Posted in Blog Tour

The Orphan of cemetery Hill by Hester Fox **Book Review** @harlequinbooks @harperaudio

Happy Monday all!

Are you looking for the perfect book to kick off your fall reading? Then look no further this is the perfect autumn read with all the haunting vibes.👻

My Thoughts

Haunting and atmospheric. Chilling and magical. Beautiful and dark. Hester Fox is a master when it comes to telling gothic historical stories with a touch of the paranormal. Her books are the perfect way to kick off your fall reading, her tales are the perfect blend of all things spooky. Mid 1800s Boston, tabby and her sister Alice escape to the city, away from their aunt and uncle. Unfortunately the sisters are quickly separated and tabby finds herself in a cemetery where she is taken in by the caretaker Eli. The story then jumps forward 12 years and Tabby is still living in the cemetery. Helping Eli with his caretaking duties. This is where she runs into the handsome Caleb, there is a connection the problem is Caleb is engaged. But he cannot seem to stay away especially after his fathers body has been stolen from the cemetery. A string of grave robberies bring Caleb and Tabby even closer together. Strange I know, but what I failed to mention is tabby can speak to the dead.

What I love about Hester Fox’s stories is the paranormal element is very understated. Tabby was a great character I admired her strength and intelligence. I admired her desire to help whenever she could, both the living and the dead. Caleb was a true gentleman perhaps a bit too chivalrous by today’s standards. The mystery to the story was fascinating. What these grave robbers wanted from these bodies was interesting. The audiobook was narrated by lauren Ezzo. Lauren narrates all of Hester’s books and they are the perfect Gothic partnership. Lauren’s voice lends perfectly to the haunting vibe of the story.

This book in emojis. 👻 🌫 ⚰️ 🧿

*** Big thank you to Harlequin & Harper Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

About the Book

The dead won’t bother you if you don’t give them permission. 

Boston, 1844. 

Tabby has a peculiar gift: She can communicate with the recently departed. It makes her special, but it also makes her dangerous. 

As an orphaned child, she fled with her sister, Alice, from their charlatan aunt Bellefonte, who wanted only to exploit Tabby’s gift so she could profit from the recent craze for seances. 

Now a young woman and tragically separated from Alice, Tabby works with her adopted father, Eli, the kind caretaker of a large Boston cemetery. When a series of macabre grave robberies begins to plague the city, Tabby is ensnared in a deadly plot by the perpetrators, known only as the “Resurrection Men”.

In the end, Tabby’s gift will either save both her and the cemetery – or bring about her own destruction.

Excerpt

1

IN WHICH WE MEET OUR YOUNG HEROINE.

Boston, 1844

Tabby’s legs ached and the wind had long since snatched her flimsy bonnet away, but she kept running through the night, her thin leather shoes pounding the cobbled Boston streets. She didn’t know where she was going, only that she had to get somewhere safe, somewhere away from the bustling theaters and crowds of the city. Every time someone shouted at her to watch where she was going, or ask if she was lost, she was sure that they were one of her aunt and uncle’s friends. Would they drag her kicking and screaming back to Amherst? Tabby shuddered. She wouldn’t go back. She couldn’t. 

Her weary feet carried her up a hill lined with narrow houses, and gradually she left behind the streets choked with theatergoers and artificially brightened with gas lamps. After cresting the hill, she paused just long enough to catch her breath and survey her unfamiliar surroundings. 

It was quieter here, the only sounds the groaning of ships in the harbor and the distant call of a fruit hawker trying to sell off the last of the day’s soft apples. Going back down into the heart of the city wasn’t an option, yet a wrought-iron gate blocked her way any farther, forbidding pikes piercing the night sky. Pale headstones glowed faintly in the moonlight beyond the gate. A cemetery. 

Tabby stood teetering, her heart still pounding. Dry weeds rustled in the thin night breeze, whispering what might have been a welcome, or a warning. Behind her was the land of the living with house windows glowing smugly yellow, the promise of families tucked safe inside. In front of her lay the land of the dead. One of those worlds was as familiar to her as the back of her hand, the other was only a distant fairy tale. Taking a deep breath, she shimmied through the gap in the gate. 

