blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Hope and Sanctuary – Neet Neilson

Hope rescues intensive farming animals from slaughter among many others in her growing animal sanctuary, but finds herself struggling to make ends meet. Compounded by frequent flooding, a constant drain on her resources, as well as the risk it poses to her animals, Hope puts out a desperate plea on national television for help.

Grant Marshall comes to her rescue, but there’s a catch. He’s a farmer – and Hope loathes farmers.

Grant offers Hope everything she could ever desire for her sanctuary, leaving her with a dilemma – does she go against her morals and beliefs to accept his charity or will she accept his challenge that he can convince her that he is a compassionate man – in more ways than one?

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Neet has been a big fan of romance novels since she was a teen, borrowing books from her mother’s bookcase. Her love of reading laid the foundation for an interest in writing short stories, poems, songs, screenplays, stage plays and novels. Her background in nursing, lecturing and research has been invaluable when establishing a sound knowledge base for her writing, while her emotions are the driving force behind her work. Her love for animals is her greatest passion.


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My thoughts: I love animals and one day would like to have enough space to house lots of rescue animals, but at the moment we just have one cat, who was abandoned as a kitten. So I really liked Hope and her sanctuary. Rescuing animals and giving them a safe and happy home to live out their natural lives in is a great thing to do.

I can also understand her ambivalence with Grant – I have family members who farm. But Hope’s passion and commitment to her animals help to change Grant’s mind about livestock farming, it helps that he falls in love and lust hard from the first moment. And that his sister Fi is on board too, since she co-owns the farm and their ready meals business.

But the path of true love doesn’t run smoothly and both Grant and Hope get things wrong and misread situations – they just need to sit down and properly talk to each other. Instead they just keep falling apart. Thankfully Fi is straight talking and gets them to sort themselves out. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a happy ending and the cats and dogs would be very confused after all the moving back and forth that goes on!

The royalties from sales of Hope and Sanctuary are being donated to Glendrick Roost Animal Welfare Centre.

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*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: Last Blue Christmas – Rose Prendeville

The only case they haven’t cracked is how to be together.

Not on Officer Maggie Kyle’s Christmas bingo card:

• A homemade bomb in a bus station locker.

• A child, the prime suspect in the bombing.

• Her partner of ten years abandoning her to solve the case on her own.

Max St. James might be the worst cop in the world—or at least in Toronto:

• He fell in love with his partner.

• He’s the reason she never became a detective.

• He doesn’t much care who planted the bomb.

The IED’s blast ignites years of tension, sending Maggie and Max careening in opposite directions—but opposites still attract.

Can they find a way to come together to solve the case before another bomb goes off?

And will it mean another ten years sacrificing the future they want for the partnership they already have?

