blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Black Reed Bay – Rod Reynolds

When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident. Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it can have only one ending. And then the first body appears, and Casey’s investigation plunges her into a darkness she could never have imagined…

Black Reed Bay introduces a breathtaking, powerful and addictive new series, fronted by the fantastic Detective Casey Wray, from the CWA-nominated author of Blood Red City and The Dark Inside.

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian has called the books ‘pitch-perfect American noir’. A lifelong Londoner, Rod’s first novel set in his hometown, entitled Blood Red City, was published by Orenda Books in 2020. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. He lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters. Follow him on Twitter @Rod_WR.

My thoughts: this was an excellent crime thriller, set in a sleepy oceanside neighbourhood where things aren’t all they seem. Detective Casey Wray is determined to find out what happened to Tina Grace, and won’t buy the DA’s decision to close the case. If Tina’s dead, where’s her body?

Pursuing the truth despite threats and death, pushing the tiniest scrap of evidence into the light, Casey won’t stop and as it seems that one young woman’s disappearance is linked to something much bigger that will alter everything Casey believes in, her relentless hunt for justice could destroy the department as she knows it.

Clever, gripping and full of red herrings, dodgy dealings and suspects who die rather too conveniently, this is crime writing at it’s best. I could not put it down.

*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 Awakening of Artemis – John Calia

TheAwakeningBT copyThere’s a new book coming out this month and if you enjoy science or speculative fiction, you’re going to love it! Check out The Awakening of Artemis by John Calia!

Cover

The Awakening of Artemis

Expected Publication Date: September 29th, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction/ Speculative Fiction

Orphaned by war and disillusioned about her life, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia. She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes plan to steal technology that will change the world for greed and great fortune.

Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana’s rescue mission will change her life. What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.

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Excerpt

Diana knew that everyone who lived in the pods as well as anyone officially connected to the government had an embedded chip that enabled monitoring technology to identify where every individual was at any time. The chips also measured the secretion of enzymes and hormones. Algorithms had been developed to predict everyone’s wants and needs based upon those secretions. Over time, the algorithms learned from human response and adjusted their predictions accordingly – without human intervention.

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About the Author

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A Brooklyn-born, second generation American and the eldest of three boys, writing is his third career and the one about which he is most passionate. Following graduation from the US Naval Academy and active duty in the Navy, he embarked on a career in business. He began writing his blog “Who Will Lead?” in 2010 attracting over 115,000 readers. It inspired him to write his first book, an Amazon five-star rated business fable titled “The Reluctant CEO.” Currently he makes his home in Fairport, NY, a village on the Erie Canal.

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Blog Tour: The Wisdom of Crowds – Joe Abercrombie

The conclusion to The Age of Madness

CHOAS. FURY. DESTRUCTION.
THE GREAT CHANGE IS UPON US . . .

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .

Capping off the AGE OF MADNESS trilogy, THE WISDOM OF CROWDS brings the series which is revolutionising fantasy to its stunning conclusion . . .

Read my reviews of the previous volumes; A Little Hatred and The Trouble With Peace

My thoughts: I was looking forward to this and I was not disappointed. With elements of the American Revolution and lashings of the French (especially the Terror and Robespierre – a bloody time had by all) as well as a good dose of Abercrombie’s straight talking Northmen and chaos all around.

As the Burners and Breakers take the Agriont, King Orso finds himself on the wrong side, again. I do enjoy his dry sense of humour as everything around him falls apart.

Savine is of course plotting like mad to stay afloat and not end up being chucked off a tower or anything, Leo is making his mark in politics and learning to live with one leg and only one working arm. Less Young Lion than Limping Lion perhaps.

Meanwhile in the North, Rikke’s planning to finally return Black Calder to the mud with an audacious plan that will either unite the North or end up with everyone dead. So business as usual.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As I’ve enjoyed the whole series (and the ones before it set in the same world). It’s dark and twisted and funny. The characters are boldly written and thoroughly awful, all of them, but in a way that somehow makes them likeable. I cannot wait to see what Abercrombie does next. I mean, peace can’t last for long, can it?