She waded through the overgrown grass and weeds, thorny branches snagging at her thin dimity dress and scratching her. Panic gripped her as she heard the hem tear clean away; what would Aunt Bellefonte say if she found that Tabby had ruined her only frock? Would she smack her across her cheek? Would Uncle lock her in the little cupboard in the eaves? Aunt Bellefonte isn’t here. You’re safe, she reminded herself. As she pulled away to free herself, her foot caught in a tangle of roots in a sunken grave bed and she went sprawling into the dirt. Her lip wobbled and tears threatened to overflow. She was almost twelve years old, yet she felt as small and adrift as the day she’d learned that her parents had perished in a carriage accident and would never step through the front door again.

 This wasn’t how her first day of freedom was supposed to be. Her sister, Alice, had planned their escape from Amherst last week, promising Tabby that they would get a little room in a boarding house in the city. Alice would get a job at a laundry and Tabby would take in mending to contribute to their room and board. They would be their own little family, and they would put behind them the trauma that their aunt and uncle had wrought, making a new life for themselves. That had been the plan, anyway. 

When she and Alice had arrived in the city earlier that day, her older sister had sat her down on the steps of a church and told her to wait while she went and inquired about lodgings. Tabby had dutifully waited for what had felt like hours, but Alice never returned. The September evening had turned dark and cold, and Tabby had resolved to simply wrap her shawl tighter and wait. But then a man with red-rimmed eyes and a foul-smelling old coat had stumbled up the steps, heading right toward her. Tabby had taken one look at him and bolted, sure that he had dark designs on her. She had soon become lost and, in a city jumbled with old churches, hadn’t been able to find the right one again. 

Another thorn snagged her, pricking her finger and drawing blood. She should have taken shelter in the church; at least then she would have a roof over her head. At least then Alice would know where to find her when she came back. If she came back. 

Tabby stopped short. Toward the back of the cemetery, amongst the crooked graves of Revolutionary heroes, stood a row of crypts built into the earth. Most of them were sealed up with iron doors and bolts, but one had a gate that stood just enough ajar for a small, malnourished girl to wriggle through. 

Holding her breath against the damp musk, Tabby plunged inside. Without any sort of light, she had to painstakingly feel her way down the crude stone steps. Lower into the earth she descended until she reached the burial chamber.

 Don’t invite them in. As she groped around in the dark for a resting place, Tabby tried to remember what her mother had always told her. Memories of her mother were few and far between, but her words concerning Tabby’s ability remained as sharp in her mind as words etched with a diamond upon glass. The dead won’t bother you if you don’t give them permission, if you don’t make yourself a willing receptacle for their messages. At least, that was how it was supposed to work. 

The only other thing she had learned regarding her gift was that she should never, ever tell anyone of it, and the lesson had been a hard one. She couldn’t have been more than six, because her parents had still been alive and had sent her out to the orchard to collect the fallen apples for cider. Their neighbor, little Beth Bunn, had been there, picking wild asters, but she hadn’t been alone; there was a little boy Tabby had never seen before, watching the girls with serious eyes from a branch in an apple tree. Tabby had asked Beth who he was, but Beth insisted she didn’t know what Tabby was talking about. Certain that Beth was playing some sort of trick on her, Tabby grew upset and nearly started crying as she described the little boy with blond hair and big green eyes. “Oh,” Beth said, looking at her askance. “Do you mean to say you see Ollie Pickett? He used to live here, but he’s been dead for three years.” That was how Tabby learned that not everyone saw the people she saw around her. A week later she had been playing in the churchyard and noticed that all the other children were clustered at the far end, whispering and pointing at her. “Curious Tabby,” they had called her. And that was how Tabby learned that she could never tell a soul about her strange and frightening ability. 

But even in a place so filled with death, the dead did not bother Tabby that night. With a dirt floor for her bed and the skittering of insects for her lullaby, Tabby pulled her knees up to her chest and allowed the tears she’d held in all day to finally pour out. She was lost, scared, and without her sister, utterly alone in the world.

Excerpted from The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox Copyright © Tess Fedore. Published by Graydon House Books.

Posted in Christmas, Cover Reveal

One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson **Cover Reveal** @rararesources

Happy Monday!

No better way to kick off your week then with a charming Christmas cover reveal! Can’t wait to read this myself, will be posting my review on November 2!❄️💋

One Kiss Before Christmas

A gorgeously romantic festive read from the author of A Mistletoe Miracle, guaranteed to warm your heart this Christmas!

Could it be the start of her happy ever after?