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Excerpt
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… four migraine headaches, three massive ulcers, two aching ear drums, and a hole where my heart ought to be,” Maggie sang quietly to herself as though Max wasn’t sitting right there. She cracked herself up and switched off the unmarked Suburban’s FM radio with a flourish, and Max could swear he caught a whiff of cinnamon.
“Maggie Kyle, your Christmas spirit confounds me,” he told his partner. He was pretending to watch a Buick creep down the street a little too slowly so she wouldn’t guess how attuned he was to the earnest timbre of her voice or the wry quirk of her lips. She was trying too hard to act casual with him, and he couldn’t figure out why.
Maggie forced another laugh. “Christmas spirit,” she repeated, skimming the crossword puzzle in her lap before glancing back across the street at the rundown residence of Bobby King. Its peeling paint, once white, was now a weathered gray, and of the four green shutters meant to frame the front windows, two were broken and one was missing altogether.
“What is a six-letter word for ‘lack thereof,’ Alex?”
“Jeopardy’s not a crossword puzzle,” she said, making sure he saw her eye roll.
“Dispatch, we need to put out an APB on Officer Kyle’s missing Christmas spirit."
“You going to call in that Buick?” she changed the subject.
“I wrote down the plates,” he lied, squinting to make them out so he could record the vehicle in his logbook.
Maggie picked up the radio. “51-19?”
“51-19, go ahead,” another officer responded from his own unmarked vehicle around the corner.
“10-15 headed your way. Tan Buick, early 2000s model, traveling east. Manitoba plate: Yankee Lima Echo seven seven eight.”
“Copy,” 51-19 replied.
Maggie replaced the radio and turned her attention back to the crossword. “Frankie wants to enter that gingerbread contest, and her mom’s been playing Christmas carols since before Halloween. I’m not sure how much more I can take.”
“Got it. No Christmas carols.”
Max drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. When exactly had she lost her Christmas spirit? He could picture her as a little girl—in his mind she wore two long braids and was constantly shaking her bangs out of her eyes—staring up at the sky waiting for Santa to ride out of the stars like a meteor with the same patience she now bestowed on their stakeout. “But peppermint lattes are okay?”
She grinned. “I’ll allow it.”
“So you only hate Christmas a little bit then?”
Maggie snorted.
Time was, Max didn’t mind the odd stakeout. It beat writing parking tickets or chasing shoplifters through the snow. Play some tunes, shoot the shit, pee in a bottle if things got urgent.
With the right partner it could seem like a day off. But everything was like eggshells with Maggie lately, and he couldn’t figure out when exactly things had changed.
Today he felt a special kind of twitchy, the kind that made you want to peel off your own skin. Max loved the city—sometimes he hated how much he loved it—but sitting still all week, downtown where the Toronto high-rises blocked out the sky, he was starting to feel caged, like the buildings were closing in from every direction.
Maybe he was psyching himself out after the whole ancestry test situation. The dichotomy of an Indigenous urbanite was turning his brain against itself. Maybe he just needed a vacation.
“Do you believe in nature versus nurture?” he asked.
“What, you mean like, mama tried but Bobby King was born rotten and no amount of church or cuddles or bedtime stories could have stopped him growing up to be a cop-killing gun runner?”
“Something like that.”
Maggie shrugged at him. “You missed a button.” She pointed at his shirt. “Girlfriend didn't catch that?”
She was obsessed with the idea that he and Selina from next door shared more than a wall. It had only happened once—okay a handful of times. But it was five years ago, and there was no way Maggie could have known, except somehow she did. Even back then there’d been something, in his gait as he walked to the patrol car or a half-guilty look in his eyes; she had known, and if he protested now she’d take it as some kind of proof.
Not that it should even matter. They were partners, not lovers, and he’d certainly been her shoulder to cry on when the asshat from college dumped her and split back to Edmonton.
Max should have made a move on Maggie then, but he was still her TO and besides, he’d been a rebound before. He didn’t want to be one for Maggie, and she didn’t want him anyway. She’d been singularly focused on making detective since her first day at Fifty-One Division. Until, somewhere along the lines, she hadn't.
And she was right about the button. His black undershirt was peeking through. Did he bother to look in the mirror this morning? After a dozen years on the job, he knew what he’d see. Not his father, not even his grandfather—just a sad imitation, like a kid who got the wrong size costume at Halloween.
Her phone began to vibrate then, and she, too, silenced it without answering.
“Your mom again?” he asked.
She didn’t respond, which meant yes.
“She giving you a hard time about staying here for the holidays?”
“I’ll take ‘Does the earth orbit the sun?’ for a thousand, Alex.”
“Weren’t you going to invite your folks out here for Christmas?”
“That was last year.”
An uncomfortable mixture of lust and shame surged through Max, from the tips of his ears to his belly, at the thought of last Christmas. He tried to remember her parents being in town, but all that came to mind was the department holiday party and sweaty fumbling in a dark interrogation room. And cinnamon. She had smelled like cinnamon then, too.

Rose Prendeville is a librarian and honorary Canadian with a passion for stories about found families and flawed people doing their best.

She’s been devising such tales for as long as she can remember, including secretly in the back of her tenth grade French class (Pardon, Madame Gonzales), and she went on to double-major in screenwriting and creative writing.

Hydrangeas are her lifeblood, hot baths and hiking are her solace. She adores baking (and mostly eating) macarons, and she can’t wait to share this and future books with you.

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My thoughts: this was a lovely story about family, friendship and crime at Christmas. Police officers Maggie and Max are after someone who sets off a fake bomb in a bus station locker, when they find a little boy hidden inside another locker. His older brother runs from them and Max pursues him across Canada, hoping to reunite the two boys.

Meanwhile Maggie hunts for the hoaxer, could it be connected to the case being built against local criminal Bobby King? And how does the stolen Robox kit from the local library fit in?

While investigating, both Maggie and Max are also wrestling with their feelings for each other, ten years working together and a year after an awkward hook up at the Christmas party, will they finally admit how they feel?