*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 Shepherd’s Burden – Ryan Young

The SheperdsBurden copy

Welcome to the book tour for award-winning novel, The Shepherd’s Burden by Ryan Young. Read on for more info and a chance to win a signed copy of the book (North America) or a digital edition if your are international!

ebook 1 withcaption

The Shepherd’s Burden

Publication Date: June 18th, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

1st Place Winner, 2020 Chanticleer International Book Awards, Paranormal Awards for Supernatural Fiction Category

Staff Sergeant Daniel Jefferies has returned home to upstate NY after nearly being killed in an ambush in Iraq. Plagued by the trauma of war, he struggles to find his place in a world that he no longer recognizes. He feels disconnected from his family and friends. But, none of his burdens are heavier than the terrifying secret that he has kept about a mysterious encounter from his youth. When a suspicious murder occurs, he will discover that he has been chosen for a purpose that transcends life and death, forcing him to confront his past. In order to stop the killer, he will have to make choices that will change the fate of the people he loves the most. Can Daniel summon the strength of mind and body, that he once had as a soldier, to face the most profound and consequential challenge of his life?

Excerpt

Daniel took the main route out of town. It took them through the city center and back to the site of Nella’s murder. As they approached the site, they saw a man and his young son crossing the road with their donkey. The donkey was towing a wooden cart full of produce. There was an open-air market in the city center. People traveled there to sell their goods. For many of them, it was their only source of income. The boy was four or five years old and the cart was fully loaded, so they were moving slowly. Daniel pulled to a complete stop to allow them to cross. 

“Keep an eye out,” Keith yelled up to Aashirya. 

It was always dangerous to be stopped in the middle of a road in Iraq. Instead of the vehicle being a moving target, which could be hard to hit, it became a stationary target, which was much easier to hit. The chances of an ambush greatly increased.

It was Keith’s job to keep his team on alert, but the heightened state of awareness didn’t change his demeanor. He was perfectly calm. He pulled out another cigarette and lit it while they waited for the man and his son to cross the road. He offered one to Daniel, but he turned it down.

“I can’t understand how nothing seems to bother you. I’ve been doing this just as long as you have. No matter how many times I’m out here, I still get nervous. I wish I knew your secret,” Daniel said.

Keith laughed it off.

“There is no secret, Danny. I told you before, nothing lasts forever. Everyone dies at some point. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s not a question of if, but when. What’s the difference if we die now or fifty years from now? We shouldn’t fear death. We should embrace it.”

“I think you have been out here too long. You are really starting to trip me out. I think you need a long nap and a cold beer. After that, you need to get laid and seriously rethink that no-fear, embrace death bullshit. Personally, I would much rather be afraid and alive than calm and dead.”

Daniel turned his attention back towards the road. The man and his son were now directly in front of the vehicle. The boy stopped walking and turned to look at him. When they made eye contact, Daniel got an eerie feeling that something was wrong. Before he could react, a large explosion went off underneath the Humvee. The blast tossed the vehicle fifteen feet into the air, landing it on its side. 

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About the Author

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Ryan Young is a former Army Captain and Iraq War Veteran. He is a lover of all things fantasy and sci-fi. A native of Utica, NY, he now calls New England home.

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Blog Tour: A Kingswater Summer – Jo Lambert

KIERA
Newly returned from backpacking around Europe, Kiera Merrick has landed a dream job – working
for actress Stella Wynter, helping set up a memory room at Penmarra, her beautiful riverside home just outside Kingswater.

JAKE
Jake Paterson is currently staying with Stella after filming the final series of his popular TV drama. He
is trying to work out how to get his co-star and long-term girlfriend Rachel Tyler back after she
walked out on him. But Jake soon finds himself drawn to Kiera, developing feelings for her that have
no place in his life. He realises painful choices will eventually have to be made. And someone is going
to get hurt.

TOM
Stella’s godson, hapless Tom Armytage is also staying at Penmarra along with girlfriend Chantal. He
dreams of becoming a successful property developer and hopes Chantal’s dynamic presence will
boost his ambitions. To impress her he boasts that he is heir to all of Stella’s wealth.

