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Cover Reveal: Everyday Magic – Charlie Laidlaw

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I am so excited to reveal the cover for Charlie Laidlaw’s upcoming novel, Everyday Magic! Read on for more info!

Everyday Magic Front cover FINAL

Everyday Magic

Expected Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Literary fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Humour

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it.  She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole’s mind.  She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her.  She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

 Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

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Charlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

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Blog Tour: Skelton’s Guide to Suitcase Murders –

Read my review of Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons

November 1929. A woman’s dismembered corpse is discovered in a suitcase and police quickly identify her husband, Doctor Ibrahim Aziz, as their chief suspect. Incriminating evidence is discovered at his home and his wife was rumoured to be having an affair, giving him clear motive.

With his reputation for winning hopeless cases, barrister Arthur Skelton is asked to represent the accused. Though Aziz’s guilt does not seem to be in doubt, a question of diplomacy and misplaced larvae soon lead Skelton to suspect there may be more to the victim’s death.

Aided by his loyal clerk Edgar, Skelton soon finds himself seeking justice for both victim and defendant. But can he uncover the truth before an innocent man is put on trial and condemned to the gallows?

My thoughts:

I love these books, they are smart, intelligent reads and this one might be even better than the first.

There’s more delightful letters from Skelton’s eccentric cousins, John and Norah, who I adored in the first book, there’s more Mina, Skelton’s excellent wife and lots more Edgar, his brilliant clerk. His team are a bit odd but they always solve the case, and Rose, who has now joined Duncan’s solicitors firm, is a fabulous detective, and is about to fall in love.

Skelton criss crosses the country representing the innocent and the not-so, while also attempting to unravel the truth about the body in the suitcase, if it is Mrs Aziz, who killed her? And if it isn’t, who is it?

There are funny bits and serious bits, some very modern concerns about prejudice, showing things like racism have always been with us, and Skelton knows it could cause Dr Aziz, a man he is sure is innocent, to lose his life anyway if put in front of a jury. How sad that a book set in 1929 shows such relevance to 2021.

But Skelton, ably assisted by his crack team of oddballs, will prevail, and help his dad find a retirement activity or two to fill his time, cheer Mina on with her new hobby, support Edgar through his own turmoil, solve a series of thefts and be back in time for the dinner Mrs Bartram has put on.

Simply put, I thought this was another marvellous adventure for Skelton and Co and cannot wait for the next one.


*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: Beloved Woman – Sheri Peppers

Welcome to the tour for historical romance, Beloved Woman by Sheri Peppers! Read on for more details and a chance to win an Amazon gift card worth $15!

Beloved Woman Book Cover for toursBeloved Woman: A Historical Novel

Publication Date: January 2020

Genre: Historical Romance/ Historical Fiction

Beloved Woman, a Historical Romance takes place in 1705 in the Allegheny Mountains, South Carolina. Bryanna, a strong, privileged young English woman loses the love of her life, her father, to a brutal and bloody campsite attack by Iroquois renegades. Injured, and so full of grief, she grows determined to learn the ways of the Cherokee and become a respected war woman called Beloved Woman in the Cherokee town of Toxaway. This is the only way to find her father’s killer and have peace within herself once again.

Black Bear, the Red Chief is enamored by Bryanna’s courage and beautiful charm, so much that he desires to help her in every way he can. She rejects him blaming all Indians for her father’s murder. Still, his strength and determination bring them together as they face amazing obstacles to find the Iroquois renegades who were spreading havoc and murder across the great mountains. Can Bryanna learn the ways of these amazing people in this untamed land, and find her peace, and maybe love, once again?

Although the story is fiction, the customs, names of the towns, and ways of the Beloved Woman are authentic.

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Excerpt

She heard the deep pounding of drums a short distance away.  Black Bear planned strategies in the Council House the entire day and she wondered if he were at the square now attending the dance.  She ran a brush through her hair and allowed it to drape over her shoulders in thick waves of silk.  Her heart thumped lightly taking her breath away as she pushed aside the curtain of her room to brave the coming evening.