The way that Max is determined to reunite Henri and Oliver, chasing Oliver across the province to bring him back to Toronto and his little brother, while wrestling with the fact he’s adopted and doesn’t know whether he had a brother, is so powerful. Almost as though by bringing the two boys back together he can fix his own memories. Maggie is determined too, but she wants to catch the hoax bomber, and then King, but she’s also got little Henri to look after and is being hassled to apply for her detective’s exam.

They’re interesting and multifaceted characters, and they’re dealing with a lot of issues, both personal and professional. I also really liked the boys, the rookie, Hector, and Maggie’s detective friend Frankie. They keep the plot moving along at a nice pace in this quirky, hopeful Christmas story.

*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: Tempted by the Runes – Christina Courtenay

Born centuries apart. Bound by a love that defied time.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. The runes were normally so reliable and she had never doubted them before.
Madison Berger is visiting Dublin with her family for a Viking re-enactment festival, when she chances upon a small knife embedded in the banks of the Liffey. Maddie recognises what the runes on the
knife’s handle signify: the chance to have her own adventures in the past.
Maddie only intends to travel back in time briefly, but a skirmish in 9th century Dublin results in her waking up on a ship bound for Iceland, with the man who saved her from attack.
Geir Eskilsson has left his family in Sweden to boldly carve out a life of his own. He is immediately drawn to Maddie, but when he learns of her connection to his sisters-in-law, he begins to believe that
Fate has played a part in bringing them together. Amidst the perils that await on their journey to a new land, the truest battle will be to win Maddie’s heart and convince her that the runes never lie…

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Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014), and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes. Tempted by the Runes (time travel published by Headline 9th December 2021) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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Giveaway to Win a signed paperback copy of Tempted By The Runes, a pair of silver Thor’s hammer earrings and a Thor’s hammer Christmas tree bauble (Open INT)

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My thoughts: oh yes, the time travelling Viking romance series is back, following on from Tempted by the Runes and Whisper of the Runes , this time it’s Linnea’s younger half-sister Maddie who finds herself in the Ninth Century with a handsome (and infuriating) Viking to deal with. Geir rescues her from harm on the banks of the Liffey in Dublin and spirits her away to his planned new settlement in what’s now Iceland.

Bickering all the way, the pair fall hard for one another as they build a new community in sparsely populated land north of Reykjavik. Maddie has to reconcile her twenty-first century thinking with the realities of living in the past. And Geir has to understand that a thousand years from his time, women are very different. Luckily both his brothers are married to time travellers (Linnea and Sara).

I really enjoy this series and was delighted by this book as it joins the series, I love seeing the way each couple combines their knowledge and learns to live together in the past, with the odd trip to the present.

*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: Sounds Like Love – Laura Ford

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Welcome to the book tour for Sounds Like Love, a clean contemporary YA romance by Laura Ford!

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Sounds Like Love

Publication Date: July 29th, 2021

Genre: YA/ Romance/ Clean YA

Wendy is a bright spark who wants to find love and travel the world, but she questions how her dreams can become a reality as her world changes around her.

When Wendy arrives at her beloved grandmother’s house to collect a box of keepsakes, she picks up more than she bargained for – a green-eyed tabby cat with amazing qualities. This is just the start of a high-speed adventure, leading Wendy towards bright new horizons… if only she’ll give the cat a chance…

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Excerpt

As Wendy got up, something at the window caught her eye again. It was the cat – looking sad as she gazed in through the window. Her coat was beginning to get wet as light rain started to fall outside. Wendy felt a change inside of her. Suddenly she wasn’t thinking about how she felt anymore; she was wondering how the cat was feeling – she felt compassion for the cat. All through her childhood she had disliked cats because her parents had paraded them in front of her and it had made her feel second best. But now, this cat was looking for a friend. How could Wendy hope for people to understand her when she wasn’t trying to understand this cat?

“Empathy,” Wendy said out loud to herself. “That’s what the world needs. More empathy.”

Wendy walked towards the window and the cat looked up at her longingly. Her brown tabby coat was beginning to look almost black as the rain soaked it through, and her green eyes shone through the dim light, as though alight from within. She looked into Wendy’s eyes and Wendy looked back at her, really looked at her now, and saw the cat’s delicate face looking back, hoping to make friends. She noticed, for the first time, the cat’s white whiskers, her little pink nose, and the green collar that Grandma had given her.

