blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey*

Some secrets are worth killing for.
The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.
Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.
Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.

With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.

If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.

My thoughts:

Inspired by Plato’s account of the lost island of Atlantis and Ancient Greek society, this is a powerful and fascinating story of how one young woman finds the strength to survive in the face of tragedy and cruelty.

Considered by her awful stepfather as of less worth than the household slaves, she’s ignored and mistreated in the home she has always loved.

Finding the truth about her father’s death and then about their walled city give her purpose and courage. She can save everyone if only they’d listen. But there are forces conspiring against her – some close to home, and she isn’t sure who to trust.

A strong narrative and a truly fascinating protagonist make this a compelling and enjoyable read. I’m fascinated by the ancient world and this really draws upon the history and literature of that time, bringing it vividly to life.

*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: The Winter Garden – Heidi Swann*

Freya Fuller is estranged from her parents and has been following her childhood dream of becoming a gardener ever since.When an opportunity to design a winter garden opens up at a Victorian property in Nightingale Square, Freya jumps at the chance to make a fresh start.But while the majority of the residents are welcoming, local artist Finn seems determined to shut her out, and when Freya’s family make a surprise appearance, it seems that her new life is about to come crashing down . . .

My thoughts:

I am utterly useless with plants and can just about keep a cactus alive but I do enjoy a beautiful garden and I could easily picture the stunning one Freya creates in this delightful book.

Perfect for curling up and getting cosy with this winter, the love story between Freya and Finn, the lovely little Nell, the kind and welcoming locals, the healing of nature, the crafts and creations people make, it all adds up to a really pleasurable 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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Book Blitz: Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse – Sherrill Joseph


EucalyptusStreetBRB

Congrats to author Sherrill Joseph on the release of the next exciting book in her Botanic Hill Detectives mystery series, Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse!

I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a signed, personalized paperback copy of the book, and some matching book swag!

Ebook_EucalyptusStreet_GreenCurse_02(1)Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse 

Publication Date: October 20, 2020 (Today

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade

(For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

In 1945, Isabela de Cordoba’s great-grandfather, the famous silent movie actor Lorenzo de Cordoba, mysteriously hid a legendary, multimillion-dollar emerald somewhere on the family’s sprawling Eucalyptus Street estate. Seventy years later, the gem remains concealed. Nicknamed the “Green Curse,” the emerald is blamed for the Southern California familia’s numerous, untimely deaths.

On her twenty-first birthday, Isabela receives a secret letter with a cryptic poem. These documents from the long-deceased Lorenzo invite her to hunt for the gemstone. But first, she must decipher the poem’s eight stanzas for clues.

To assist, Isabela hires her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the four Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, and their best friends, Moki Kalani and Rani Kumar. Eerie footsteps inside the mansion, unexplained occurrences in the adjacent cemetery, and the mysterious tenant in the backyard casita challenge them. But they ingeniously make progress on the poem’s meaning with startling discoveries. Sliding wall panels, a secret room, and hidden passages reveal much. The detectives aren’t the only ones looking for the emerald. The perilous race for the de Cordoba treasure is on!

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Excerpt

Lexi is awakened at two a.m. by an unlatched bedroom window banging in the wind. She has just closed it and is about to return to bed when:

Lexi . . . became transfixed by something she saw out the troublesome window. At the far western edge of the estate grounds, there appeared a light that seemed to be bobbing, then pulsing on and off. Lexi squinted her eyes to aid her focus.

“What’s going on?” Rani asked a moment later. She propped herself up on her elbows.

 “There’s a twinkling light out there. Come see for yourself.” Lexi beckoned to Rani with both hands. “Hurry up, before it’s gone.”

Rani scrambled out of bed and joined Lexi in gazing in the direction her friend was pointing. Both girls watched as the light moved first one direction, then the other.

Rani craned her neck for a better view. “Creepy. What part of the garden is that?”

“I hope I’m wrong, but I think that’s the churchyard at St. Barnabas Cathedral.”

The girls stared at each other wide-eyed as Lexi squeezed Rani’s forearm.