Storyteller sat near the fire sewing diligently on another garment.  She gazed up and stopped.  “You are a vision, my dear.”

“Thanks to you and your fine talents,” she said, turning to give Storyteller a view from every angle, “I feel beautiful.  I’m grateful.”

“That’s because you are beautiful.”

“Will you join the celebration tonight?  Accompany me to the Town Square.”

“I will attend shortly.  You go ahead without me.  Have a pleasant time and try to keep open to our ways.  Our event is quite joyous, but you must be kind in your judgment.  Remember, this is not the colonies, nor England.”

“I will.”  Bryanna stepped out into the cool night.

The Town Square rested in front of the Council House at the bottom of the mound.  The pulsation of the drums grew louder as she came nearer.  A rhythm of flutes fluidly intertwined with the drums creating an enticing temptation for the body to move and sway.

The Square came into view as she rounded the mound.  Rattles joined in with the instruments while the center of the Square remained filled with people moving in a circle to the rhythmic melody of the music.

With their backs slightly bent forward, they stomped their feet, turning first to the left, then to the right.  They whirled around repeating the movements over and over as they continued in a large moving circle.  She had never seen such dance.

The permeating music floated seductively over the dance, igniting a warm flame within her.  Along with the music, the movement of the dance emerged just as wildly passionate in its stirring rhythm as she swayed her shoulders in and out.

They all knew precisely what to do, flawlessly keeping in unison with each other.  The dance came forth untamed, and the music portrayed a tremendous strength in who these people were.  Now she understood what Black Bear meant when he said exhilarating.

Colorful feathers fastened in their hair and on their clothing bounced and swayed with every twist and turn they made.  The feathers transformed into brief flashes of color melding together as they danced without any signs of fatigue.

Warriors wearing animal skins on their heads jumped into the circle imitating the kill and skinning of an animal.

This was a far cry from the gentle dance in England.  She remembered tender flowing music, one person facing the other in minuet with hands gently touching.  As these people danced before her, its strangeness loomed within her, leaving an overshadowing loneliness for what she once knew and loved.

The music changed, and they stomped and swayed to a new dance.  Simply standing there, with a babe’s new innocence of their customs, she became gravely aware of her awkwardness.

She perused the Square, searching for the one familiar face whose tolerance would help fortify her fading nerve.  Sitting among a group of men at the edge of the Square were a pair of familiar eyes that locked onto hers the moment her gaze came upon him.  A smile adorned his face as he stood and approached her.

Bryanna’s breath caught in her throat as Black Bear strode toward her.  His smile remained affixed on his face and she labored to keep her gaze upon it although the temptation to gawk at his body overwhelmed her.  His breechcloth barely covered his extremities revealing long muscular limbs, honey-browned from life under the sun.

The currents of shivers returned moving throughout her body as she fought not to reveal her feelings.  Still, she noticed no shirt on his back.  The smoothness of his chest only accentuated his massive size and strength.  A string of white wampum shells lay comfortably around his neck and dipped downward across the swollen hills of his sun-kissed chest.  He’d tied back his black straight hair leaving high protruding cheekbones and glistening white teeth.

Concentrating solely upon his face did not comfort her.  The strange quivering in her veins had a mind of its own traveling the full length of her limbs to the tips of her sensitive breasts.  Her bosom heaved with each difficult breath as he halted before her.

“I find your extraordinary beauty quite imposing upon my manners as a gentleman.  Those manners are quite difficult to sustain.”  His chest maneuvered in and out as his hungry copper eyes consumed a path into the pit of her core.

Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble!

About the Author

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Sheri studied writing and screenwriting at University of California Los Angeles, and Moorpark College in California.  She is an avid history buff with an emphasis on the American Indian, and a former member of the Romance Writer’s of America.  Retired with an 18-year background in aerospace, she now lives in Thousand Oaks, California, where she is working on a sequel to Beloved Woman and plans for several projects.