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About the Author

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Laura Ford writes novels, short stories and poems across a wide range of human and animal experience. As Laura is an avid cat lover, a number of special felines tend to find their way into Laura’s stories as well.

Laura graduated with an honours degree in British law while also writing fiction in parallel. Now based in California with her husband and two beguiling Siamese cats, Laura most enjoys using her imagination and memories to paint vivid stories. An avid traveler and seeker, Laura is always exploring new concepts for more stories to come.

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Book Tour Schedule

November 29th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@bookscoffeehappiness – https://www.instagram.com/bookscoffeehappiness/

Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Spotlight) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/

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

November 30th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

December 1st

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

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

December 2nd

Rambling Mads (*Review Out of Tour) http://ramblingmads.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

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

December 3rd

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

Eyerolling Dem-God Blog (Spotlight) https://eyerollingdemigod.blogspot.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

*Reviewing out of tour – Really wanted to read it but couldn’t for this week!

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Blog Tour: King of Battle & Blood – Scarlett St Clair

Danger. Darkness. Insatiable romance. Get ready for your new obsession.

Their union is his revenge. Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. But her assassination attempt is thwarted, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. Except it isn’t the court she fears most―it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king―fierce, savage, merciless―chose her as consort. . . The answer will shatter her world.

Scarlett St Clair is the author of the Hades x Persephone saga, the Hades saga, King of Battle and Blood, and When Stars Come Out. A former librarian, she also has a master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies and a Bachelors in English Writing. She is obsessed with Greek Mythology, murder mysteries, and the afterlife. You can find pictures of her adorable dog Adelaide on her Instagram (@authorscarlettstclair) and updates about her books at http://www.authorscarlettstclair.

My thoughts: Isolde agrees to marry the vampire king Adrian to save her father’s kingdom, a sort of Beauty & the Beast with royalty, she doesn’t intend on falling heavily in lust and then in love with him. But she does. The sex is quite graphic, and a reminder that not all fantasy is YA. As well as that, there’s an evil witch hellbent on destroying everything, monsters keep attacking people and even Isolde’s dear old dad can’t be trusted.

Isolde realises that she can only rely on a handful of people, and most of them drink blood. But she is loyal and fierce, a warrior before a queen. She will fight and she will get answers to what is happening in Revekka. The things she learns change everything. There’s lots of fighting and blood everywhere, nothing ever seems peaceful in the vampire kingdom, some of your enemies are your own council, and it’s getting worse. The undead seem to live at a faster, more frenetic pace and few mortals can keep up. Can Isolde hold the kingdom together and help Adrian deal with the evil in his past that’s determined to destroy 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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Book Trailer Reveal: Moon Scorned – Marty Mayberry

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Welcome to the book trailer reveal for the first book in a brand-new shifter series, Moon Scorned by Marty Mayberry!

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Moon Scorned (Raven Moon Wolves #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 5th, 2022

Genre: Upper YA/ Shifter/ Paranormal Romance

I fell hard and fast for the alpha of an elite pack.

Then he rejected me.

Everly

Asher took off when I needed him most, rejecting me and my inner wolf. Then my half-sister is murdered at an exclusive college that’s enshrouded in magic and secrets. When the school offers me a scholarship, I accept and move onto campus. I’m going to find out who killed her, then rip them apart. And if I run into Asher while I’m there? He’ll learn I’m no longer his sweet little thing. He’s about to taste the fury of a wolf shifter scorned.

Asher

Everly’s everything to me, but to protect her, I had to shove her away. If I go near her, the Drudge Pack will discover who she truly is. My father—their enforcer—will kill her. But when she shows up at Ravenmire College, my inner wolf hungers. I’ll do anything to keep her safe—even if that means sacrificing myself and betraying my dangerous family.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

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Marty lives in New England, where you’ll find her plotting and writing while walking in the park–yes, at the same time! Otherwise, you might find her sitting in the shade with her feet up, reading everything she can get her hands on.

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Blog Tour: An Italian Scandal – Cecil Cameron

A captivating story of romance, passion and adventure set in nineteenth century London and Italy.

London 1859. Carina Temple has put away the stifling black crepe demanded by the death of her father – but with it she has also cast aside society’s expectations of what a single young lady should be and do.