CHANTAL
Chantal Porter is a woman used to getting her own way. Tom is her ideal partner; weak and easily manipulated. Listening to him talk about his inheritance, she likes the idea of being Penmarra’s next
mistress. But Stella and Jake’s close relationship gives her cause for concern. Who is he? And could
he be a threat to her future ambitions?

As Jake comes to a difficult decision and sets off for London to sort things out with Rachel, a heart broken Kiera is left to watch helplessly as Chantal puts in place a plan to secure Tom’s inheritance.
One that will change Stella’s life for ever.
Set on the south coast of Cornwall, A Kingswater Summer is a story of love, deception, and family secrets…

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Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her
first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West
Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published 2017.
In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint.

Her latest novel A Kingswater Summer is the second of a three-book series. The first, Shadows on
the Water, was published in 2020. Both books can be read as standalone stories.
When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh, and she often takes the odd photograph or two…

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My thoughts: my grandmother was from Devon and I have an abiding love for the West Country, and especially the wild beauty of Cornwall. So I was excited to read a book set in that part of the world.

This started out as a conventional ‘woman finding her place in the world’ book, but as Kiera becomes involved with retired actor Stella Wynter and her family at Penmarra, she’s drawn into a plot that could have terrible consequences.

This was really enjoyable and I liked Kiera a lot – she was clever and realistic. I could easily imagine her among the locals of Padstow or St Ives, working several jobs and wondering whether she should move away. I have friends from Cornwall and that’s something they go back and forth on a lot, so I recognised the dilemma.

I really liked Stella, and would love a prequel with more of her glamorous showbiz life, all those objects Kiera is cataloguing could tell some fantastic stories I imagine. And lovely little Erik (what? You didn’t think I’d forget to mention the canine character did you?) who knows which people are not to be trusted. Smart dog.

I even liked Jake – a much more complex figure that he first appears. I don’t think he actually enjoyed acting, he seems very conflicted about his career, so moving to Cornwall might just be what he needs.

A really enjoyable, smart thriller and rom com (all those misunderstandings) rolled into 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: Where We Are Tomorrow – Tavi Taylor Black

wherearewetomorrowBT copy

Welcome to the blog tour for award-winning novel, Where Are We Tomorrow by Tavi Taylor Black! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Where We Are Tomorrow

Publication Date: May 31st, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Alex Evans, a thirty-six year old touring electrician, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she truly wants a family. But to attempt another pregnancy, she’ll have to change both her career and her relationship; her partner Connor, ten years her senior, isn’t prepared to become a father again.

When Alex is implicated in an accident involving the female pop star she works for, she and three other women on tour rent a house together in Tuscany. While the tour regroups, confessions are made, secrets are spilled: the guitar tech conceals a forbidden love, the production assistant’s ambition knows no limits, and the personal assistant battles mental issues.

Through arguments and accidents, combating drug use and religion, the women help each other look back on the choices they’ve made, eventually buoying each other, offering up strength to face tough decisions ahead.

TRIGGER WARNING: MISCARRIAGE/ ADDICTION/ GRIEF 

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Excerpt

Inside the concrete arena, programmed lights whirred and spun in rhythm; eleven thousand fans watched, mesmerized, as vibrant magenta and violet beams sliced through midnight black. On stage, the band regurgitated the same set as the night before, and the night before that. They’d performed the set in Mexico City and Guadalajara. As far south as Santiago and Lima. The road crew for Sadie Estrada’s Home Remedy tour knew each dip in volume, each drop in the beat. They knew exactly, down to the second, how much time it required to step outside and suck down a Marlboro. These time-zone travelers planned bathroom breaks by the songs’ measures; no one missed a cue to mute the stage mics, to hand out room-temp bottled water for set breaks, to pull up house lights.

Behind heavy velvet curtains, separated from the frenzied pace of the show, Alex unscrewed the cover of a moving light to expose the core: circuit boards and capacitors, motors connected to color wheels. Deep bass, feedback, and the fevered pitch of collective voices penetrated the curtain, the familiar, almost comforting reverberations of life on the road. Alex continued her diagnosis, removing the light harness as a mother removes a soiled diaper— routinely, with a touch of tenderness. While she located and replaced the broken part, she kept an ear to the music, alert to the final measure of the set, ready to repack her multi-wheeled toolbox, move on to the next city, set up again.