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Blog Tour: Heir to the Darkmage – Lisa Cassidy*

Ambition drives her. Danger thrills her. But magic always has a price.
Twenty years have passed since the Darkmage was destroyed and the war between mages ended.

For Lira Astor, the single living heir to the Darkmage, escaping her name is impossible.

People still fear what is long dead, and they see in her the rise of another dangerous mage with deadly ambition. Desperate to claw her way free of her grandfather’s shadow, to make her own name amongst the world of mages, Lira is willing to do whatever it takes. Even if that means
joining the secretive rebel group looking to restore his vision.

Survival is a lesson Lira learned early and often, yet when she is abducted and held prisoner in a deadly game of cat and mouse, she finds herself facing a nemesis she may be no match for.

Forced to band together with unlikely allies who challenge everything she believes about what it means to be a mage, she will have to rely on every bit of ruthlessness she possesses.
Because the war may only just be beginning…

…and Lira Astor intends to come out on top.

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Lisa is a self-published fantasy author by day and book nerd in every other spare moment she has.

She’s a self-confessed coffee snob (don’t try coming near her with any of that instant coffee rubbish)
but is willing to accept all other hot drink aficionados, even tea drinkers.

She lives in the Australia’s capital city, Canberra, and like all Australians, is pretty much in constant danger from highly poisonous spiders, crocodiles, sharks, and drop bears, to name a few. As you can see, she is also pro-Oxford comma.

A 2019 SPFBO finalist, Lisa has published the YA fantasy series The Mage Chronicles, and is currently
working on her latest epic fantasy series A Tale of Stars and Shadow. She has also partnered up with One Girl, an Australian charity working to build a world where all girls have access to quality education. A world where all girls — no matter where they are born or how much money they have — enjoy the same rights and opportunities as boys. A percentage of all Lisa’s royalties go to One Girl.

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My thoughts:

A lot happens in this quite short novel, we meet Lira, the granddaughter of the notorious Darkmage, a man she’s never even met, but whose reputation causes her fellow students to cower away from her.

Her story, the death of her mother, a childhood spent first in an orphanage, then on the streets, joining a criminal gang just to stay alive, before becoming a student and learning how to control her magic.

When she and several other students are kidnapped, supposedly her supporters of her grandfather, she must escape and save her newfound friends, without looking too suspicious – she is a spy after all.

Fast paced, intelligent and darkly comic, this is a smart and engaging YA fantasy novel, with more to follow as Lira works to bring down the enemies of the state, without revealing her beliefs or becoming too much like her 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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Cover Reveal: Judgement Day – Josie Jaffrey

I’m a big fan of Josie’s books so I’m thrilled to share her next book’s purple-licious cover. All the info and pre-order links are below.

RELEASE DATE: 6 May 2021

Vampires don’t get happily ever afters.

Jack Valentine finally has her shit together. She has a great job, great friends (well, one at least) and a girlfriend whom she loves, even if she can’t work up the courage to tell her that yet. Unfortunately, she also has an archnemesis who’s about to punish her crimes in the worst possible way: by making her spend time with him.

Which she could cope with, maybe, if she didn’t have problems at work as well. When the body of a human judge is found in a locked library, there’s no denying that she was murdered by one of the Silver – by a vampire – and the evidence points worryingly close to home. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of Jack’s least favourite people are opening a new blood bar in Oxford with questionable motives. For Jack and her team, it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate allies from enemies.

With conspiracies on every side, the simmering tensions in Silver society are about to come to a head. As usual, Jack intends to be right in the middle of it. She does like it when things get messy.

Judgement Day is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

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Blog Tour: The Witness – Terry Lynn Thomas*

HE SAW WHAT YOU DID…

Teenager Ebby Engstrom witnesses a murder – and then passes out. The next morning, he wakes in his bed with no memory of how he got there, and is told his mother was stabbed to death the previous night.