When Carina’s uncle summons her to Belgrave Square to inform her that her reputation is ruined, thanks to a certain Lord Danby, he tells her that she must travel to Italy until the gossip recedes and a suitable match can be found for her.

But Italy is a tempestuous place – her grandmother and cousins soon tell her of the fault lines between the states and the dangerous rebels fighting for freedom. Chief among these is Ben Mavrone – and when he and Carina meet, he distrusts her society pedigree, and she considers him a violent extremist.

When trouble comes to Carina’s door, it is Ben who saves her – reluctantly – and as they go on the run, they must learn to understand each other to stay alive.

Meanwhile back in England, Carina’s family has plans for the life Miss Temple should lead – if she ever returns…

An Italian Scandal is based on Cecil Cameron’s own family history and is perfect for fans of the Bridgerton series.

Lady Cecil Cameron OBE grew up on the Scottish border near Jedburgh, daughter of the Marquis and Lady Lothian. Her grandmother came from Naples and is the inspiration behind her writing. Cecil read renaissance history at London University and subsequently worked for Save the Children in Vietnam and the UK. Married to the Chief of Clan Cameron, she was made an OBE in 2002 for services to children.

My thoughts: this was an excellent historical romance, with the backdrop of Sicily’s (and then Italy’s) fight for independence from the Bourbons and the eventual unification of the country. Sent to her maternal grandmother as a punishment, Carina is all set to sulk till her uncle allows her to return to London, but she doesn’t expect to fall for the island and the dashing revolutionary Ben Mavrone.

Over a tempestuous year, Carina will find love, friendship and a new purpose, as well as reconnect with her late mother’s Sicilian family and heritage. She’ll suffer but it makes her stronger and more determined to be part of shaping the country’s future and of being with Ben, whatever it takes.

Sweeping and action packed, Carina is a modern heroine, despite the historical setting, she works as a nurse and then as part of General Garibaldi’s inner circle, riding with his bodyguards, dressed in trousers and red shirt, far from the glamorous gowns of her London life. I loved her aunt Alice, rooting for her from Northumbria, and the band of friends she makes, some of whom were real people, their passion is inspiring.

*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 Shape of Crete – Philip Nemac

Set on the Greek island of Crete, The Shape of Crete is a thrilling drama and passionate love story between a Bulgarian artist, Steffi, and James, an American historian. Rekindling their romance after a separation, Crete’s history of ancient myths and Nazi occupation entwines them in surprise and danger. They meet an Englishman searching for traces of his brother missing since 1943, and a local woman whose father was a partisan war leader; and then, shards of information reveal Steffi’s grandfather fought with the Nazis. Danger lurks when a local thug decides Steffi and Jim’s relationships with the others concerns gold lost in the war. The final tension-driven scenes unfold in a labyrinth-like cave in the spirit of the mythical battle between Theseus and the Minotaur. The unexpected conclusion questions whether love’s best outcome is enlightenment or physical survival.

My thoughts: this was a sad but rather lovely book, the romance between Steffi and Jim was heartwarming and touching, at last they had found the person they were searching for after both being in troubled marriages. There are bumps along the road to happiness, but once settled in a cottage on Crete, where Jim is writing and Steffi paints, they are happy.

Their friendships with Harold Robinson and their landlady, Maria Phindrikalis, are warm and offer rewards of their own. Steffi’s paintings sell in a local gallery and Harold finds a historical link between Steffi’s grandfather, his brother Jim and Maria’s father – a hero of the occupation. This investigation into the past puts the couple and Harold at risk, but was it worth it to learn the truth?

The ending was very sad and it has lingered with me, I so hoped for a better one, where they got the happiness and future they deserved but history has a habit of repeating itself and perhaps Steffi and Harold’s lost relatives were waiting for them in the labyrinth.

*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: Under the Whispering Door – TJ Klune

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

My thoughts: TJ Klune writes books that make me cry, The House in the Cerulean Sea had me in tears and now Under the Whispering Door. Beautiful, moving queer love stories set against odds that seem to be insurmountable. Here Wallace is a ghost, he and Hugo can’t even touch. But they fall in love slowly and surely anyway.

The teashop is something rather magical, something special, and not just because there’s a door to the afterlife in it. The people that live there, even the dead ones, have a wonderful bond and kindness abounds, which helps break Wallace’s walla down. He never really had a family or friends and here at the end of his life he finds both and doesn’t want to leave them. Simply beautiful. Have some tissues handy.