Alex ran the light through all its functions, testing and retesting once she’d replaced the gobo wheel. The body of the light panned and tilted, working fine. A small victory.

“Sure you know what you’re doing, little lady?” Alex turned at the familiar voice of the tour’s production manager.

“Funny,” she said. “Very original. For that, you get to help me put it away.” Alex waited for another barb, one about her not being able to lift the seventy pounds by herself, but Joe simply helped her flip and crate the unit, a harder task for him at 5’2” than it was for Alex, a good five inches taller.

The arena crackled in anticipation of the show’s climax. Thousands of voices swelled and surged, a unified congregation. The body of the moving light settled into the carved Styrofoam, and Alex tucked its tail inside the handle. As she slammed the case shut, Joe’s laminate got caught inside the box, and he was jerked down by the lanyard around his neck. He freed the latches and yanked it clear, smoothing the wrinkles from the photo of his two young children, a wallet-sized clipping he’d taped behind his backstage pass. Joe caught Alex eyeing the photo.

“When are you gonna give in and pop out a few yourself?” Joe asked.

Alex breathed slowly, letting a brief sadness settle into her body, though her face wore a practiced, blank expression. She gestured into the smothering dark, into the roar of the crowd and sweat-filled air. “And give up all this?”

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About the Author

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Tavi Black lives on an island near Seattle where she designs sets for the ballet, works as the tour manager for a musical mantra group, and has founded an anti-domestic violence non-profit organization. Before earning an MFA from Lesley University, Tavi spent 14 years touring with rock bands. Several of Tavi’s short stories have been shortlisted for prizes, including Aesthetica Magazine’s Competition, and the Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose.

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Blog Tour: The Family Lie – P.L. Kane

A scream cut through the night as they watched flames engulf the woodland. Fire ripped through the trees, leaving only charred branches behind. And then they saw it… on the ashen forest floor… was a body.

Police officer, Mitchel Prescott answered the phone with a shaking hand. It was the one call he had been dreading. It was the hospital at Green Acres… his father Thomas, had died in the night.

Returning to the small town he had been avoiding since he was a child, Mitch must lay his father to rest.

When he arrives, the close-knit residents refuse to speak about Thomas’ death, other to explain he was found burnt to death in the woods and his dementia was the likely cause.

But when Mitch discovers traces of accelerant on his father’s body, he’s certain it wasn’t an accident. Then his childhood home is broken into, his father’s study ransacked, and a rock thrown through the window warning him to leave.

Mitch is convinced Thomas had discovered something that had got him into trouble… something that would threaten his entire family.

But what secret is worth killing for?

An utterly gripping thriller that will have you reading long into the night. Fans of Shari Lapena and Helen Phifer will love The Family Lie!

P L KANE is the pseudonym of a number one bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has over a hundred books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the novel Her Last Secret, the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds, which contains stories by the likes of Lee Child, Dean Koontz, Val McDermid and Dennis Lehane. Kane has been a guest at many events and conventions, and has had work optioned and adapted for film and television. Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Films have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness. Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint).

My thoughts: this gave me definite Hot Fuzz vibes – small towns give me the creeps. So insular and sinister – which this small rural town definitely is. Mitch has no idea what’s going on when he returns to Green Acres to put his late father’s affairs in order. The fact his father may have been murdered, the utterly useless local police, his weird aunt and uncle. He needs answers but getting them proves deadly. Thank goodness for his psychic sister Bella, the true hero of the book – Cat the cat, and Bella’s copper pal, Mitch is out of his depth.

Gripping and sinister, this is a really clever, enjoyable thriller about insidious evil and why you need a cat. Also, cults, small town strangeness and secrets.

*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: Blasted Things – Lesley Glaister

1920: Britain is trying to forget the Great War. Clementine, who nursed at the front and suffered losses, must bury the past. Then she meets Vincent, an opportunistic veteran whose damage goes much deeper than the painted tin mask he wears. Their deadly relationship will career towards a dark and haunting resolution.