Thirty years later, the case has gone cold, with numerous suspects but no new clues – until Ebby starts having uncontrollable flashbacks to that night. As repressed memories surface, he questions his own role in the murder, leading to a dramatic confession and Ebby’s arrest.

Family friend and attorney Olivia Sinclair is convinced of Ebby’s innocence, but the only way to clear his name is to find the real killer herself. And it seems almost everyone connected to the Engstrom family had a reason to want Cynthia dead…

My thoughts:

I hadn’t read the first Olivia Sinclair book but this stands up perfectly well without needing to.

Ebby Engstrom is starting to remember flashes of the night his mother was brutally murdered, and he’s worried he might have been the killer. Can Olivia prove him wrong?

The unravelling of the events that happened 30 years ago is cleverly done, pretty much everyone’s a suspect and as the secrets come out it gets more tangled and the finger could be pointed at a growing number of family members.

While dealing with this case, Olivia also gets involved with her friend and colleague Brian’s suspicious new girlfriend – is she who she says she is?

Both cases are convoluted but hold the reader’s interest nicely, and don’t distract from each other. The supporting cast of characters is interesting too – Ebby’s brother is awful, but his aunts and friends seem lovely.

I really enjoyed the way suspense is built with both cases and how Olivia cuts quickly through all the legal shenanigans and gets to the truth. The shocking revelations about the Engstroms is handled very nicely. An excellent and enjoyable legal thriller. I aim to go back to book one in the series to fill out the back story a bit more before book three is released.

*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 Dig Street Festival – Chris Walsh*

It’s 2006 in the fictional East London borough of Leytonstow. The UK’s pub smoking ban is about to happen, and thirty-eight-and-a-half year old John Torrington, a mopper and trolley collector at his local DIY store, is secretly in love with the stylish, beautiful, and middle-class barmaid Lois. John and his hapless, strange, and down-on-their-luck friends, Gabby Longfeather and Glyn Hopkins, live in Clements Markham House – a semi-derelict Edwardian villa divided into unsanitary bedsits, and (mis)managed by the shrewd, Dickensian business man, Mr Kapoor.

When Mr Kapoor, in a bizarre and criminal fluke, makes him fabulously credit-worthy, John surprises his friends and colleagues alike by announcing he will organise an amazing ‘urban love revolution’, aka the Dig Street Festival. But when he discovers dark secrets at the DIY store, and Mr Kapoor’s ruthless gentrification scheme for Clements Markham House, John’s plans take several unexpected and worrisome turns…Funny, original, philosophical, and unexpectedly moving, The Dig Street Festival takes a long, hard, satirical look at modern British life, and asks of us all, how can we be better people?

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Chris Walsh grew up in Middlesbrough and now lives in Kent. He writes both fiction and non-fiction, an example of which you can read here in May 2020’s Moxy Magazine.

Chris’s debut novel The Dig Street Festival will be published by Louise Walters Books in April 2021.

Chris’s favourite novel is Stoner by John Williams and his favourite novella is The Death of Ivan Illyich by Leo Tolstoy. His top poet is Philip Larkin. He is also a fan of Spike Milligan.

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My thoughts:

This is a surreal, and at times, very funny book. John is one of life’s hapless few, nothing he does seems to matter and he struggles with feelings of anger and hopelessness.

Deciding to throw caution to the wind and create his own world, all paid for by the mysteriously accumulating pile of credit cards that keep coming through his door, John and his equally strange friends, Glyn and Gabby, cause anarchy in the East London fictional borough of Leytonstow.

I kept laughing out loud, there are some brilliantly funny moments and a huge sense of bathos as chaos runs riot and John’s life unravels all around him.

It’s not an easy book to categorise – part fantasy, almost dystopian in the way the lies and casual darkness appear as John looks closer at his small part of the world.

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

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Book Blitz: Borrowed Treasure – Jessica Tastet

Congratulations to author, Jessica Tastet on the release of her latest novel, Borrowed Treasure! Read on for more info and a chance to win a digital copy of the book!