*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 Colour of Rain – John W. Feist

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Welcome to the blog tour for romantic historical fiction novel, The Colour of Rain: A Kansas Courtship in Letters by author John W. Feist. Read on for details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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The Color of Rain

Publication Date: September 1st, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Based on True Events

Publisher: Winter Wheat Press

Separated by a great distance in the 1890s, can a widower and a schoolteacher overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of their love and commitment? John Feist unfolds a true-love story, old-fashioned letter style, in his historical romance novel, The Color of Rain.

Handsome, well-respected local banker, now eligible bachelor, Frank Wilson is nothing less than a hot-ticket item with “the path to [his] home? a pilgrimage for unmarried women bearing casseroles.” He’s not interested in remarriage right away-except for Irene, a schoolteacher living two train connections away. A long-distance courtship commences. The lovers keep to weekly letter-writing since they barely have the chance to see each other, especially when trials and tribulations convolute their individual lives.

“Feist’s rich writing style stitches historical details, providing a seamless flow from letters-writing to narrative sections that capture everyday life’s realities amid unsettling times. A true-love historical romance that will have readers riveted to the page. Highly recommended!” -Chanticleer Reviews, five stars

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Excerpt

Frank could not converse in the carriage Ethan Alton drove behind the green wagon to the railway station for his train home. Frank had brought Allie to the St. Joseph hospital twelve days before she died. Their family doctor had run out of anything meaningful to do or say about whatever it was that put her in bed a week before that. Between visits to her bedside, Frank had talked with the Altons about sickness and mortality until he, too, had run out of meaningful things to say. Today, the Altons did converse but accepted his silence. He looked from one side of the street to the other. A normal day. But the sun-splashed houses, buildings and people he saw were water-colored contrivances not from his world.

The Altons sat with him in the St. Joseph terminal until his train yanked him toward home, toward two sons, their thirty-seven-year-old father now widowed. Their mother would be buried beside two infant siblings in a graveyard which he was later to design as a more formal cemetery. It was now an unshaded patch of hill in the northeastern Kansas town of Horton, founded just ten years before. 

The train crossed the railroad bridge over the Missouri River to the Kansas side and started to speed up its run toward Horton, putting soot into the cloudless sky. The tracks of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway would not pass such a waterway again in their transit of the vast Kansas wheat fields and prairie grasses. But, for the next three hours, Frank’s journey would be only fifty miles across wrinkled hillocks of sorghum, oat and corn fields, and over streams lined with willows and cottonwood trees. Soon farmsteads came into view that he knew by name. He had financed those farmsteads. He was banker to these farmers. Today he saw that his fields of collateral needed rain badly.

Seeing familiar crossroads and steeples brought back thoughts of the girl he fell in love with.  The smile he fell in love with. Allie lived the love commandment. She held a constitutional belief in the goodness of others. She delighted in her encounters with everyone without reservation or exception. Whoever felt her smile felt improved. Frank did so daily. It was not some occasional, wordless expression to signal mood or assent. It was the emblem of her soul.  Her smile was her distinctive song, regular as dawn, constant as breath.

Frank had seen life leave Allie. He had watched the swarm of nurses drift away while he stood stationed at the foot of her bed. A doctor he had never met before declared, unnecessarily, that she had expired. It hurt to hear it. It hurt to smell the still, sultry air. What exactly she died of had not been evident or ever explained. I’ll forever wonder why, he thought. No, please . . . not on the train. He stiffened. His mouth bent downward. He stifled himself. The whistle shrieked.

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About the Author

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John W. Feist is the American author of a series of political thrillers, “Night Rain, Tokyo” (2018), “Blind Trust” (2019), and “Doubt and Debt” (2021), plus a literary novel, “Diamond Mornings” (eLectio Publishing, 2016). He is semiretired from a career in business law in California and government relations advocacy in Washington, D.C. His work experiences planted the seeds for his thrillers with their lawyer-protagonist, observations of Japanese culture, and high-stakes international business deals.

Having inherited from his mother, an Equity actor, a love of drama and literature, Feist has appeared on Washington, D.C.-area stages, and provided live audio descriptions of theatre and opera performances for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He holds a BA in philosophy from the University of Kansas and a JD from Stanford Law School. Feist lives in Falls Church, Virginia. He has two sons and two grandchildren who live in California.

John W. Feist

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