Ashleigh could use a little Christmas magic. She’s still living in Brighton with her Nan — who could give the Grinch lessons in how to be miserable — her acting career has been reduced to playing one of Santa’s elves, and not even the prospect of a friend’s winter wedding can cheer her up…

That is until Olivier, the gorgeous French chef, reappears in her life. Or more accurately, next door.

When they were teenagers, Olivier would spend every other Christmas with his mother, who just happens to be Ash’s neighbour and owner of the best chocolate shop in England.

If anyone can bring a little sparkle back to Ash’s life, it’s Olivier. All she needs is one kiss before Christmas…

Feel-good and festive, this is the perfect romance to curl up with this winter!

Pre-order Link – http://bit.ly/OneKissBeforeXmas

Publication Date – 2nd November

Author Bio – Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her latest romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at http://www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor

Posted in Blog Tour

The Wife by Shalini Boland **Book Review** @bookouture

Happy Sunday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this crazy thriller!

My Thoughts Compulsive and fast-paced. Addictive and twisted. This is one of Shalini Bolan’s best! The book starts off with Zoe fainting before her wedding ceremony. The story then jumps forward 10 years Zoe and Toby are happily married with two children planning their 10 year anniversary party. Zoe appears to have a perfect life, but there is still something that nags her about what happened all those years ago. The book bounces between past and present. as the story progresses and the layers are peeled away you learn that Zoe’s life is not as perfect as it seems. Her sister-in-law Madeline is giving her the cold shoulder, her husband Toby is not being completely truthful with her, she keeps thinking she’s glimpsing her long lost sister, and things start to spiral out of control.

This book was packed with secrets, lies, and misdirection. Zoe was a likable character although a bit naïve. There were multiple times in the story I was frustrated with her, I just wanted her to ask the damn questions that needed to be asked! This was a definite addictive page turner. I was completely invested in the story and needing Zoe to find out the truth. The ending was twisted, surprising, and plausible. Another well done thriller from this stellar author.

This book in emojis 👰🏼 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 💇🏻‍♀️ ⛵️ 🏨

*** Big thank you to Bookouture for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

About the Book

Zoe fainted on her wedding day, and she never knew why. She’s always felt sure something bad happened. Ten years later, she’s going to find out what…

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life. Zoe was sitting in her hotel room, in her perfect white dress, looking forward to the moment when she would make kind, handsome Toby her husband.

Then, there was a blank.

They said she must have fainted, overcome with emotion. But nothing felt quite right afterwards. Did something happen in that missing time?

Now, Toby and Zoe have two beautiful children and a perfect life. They’re planning their ten-year anniversary party for their family and friends. The invitations have been sent, the food ordered. They’re going back to the grand hotel where they got married.

But as the anniversary gets closer, it becomes clear not everyone is looking forward to celebrating. Zoe catches Toby lying about where he’s been. One of her best friends seems to be ignoring her. And someone is spreading stories that might stop the party from happening at all.

Zoe is increasingly sure that she doesn’t have the full story. But does she want to know the truth, if it will destroy everything?

From the million-copy bestselling author, this totally gripping psychological thriller will have you hooked from the first page to the last jaw-dropping twist. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl and The Wife Between Us.  

About the Author

Shalini lives by the sea in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and sorting endless baskets of laundry).
Buy Links:
Posted in Blog Tour

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman **Book Review** @rararesources

Happy weekend all!

Is it ever too early for Christmas books? This book got me in the holiday mood even though it’s 100° out and the skies are filled with smoke.🧝🏻‍♀️

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds in this perfect festive escape, from the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.  

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secrets, log fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft. 

My Thoughts

Secrets and Santa. Lucy Coleman’s heartwarming storytelling transports you into the lives of her charming characters. Immi has lost both her parents and goes to live with her beloved grandfather Tully in a small Scottish Village. The community welcomes Immi with open arms. Now it is Christmas and Immi is the perfect elf to her grandfather’s Santa on festive boat cruises. Immi is determined to bring festive cheer to the entire community which leads to chaos and questions. Loved this story and all the colorful characters. I might have found the story a bit more magical if we weren’t in the middle of a heat wave and the sky wasn’t filled with smoke, but it was nice to be whisked away to a winter wonderland. A festive holiday story sprinkled with romance, friendship, and mistletoe.

This book in emojis 🎅🏻 🧝🏻‍♀️ ❄️ 🎄

*** Big thank you to Boldwood Books for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Author Bio –

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor/

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

Posted in Blog Tour

THESE VENGEFUL HEARTS by Katherine Laurin **Book Review** @inkyardpress @harlequinbooks

Happy Wednesday all!