Borrowed Treasure Cover

Borrowed Treasure

Publication Date: April 13th, 2021

Genre: Womens Fiction/ Clean Romance

Publisher: Dandelion Wish Publishing

Sissy Ames has been driven to succeed her entire life. On her own, she’s turned her Bittersweet Café into a success, and she’s rebuilt a friendship with her cousin Harper after years of going it alone, but her past bad judgement in trusting Hunter Wells during their relationship continues to cast shadows on the future she’s trying to build for herself.

Hunter Wells has been coasting through life, working at the family business and creating the life that his family expects for him. He’d once hoped for a different existence, but he’d been forced to move on and make do after Sissy Ames had ended their three-year relationship without an explanation.

Even in their small town, the two have managed to avoid each other, but then Hunter’s fiancée, Sissy’s nemesis, disappears after a suspicious confrontation, leaving them both looking like likely suspects. The only hope they have of clearing their names and figuring out what led to the disappearance is to find the one item that drove them apart two years ago: The Ames BORROWED TREASURE.

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Excerpt

Sissy

Sissy Ames ducked behind the ostentatious flower arrangement with its oversized lilies and Hyacinthian sprays shooting out at unnatural angles. The thickness hid the center of the room but exposed her to the tableclothed tables lining either side where the overdressed elite of Thibodaux and its surrounding areas sat. Tonight represented everything she typically avoided, mainly so that she could stay out of the proximity of the woman commanding the center floor. Why her arch nemesis must flit around the ballroom gloating about her latest accomplishment was beyond Sissy. That woman’s pretentious fake smile and sickly-sweet voice had followed Sissy wherever she went in the large ballroom until her hands had begun to shake and her jaw to ache from the clenching.

Harper, her cousin, approached from the buffet table near the rear of the room. “The lobster bisque’s edible.” Holding out a tiny plastic bowl towards Sissy, Harper shrugged bare shoulders in defeat. Although the food lacked appeal, Harper certainly stunned in the black skintight number Sissy had sent over for her to wear tonight. Sissy had been right to prod the usually casual attired woman into vintage satin as it hugged her hips and showed off the curvy body that Sissy unfortunately did not possess. Sissy had inherited her mother’s straight form among other genetics she wished she could trade in.

Accepting the ecru soup, Sissy’s eyes scanned the crowd, looking for Cecelia Domangue, the bane of her existence since they were fifteen years old and fighting over president of student council. Currently, the petite blonde in a fuchsia Valentino stood chatting with a town councilman and the sheriff, her fake laugh chiming her existence from twenty feet away.

Sissy ran a clear plastic spoon through the watery consistency of the bisque. In her head she mentally critiqued the recipe’s minimal usage of cream. “Anything has to be better than that beef dish.”

Narrowing her emerald eyes, Harper twisted her lips and flashed Sissy a familiar look. Sissy’s cheeks warmed. Her resentment must be showing.

Sissy had submitted a bid to cater the fundraiser tonight in an attempt at a business expansion, but her bid had been accepted under condition. As the serving contract had been awarded to Cecelia’s restaurant Twilight Fare, Sissy would have to submit her recipes to Cecelia for approval and preparation. As if Sissy would ever turn over her recipes to the woman who’d opened a restaurant blocks over in her continuing effort to encroach on every aspect of Sissy’s life. Even if Sissy’s own Bittersweet Café catered to a different crowd than Cecelia’s Twilight Fare, that woman had branched right into catering which Sissy had cautiously tested the waters only a month before Cecelia had gone full blown into advertising her own services.

Harper glanced away to scan the room, and Sissy returned to the soup, which she knew she could have done better. “How long do we have to stay?”

Discarding the bowl, Sissy picked up her champagne glass from the table instead. At least they’d bought the good stuff. “We need to be sure the right people see our faces, but besides from that, the committee already has our hundred bucks a head, so I don’t think they care if we are here an hour or close the place down.”