Available in paperback and for Kindle!

About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

She has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries with children and adult characters of various abilities, races, cultures, and interests. Sherrill strongly believes that children need to find not only themselves in books but others from different races and social situations if all are to become tolerant, anti-racist world citizens.

In addition, the author created her detectives—patterned after her own fifth-grade students and twelve-year-old twin cousins—to be mature, smart, polite role models that will appeal to parents, teachers, but especially to kids who seek to realize their greatest potential with courage and self-respect.

Sherrill is a lexical-gustatory synesthete and native San Diegan where she lives in a 1928 Spanish-style house in a historic neighborhood with her poodle-bichon mix, Jimmy Lambchop. Other loves include her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She can’t leave out dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, purple, and daisies. Having never lived in a two-story house, she is naturally fascinated by staircases. Sherrill is a member of SCBWI and the Authors Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

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Giveaway:
3 lucky winners will receive a signed, personalized paperback copy of the book, and some matching book swag (US only this time)! Giveaway will be open until October 23rd!

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Her Dark Sins – T.R. Tells*

What happens when an ominous phenomenon forces people’s negativity to manifest into demonic creatures called Umbra Shades that spread Apathy Syndrome to its victims? In a violent and corrupted world ruled by negative intentions, a seventeen-year-old girl with the ability to purge these demons wants nothing more than a better tomorrow…

But will she be able to protect her loved ones and save humanity with it?
In a violent and corrupted world ruled by negative intentions, a seventeen-year-old girl with the ability to purge these demons wants nothing more than a better tomorrow…

But will she be able to protect her loved ones and save humanity with it?

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T.R. Tells chose the pen name created as a play on words “T.R “TELLS a story”. She lives in upstate New York with her Bachelors from Southern New Hampshire University in Fiction and Creative writing. When she isn’t writing novels, ideas, short stories, or finished with her classes; she’s usually scrolling through one of her streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Funimation etc). She’s a fan of Anime, RPG, and JRPG games; anything historical or fantasy (books or T.V. shows) – she can go on for hours talking about it or really anything that she is passionate about.

She’s a fan of Anime, RPG, and JRPG games; anything historical or fantasy (books or T.V. shows) – she can go on for hours talking about it or really anything that she is passionate about.

T.R. Tells feels a passion towards it and hopes that (even if it’s just one person) feels the amount of effort, love, and determination that is expressed in her writing.

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My thoughts:

This was really interesting, and reminded me a bit of Buffy – teenage girl battles monsters, monsters as metaphors for life. Or just it was pretty kickass.

Hira is a strong, determined protagonist, she never backs down from doing what’s right – whether that’s stopping bullying in school or literally fighting terrifying mind controlling monsters that few people can see. She also somehow finds time for her family, school and friends.

I really enjoyed this book, it launches straight into the action and the risk Hira is in if she can’t defeat the Umbra Shades – their Master is coming. (See, very season one Buffy – a very good thing as far as I’m concerned, and yes I am old).

*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: The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow*

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in a Hugo award-winning author’s powerful novel of magic amid the suffragette movement.
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters — James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna — join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote — and perhaps not even to live — the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

My thoughts:

I loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January and had high hopes for this beautiful looking book and oh I’m so pleased by it. It’s just marvellous stuff.

An alternative history plot, with women having been the dominant sex for years, the gender swapped writers and famous figures were a particular delight.

Magic has been repressed and denied – women have died for possessing it but it’s still there, hidden, waiting.

The three Eastwood sisters reunite in New Salem and their bond wakes something, not just in them but in many of the women and even some of the men in the city.

The story weaves around you, with folkloric elements and slightly altered fairytales between the chapters. There is something incredibly enchanting and seductive about the narrative, I was completely drawn in and couldn’t put it down.

Absolutely delightful and wonderfully done.

*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: Betrayal – Lilja Sigurđardóttir*

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined.

A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fastpaced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland.

An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide.

The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

My thoughts:

A political thriller, set in Iceland, with Úrsula steps into the role of Minister of the Interior, intending to stay a year but fate conspires against her from the start – or maybe it’s people around her.