Lesley Glaister is a fiction writer, poet, playwright and teacher of writing. She has published fourteen adult novels, the first of a YA trilogy and numerous short stories. She received both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask award for Honour Thy Father (1990), and has won or been listed for several literary prizes for her other work. She has three adult sons and lives in Edinburgh (with frequent sojourns to Orkney) with husband Andrew Greig. She teaches creative writing at the University of St Andrews and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

My thoughts: my great-grandmother didn’t leave a lot of her personal history to us – she had a stroke when my mum was very young and couldn’t speak, and when she died Pop (my great-grandfather) burnt all her photos and documents. But from what little we do know, she, Eliza Jane Redhead, was a WWI nurse, like Clementine in this book. It formed an instant connection for me. I have no idea what she saw or experienced, but I can’t imagine any of it was pleasant and like Clementine, she had to live with those terrible memories forever.

My mum is a nurse, it seems caring for people runs in the blood. She joined the Junior Red Cross and then went off at 17 to train in the NHS, where she’s worked for over 40 years. But Clem was expected to get married and have babies and leave the medicine to her doctor husband, the stuffed shirt Dennis (I hated him, I wish she’d escaped to Canada with the lovely Powell, I bet he wouldn’t be so controlling and annoying).

But she meets Vince, and he’s a chancer and a half. He wants so much more than his small life. The recipient of one of the tin masks made and painted to hide facial injuries – in his case a lost eye as well, it made me think of Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room where art students from the Slade are painting these faces.

Indeed that’s what Clem wants to do – paint him. But he sees in her an opportunity and it all leads down a dark path to tragedy. This book totally gripped me and pulled me along with it, much as Vince takes Clem along with him. I found myself muttering “don’t do it Clem, don’t do it” at times and was furious at Vince’s audacity and casual cruelty, but he didn’t deserve his end, despite what he did. Beautifully written, this is a book that will be hanging out in my mind for a while.

*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 Couple Upstairs – Shalini Boland

Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl and The Wife Between Us.

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Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and Jess their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

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My thoughts: I’ve never been so glad my upstairs neighbours are happy to keep to themselves. Chris and Vanessa seem friendly at first but then they’re wrecking havoc in Nina and Zac’s life. And Nina can’t figure out why 2 strangers are so determined to make her life hell.

Creepy and weird, totally obsessive. All things no one wants to find out about the people they live closest to. Time to call in the anti-social behaviour team and get them warned! I couldn’t figure out what they were up to or why, the mysterious flashbacks between each chapter carefully avoided any clues, I was completely thrown by the reveal. A nicely nasty little thriller about the dangers of neighbours. I’m off to live on a deserted island!

*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: Cenotaphs – Rich Marcello

Cenotaphs copy

Welcome to the book tour for Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello! Read on for details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

Cenotaphs FRont Cover FinalCenotaphs

Publication Date: July 26th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.

When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

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A SORTING

The parts recur––the son, the lover, the husband, the father, the friend, the citizen. They come in whispers and fragments, in the unwinding of memory. They come in your smile, in the laughter of our children, in nightmares, in bursts of violence against once precious objects. How do you gauge the parts of a life? Did I perform any of them well? How do you summon them into an unfettered whole?

I am old now. I’d hoped I would’ve figured out a few answers by this point, but the truth is I spend more time each day watching the Red Sox than thinking about such things. In the summer and fall, the games are on every day, often twice a day, and watching them gives Zeke and me something to do. Something zen exists about the game, something appealing to me as I age, something about the stillness, the waiting, the bursts of energy, all mimicking the best and worst times in life. And I like the red, blue, and gray uniforms. They remind me of a more structured time.

Zeke, a big black, brown, and white mutt I rescued about ten years ago, keeps me company in our cabin. When I first got him, he liked digging holes in my yard, searching deep and dirty, with only a rare unearthing. His record: twenty-two holes. Twenty-two! In one of them, he found an empty wine bottle, message-less. Now, Zeke mostly sleeps in the same worn spot on the living room rug. I’m not sure which one of us will die first.

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About the Author

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Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and Cenotaphs, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to at least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.

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