preferring to picnic and play music, to be together.

*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: Murder at Waldenmere Lake – Michelle Salter


A murder shocks the small town of Walden. And it’s only the beginning…
Walden, 1921. Local reporter Iris Woodmore is determined to save her beloved lake, Waldenmere, from destruction.
After a bloody and expensive war, the British Army can’t afford to keep the lake and build a convalescent home on its shores yet they still battle with Walden Council and a railway company for
ownership. But an old mansion used as an officer training academy stands where the railway company plans to build a lakeside hotel. It belongs to General Cheverton – and he won’t leave his home.
When the General is found murdered, it appears someone will stop at nothing to win the fight for Waldenmere. Iris thinks she can take on the might of the railway company and find the killer. But nothing prepares her for the devastation that’s to come…
Purchase


Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national
magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

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My thoughts: Iris is back in Walden and trying to help preserve the local mere, a beautiful nature spot and not something the locals want to see turned into a hotel or railway line. But they’re up against it, if the army sells their part of the land they can build a convalescent home, which is more popular.

Thankfully the owner of one section of land, General Cheverton, isn’t budging and he’s messing up the unpopular plans. Then he’s murdered. Iris thinks it must be linked to the proposed development but would the railway boss get his own hands dirty?

While all this is going on, she’s also having a great time with her pals, wandering the local lanes and enjoying the summer weather. But the case keeps nagging at her, so with the support of her boss at the paper, she starts digging. What she finds will be heartbreaking.

I really like this series, and Iris, although maybe her next case could hit a little further from home as so far it hasn’t been very happy for her.

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

books

Book Blitz: The Rock at the Bottom – Cynthia Hilston

Happy publication day to Cynthia Hilston and congratulations on the release of The Rock at the Bottom! Read on for more details!

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The Rock at the Bottom (Lorna & Tristan Series Book 3)

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2023

Genre: Historical Romance/ Prohibition Era/ Clean Romance
A big dreamer and successful novelist carries the sins of his father and a secret that leaves him wondering if he is the author or killer of love.

Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt, young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other reason than to prove his father wrong.

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in the mirror.

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorphoto2022

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction, although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Cynthia Hilston | Instagram | Facebook

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Blog Tour: Bellevue – Alison Booth

New South Wales, 1972. Following the death of her beloved Aunt Hilda, widow Clare Barclay inherits Bellevue, an historic property in the Blue Mountains township of Numballa, Australia. Giving up her teaching job to move to the mountains, Clare plans to restore the house to its original glory. She also hopes to track down a box of missing documents that may shed light on why husband Jack secretly second-mortgaged their former home.
Clare makes friends with the locals, including a young boy, Joe, and soon hears of plans to redevelop Numbulla and to exploit the land bordering the protected wilderness area. As she joins the protest against the rezoning, it’s clear someone doesn’t want her there and they’ll do anything to stop her…

Written from Clare’s and Joe’s perspectives, Bellevue highlights cross-generational bonds that grow between them as they struggle, individually and together, towards an acceptance of the losses each has sustained.

Born in Australia, Alison Booth gained a degree in architecture before transferring to economics. She is Professor Emeritus of Economics with a PhD from the London School of Economics and spent over two decades living and working in the UK before returning to Australia. She wrote her first novel at the age of nine, before other distractions set in.

Alison’s seventh published novel, Bellevue, will be out in March 2023. Her previous novels were published by Penguin and RedDoor. Her fiction has been translated into French and her short stories have appeared in international publications including Antipodes and New Writing. Awards include a Varuna Longlines Fellowship from the Eleanor Dark Foundation and the Highly Commended Award in the 2011 ACT Book of the Year Award. Her novels are: Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, A Distant Land, A Perfect Marriage, The Philosopher’s Daughters and The Painting. For more information visit: https://www.alisonbooth.net/home

My thoughts: this was a really interesting book about community, friendship, outsiders and the environment. Clare inherits her late husband’s aunt’s house Bellevue in the small New South Wales town of Numballa. Hoping to build a new life and a permanent home for herself there, she finds that all is not well. Silent phone calls, vague threats, a car accident that probably isn’t an accident. Someone is trying to drive her away.

As the battle for the wilderness at the edge of her land heats up, she finds that she’s not alone. Other members of the local conservation group are also being harassed and frightened but Clare won’t give up.

She also meets Joe, a young boy with a love of birds, who draws beautiful pictures of them. Befriending him and offering him a safe space to work on his art, Clare expands her new world again.

Joe is struggling, after his mother’s death, left with an often absent older brother and a father who drinks too much, he’s a sensitive, artistic soul. Afraid to tell anyone except the local librarian of his passion, he’s sneaking into Clare’s hayloft to draw. Their unlikely friendship is a delight to read about. As Joe comes out of his shell, things seem to look up for his family too.

There’s a lot of heart in this book, and as Clare finds her place in Numballa, making friends and campaigning to save the wilderness, she slowly comes back to life after years in survival mode.

*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: His Fatal Legacy – Heather Atkinson

Edinburgh 1896
Amy Alardyce’s once-perfect life is in tatters. Her eldest son, Robert, has come of age, become the master of his own home, and married his childhood love Jane. But with maturity has come a terrible legacy, and the dark desires Robert inherited from his evil father Matthew, are fighting to get loose.
Whilst Jane is working hard to get her and Robert accepted into fashionable society, poor women are being hunted on the streets of Edinburgh, and Amy fears her son is to blame. And once the infamous Inspector Murphy takes up the case, Amy has to face a stark choice – denounce her son as a monster or risk her own safety to protect him from the consequences of his lethal actions.
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Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime
fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family,
including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her
gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow
begins with the title Blood Brothers.

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My thoughts: Amy and Henry Alardyce are just too nice, they keep trying to save Robert from himself, from the darkness he’s inherited from his monstrous father, and in this installment of the Alardyces’ story, he’s actually trying as well. Married to the lovely Jane, father to a new baby daughter, he wants to change, to not bring the cruelty and violence within him home. But it keeps breaking out, and people are getting hurt.

I kept waiting for his Mr Hyde side to pop out and it did, learning to box leads him to almost kill a man, and his attacks on women continue. Now that the police, in the form of Inspector Murphy are on his tail, he’s running out of places to hide and his parents must decide what to do. Can Amy and Henry protect him anymore? And should they? I feel sorry for Jane, the Robert she knows isn’t all of him, and the part she doesn’t see is terrible. The village witch Magda (I love Magda) warns him that he will have to leave his family to protect it. Staying will have terrible consequences. More 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.