Her father’s supposed killer, a homeless man called Petur, keeps turning up, there’s death threats to contend with and she has so many things she wants to do while in post.

Fast paced, I didn’t realise that all this action was only set across two weeks, so much happens. There’s all sorts of twists and turns and the final scenes are shocking and sew up all the various plot points. Brilliant.

*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: The Ticklemore Christmas Toy Shop – Liz Davies*

You’re never too old to fall in love…

There is a disturbance in the force and octogenarian Hattie Jenkins can feel it in her water. Still active and spritely, she guesses that the miserable-looking gentleman sitting morosely in the café where she works, might be the reason.

Widowed Alfred Miller has recently moved in with his daughter because she is worried that he’s becoming too frail and forgetful to look after himself. And he’s not in the least bit happy about it, especially since his home is soon be cleared and sold.

But when he enlists Hattie’s help to save some of his precious belongings, he doesn’t realise that Hattie’s mission is to save more than a few sticks of furniture. She’s on a mission to save him, too.

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Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.
She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.
She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper can and travel the world in it.

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My thoughts:

This was a lovely, warm, feelgood story, definitely one for the festive season, all snuggled up in the house while the winter freezes outside.

Proving love is for every age are Alfred and Hattie, neither are young but don’t count them out yet. Hattie works in the café and that’s where she meets Alfred, a widower recently come to live with his daughter and her husband.

He’s lonely and a bit lost, but meeting Hattie helps give him a new lease of life and together they set up a special shop to sell Alfred’s handmade toys and raise money for charity.

The community rallies around them to help get it going and Alfred’s sadness lifts.

Like a warm mug of hot chocolate or a good hug, this book is just the right amount of sweet and cheering. Put it on your Advent reading list.

*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: A Conspiracy of Silence – Anna Legat*

When a body is found in the grounds of a prestigious Wiltshire private school, DI Gillian Marsh takes
on the case. The young groundsman, Bradley Watson, has been shot dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.
As the investigation gathers pace, DI Marsh is frustrated to find the Whalehurst staff and students
united in silence. This scandal must not taint their reputation. But when Gillian discovers pictures of missing Whalehurst pupil, fifteen-year-old Rachel Snyder, on Bradley’s dead body – photos taken on the night she disappeared, and he was murdered – the link between the two is undeniable.
But what is Whalehurst refusing to reveal? And does Gillian have what it takes to bring about
justice?

Amazon UK

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Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. A
globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian.

She read law at the University of South Africa and Warsaw University, then gained teaching qualifications in New Zealand.

She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories.

Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

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Giveaway to Win a DI Marsh Series Mug, and the first four books in the Series (UK Only) DI Marsh Series First four books – Swimming with Sharks, Nothing to Lose, Thicker than Blood and Sandman.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this crime novel set in a small Wiltshire village, after a body is found on the boundary of an elite public school.

Dealing with the attitudes and insularity of the privileged school felt slightly familiar as my home town also houses (and shares a name with) one of the fanciest public schools in the country.

At this school, Whalehurst, there is a distinct us and them attitude with regards to the villagers, and the headmaster tries to push the investigation off his campus. However the dead body is a member of staff, and there’s also a missing student to account for.

Within the walls of the school someone knows what happened, and Detective Inspector Marsh is not giving up.

She’s a forceful and determined protagonist, putting the case first in her priorities as she searches for answers on behalf of the families and victims. She knows there’s something very wrong at the school, and she will keep digging.

Clever, gripping and with a sinister villain at the heart of it, this was a great read and perfect for a cold, wintry night’s reading.

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

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only forfulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

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Blog Tour: The Other Woman – Amanda Brookfield*

‘No one gets to the heart of human relationships quite so perceptively as Brookfield.’ The Mirror

On a normal day, in a normal house, on a normal street, wife and mother Fran has had enough. She packs a case, leaves a note for her bullying husband Pete, and one for her beloved twenty-year-old son Harry, and heads to the airport – and freedom.