Tonight’s fundraiser for the Downtown Revitalization committee had the special purpose of raising money to spruce up the downtown area with seasonal decorations to help promote the Christmas festival. The event had filled the local university ballroom with the social society of the small-town area and all its neighboring towns to be sure. As part of the committee, Sissy had aided in promoting the event, even though Cecelia’s recent addition to the committee had managed to sway votes and shut her out of the menu selections.

Harper picked up her own glass from the table and sipped. “I see a few local lawyers from Emmett’s last mixer. I’ll go over and say hello. If I’m lucky, I may get home early enough to speak to Emmett before the different time zones mean he’s sleeping.”

Sissy had Cecelia in her crosshairs, and she waited for her to prance to another unsuspecting guest, so she could emerge from behind the flowers that Sissy had voted against. Currently, Cecelia stood near Rudy Klingman, councilman for her district, who dropped in every Wednesday for a number six special, and she’d promised to propose streetlamps to him on behalf of the committee. Distracted, she asked Harper. “Any indication when he’s going to return from New York?”

Harper shrugged. “He says the case should wrap up in a day or two. I believe he’s enjoying it way too much.”

Sissy waved Harper’s doubt away with her champagned hand. “Pish, Emmett will be home soon, and you two will be making me sick with your sweetness.”

Harper smiled, her olive complexion flushing. “Okay, no arguing with my date tonight, especially since you drove. Let’s make our rounds and be out of here in thirty minutes.”

Sissy nodded and raised her flute in the air as if to toast. “That’s a plan I can drink to.”

Harper clinked her glass against Sissy’s, and then they departed into the mingling crowd.

Avoiding Cecelia’s group, Sissy slunk over to Suzy Rhodes, greeting a few of the lawyers and two judges that frequented her business for lunch during the week. In her two-piece blue suit, Suzy stood removed from the invitees, her eyes watching everyone. Her stance hadn’t changed since high school although she’d updated her attire to pant suits and cut her hair into a short bob she tucked behind her ears. Back then, she’d taken photos for the yearbook and everyone had wanted her attention to get within the pages. Today, she wrote a monthly column in the local entertainment magazine, specifically a review of local eateries. Sissy had attempted getting the café featured for months now, even sending a personalized gift certificate two months ago. The woman had never responded to the invitation nor shown up as even a patron, but Cecelia’s Twilight Fare had been prominently featured, not only as a food review but as a front-page feature on up and coming restaurant owners.

Suzy Rhodes smiled, her cheeks dimpling as Sissy approached. “Why, Sissy Ames, I’m surprised to see you at a swanky function like this. Not your usual soiree, huh?”

Plastering a smile on her face, Sissy drew upon her southern manners she knew lay beyond her desire to give the woman a good tongue lashing. “Since my café is located in the center of downtown, I have a vested interest in its revitalization efforts.”

Laughing airily, Suzy’s eyes wandered the room as if bored with the conversation. “Right, that’s true, your little café is down there. I never remember it’s there.”

Sissy raised an eyebrow, holding her glass closer to her lips. “I know. I’ve invited you several times as part of that little column of yours, but you have yet to accept my invitation.”

A short, fierce laugh escaped as Suzy’s eyes met Sissy’s. She returned to her survey of the room just as quickly though. “My lord Sissy, I can’t accept every invitation I receive.”

“Hmm.” Sissy scanned the room, her eyes naturally falling upon Cecelia, who stood facing Chef Homme from Le Homme, the elegant downtown restaurant. The two’s expressions revealed deep, serious conversation—too serious for a social mixer. “Is that why your material has been repetitive?”

Suzy’s stance shifted. “Excuse me?”

Sissy smiled, tilting her head. “Oh, I thought you were just so busy that you recycled material from the same four restaurants. Everyone has been talking.”

Sissy continued smiling as Suzy’s eyes lit with anger. The dark haired, flat nosed woman bit her tongue though. They’d all been raised too southern to truly speak their minds at events such as these.

“Well, it was nice running into you,” Sissy said, bowing her head in exit. “But I see a city council member I need to have a word with about lamp posts.”

Sissy pivoted, feeling a surge of confidence from the conversation. Moments ago, she’d hid behind hideous flowers to avoid her high school tormentor, but they had grown up, even though some didn’t behave as if they had. Cecelia and even Suzy hid behind country club houses and designer labels still, making others feel as if they didn’t measure up in the circles they all moved in. She had to remind herself in their vicinity that she was proud of her downtown renovated apartment and scavenged consignment finds.

Spotting Cecelia ahead on her path though, she pivoted and turned the other way to avoid her. She told herself that with her new found attitude, she would probably lose her southern manners and regret it later.

Her attention lingered too long over Cecelia, and when she turned, she hit a wall of black cashmere and white softened woven cotton. Reaching her hand out, she pushed herself away, inhaling the masculine smell of sandalwood and musk. From his chest hugging shirt, her eyes followed the Italian silk woven tie in its beautiful pastel green and yellow swirl pattern. The feminine color selection had been a brave choice for a function such as this where the men showcased their masculinity and their pocketbooks. So, he either didn’t know better or his power came with his name.

She continued on up to his tie’s perfectly anchored knot and landed on the chiseled jawline and soft brown, waiting eyes of Hunter Wells.

Her nose flared as she inhaled deeply, an awareness of their nearness. She took a step back.

“Excuse me.” Sissy felt her cheeks burn as the back of her neck flushed.

A light flickered in his warm chocolate eyes.

“Of course.” Hunter nodded, and his lip twitched. “How have you been?”

Hearing her heart pound in her throat, Sissy straightened her spine, bracing herself for the old anger to return, but his nearness tempered any old residual anger.

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About the Author

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Born and raised in Raceland, Louisiana, near Bayou Lafourche, Jessica Tastet uses the places and people of her childhood to create the backdrop of her fictional South Louisiana town in her Raleigh Cheramie series as well as her Treasure Trilogy.

An avid reader, she began writing stories in the sixth grade. The result was a mystery story she promptly shared with all her family and whoever she could convince to read it. She learned the first of many valuable writing lessons with this endeavor: don’t draw your characters too close to real-life people. Since then. she has earned her editing certification from the University of California and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University in California. Presently, she resides in her hometown with her husband and five teenagers where she works with Curriculum for the local school district.

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Blog Tour: Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage – Samantha Tonge*

A new start can come from the most unexpected places…

It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.

After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting
with Streamside Cottage.

A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never
heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.

Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of
their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.
As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.

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Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories
to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for
the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not heralded a new direction into
darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award

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My thoughts:

Reeling from the deaths of her estranged parents, Lizzie rents the cottage left to her aunt and goes looking for the mystery of why her parents never wanted to return to Leafton.

As she looks into the past, her future is still undecided, will she return to London, the tattoo studio where she works and the flat she shares with her boss, or will she find out things that make her want to stay in Leafton?

This was a clever and enjoyable story about family, the past and building a new life for yourself. Lizzie is an interesting and engaging protagonist, her memories of her early childhood are hazy but the things she needs to know are buried in there somewhere.

*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: Kate in Waiting – Becky Albertelli*

From bestselling YA rom-com queen Becky Albertalli (author of Love, Simon) comes a new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life and theatre.
[PRINCIPAL CAST LIST]
Kate Garfield
Anderson Walker
Best friends, and contrary to popular belief, not co-dependent.

Examples:Carpooling to and from theatre rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient.
Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment.
Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script.
Enter Stage Left: Matt OlssonHe is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship…

Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at

She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.

My thoughts:

I knew I would enjoy this for two reasons – one, it’s about theatre kids and two, it’s by Becky Albertalli.

A really fun and totally enjoyable read about crushes, friendship, first love and putting on a show. Kate and Andy’s bond is strong and genuine and those are the ones you hold onto. It’s also very funny.


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