In another house, on another street, Helena is desperately baiting her husband Jack into a fight.
These days it feels like the only way to get Jack to take notice of her. Passionate, volatile, increasingly fragile, Helena is fast running out of hope.

What Helena and Fran don’t know, is that soon their lives are going to come crashing together in ways neither expect nor understand. And if Fran and Helena are going to change their own futures, then first they will have to change each other’s.

Amanda Brookfield is back with a triumphant, crackling story about love, marriage, lies and fate,
and how our destinies can be changed by the smallest decisions. Perfect for fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Jane Fallon and Jane Green.

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Amanda Brookfield is the bestselling author of many novels including Good Girls, Relative Love and Before I Knew You, and a memoir, For the Love of a Dog starring her Golden Doodle Mabel.
She lives in London.

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My thoughts:

What starts out as a seemingly normal affair gone awry slowly folds out into the full horrors of living with human monsters fuelled by anger and addiction. Both Fran and Jack are running from the spouses they hate when they meet – they both find something in each other that’s lacking in their marriages.

But things aren’t going the way they want and soon Fran has to make some serious decisions about her life. Jack’s wife Helena has to do the same if she wants her husband back.

Two women with their happiness at stake need to find the strength to get what they really want out of life.

Enjoyable and at times shocking, there was a moment when I genuinely gasped with horror, this ultimately redemptive novel is a great read and Fran a strong and courageous character.

*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: Emergence – Shira Shiloah*

A SCALPEL WIELDING VILLAIN.

A HEALTHCARE SYSTEM THAT FAILS.

A WHISTLEBLOWER THAT PROTECTS HER PATIENTS – NO MATTER THE COSTS.

Trusted anesthesiologist, Dr. Roxanne Roth, is healing from the loss of her fiancé by consuming her time with work. It doesn’t hurt that her new love interest, Dr. Justin Kirkland, spends almost as much time at the hospital as she does.

Entranced in the throes and complications of new love, Roxanne looks forward to work every day. Her time at the hospital would almost be cathartic if not for Dr. D.K. Webb, a neurosurgeon, who is quickly amassing a pile of complaints – and bodies.

Despite trying to avoid Webb, Roxanne finds herself working alongside the doctor during a routine, low-risk surgery. Fueled by cocaine and ego, Webb intentionally sabotages the case, leading to the patient dying on the operating table.

Roxanne’s tenuous grip on recovery is shattered with her patient’s death, quickly replaced by anger and a drive for justice. Now Roxanne will do anything to protect her patients from the killer on the other side of the sterile surgical field—before he can silence her as well.

In this gripping, sinister medical thriller, Dr. Shira Shiloah will leave readers wondering about the potential evil lurking behind every surgical mask.

“Authentic characters and a vivid hospital setting enhance a tense medical tale.”

– Kirkus Review

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Dr. Shira Shiloah is an anesthesiologist and author of the debut thriller, Emergence, that details Dr. D.K. Webb, a neurosurgeon who intentionally maims and kills his patients in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Shiloah bring both a personal and professional perspective for what may happen when a sociopath holds a scalpel.

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My thoughts:

Written by a real anesthesiologist, so all the medical details are correct, this is a gripping thriller about malpractice and murder, featuring a ruthless psychopathic surgeon and the brilliant anesthesiologist who is determined to bring him to justice after a series of patients are left much worse off than before he went anywhere near them.

As someone with a neurological condition, Webb, the villain, is my worst nightmare, thank goodness my doctors are all more in line with Dr Roxanne Roth, the hero, kind, compassionate and good at their jobs.

Webb doesn’t care about his patients, colleagues or even his girlfriend, preferring money and drugs to his job and responsibilities.

He is a monster and Roxanne is driven to stop him after the death of a patient who should not have died. What ensues is gripping, horrific and it is only Roxanne’s determination and strength that ensures Webb doesn’t evade justice forever.

A great debut novel, with pace, strong characters and hopefully more to come. I could see this easily becoming a new medical TV series – there’s so much drama and intrigue here.

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