If you liked the movie MEAN GIRLS, then you will like this book!♥️

My Thoughts

A fun quick read. An entertaining story with a Mean Girls vibe. Ember is a smart, successful, well rounded, sophomore on a mission. She is determined to become part of the Red Court, A secret society of girls at her high school who pulled the strings and rule the school. Want to insure your girlfriend is going to be homecoming queen? Or that cute boy you have a crush on finally breaks up with his girlfriend? The Red Court can make it happen. BUT be careful once they help you out you owe them. Ember’s hope is to infiltrate the court and bring it down, this is all about revenge. Several years ago when her older sister April was at the school she was involved in an accident caused by the mysterious and powerful RED COURT.

This was an engaging story, however I would not classify it as a thriller. Ember was a very likable character and even though she got a little caught up in the power she never got too crazy. I also really liked her BFF Gideon and her crush Chase. The story was slightly predictable and I wasn’t riveted, but it was an enjoyable read. I think this would be the perfect story for someone in middle school or just about to start high school. The story gives you a lot to think about and it’s pretty rated G. Ember is a good person who gets caught up in a bad situation, and the use of the playing cards in the story was fun.

This book in emojis ♥️ 📸 🗳 🎨 🏃🏻‍♀️ ☕️

*** Big thank you to Ink Yard Press/Harlequin for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

About the Book

A thrilling novel about a secret society and the dangers that lie in wait for anyone brave enough to join – perfect for fans of Karen M. McManus, Kara Thomas, and Maureen Johnson.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities known only by their leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Now, she’s determined to hold the organization accountable by taking it down from the inside. But will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?


Posted in Blog Tour

Return to Cornwall by Laura Briggs **Book Review** @rararesources

Happy Sunday all! I love Laura Briggs, I love Cornwall, and I love this book!💕

Return to Cornwall

The sequel novel to the best-selling UK series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL brings new surprises, romance, humor, and wedding bells, to readers who fell in love with the first stories.

Busy mother of two Julianne Rose has extended her talents beyond the manor house, opening her own event planning agency with the help of no-nonsense best friend Kitty. Balancing the chaos of daily life with their respective careers in their beloved Cornish village means Julianne can rarely snatch a romantic moment with handsome husband Matt. And just when it seems things couldn’t get any more chaotic, a sudden arrival at Cliffs House lands Julianne in the most unusual event of her career.

The reappearance of Percy or ‘the old earl’ after years of adventures abroad has temporarily shocked Lord William and Lady Amanda and set the entire village abuzz with gossip. Grizzled, spry, and delightfully eccentric, he’s returned with a most unusual set of traveling companions: an archaeological team digging in a spot whispered to have ties with the legendary Camelot. But it’s Percy’s ties with a certain charming woman among its team that has everyone taken by surprise, along with the news of their soon-to-be nuptials.

Tasked with planning the big day, Julianne and Kitty spring at this opportunity despite its rushed timeline and their own woes regarding the renovation of their future event space. But as the big day rolls closer for the earl and his bride-to-be – with cakes and wedding flowers competing with pottery shards and an ancient warrior chieftain’s grave for attention — are there still surprising revelations to come?

Adding to the excitement is the return of former Cliffs House maid Gemma, whose posh new life as a novelist may not be all it seems … and Dinah visits in a flurry of festive baking for a holiday competition on everyone’s favorite baking show. Kitty’s life is in a tizz regarding both family and secrets … and Julianne’s happy marriage is challenged by an unwelcome sexy-and-persistent suitor among the summer visitors.

Filled with old friends, new adventures, and heartwarming Cornish charm, RETURN TO CORNWALL is an all-new, full-length novel—the first one ever to feature the characters from the original series!

My Thoughts

Love Laura Briggs! Love Cornwall! Love this book! In case you missed it I am a huge fan of this author. Her characters and settings just completely resonate with me. I love the charm, Whimzy, and heart of her storytelling. This is a follow up story to her hugely popular novella series A Wedding in Cornwall. Admittedly I did not read all of those books (I know, I know), but I still thoroughly appreciated this book. Julianne and Matt have been married for some time now and have two adorable kids. But the honeymoon is definitely over and it is time to navigate real life. Julianne and bestie Kitty have started an event planning business. Toss in an eccentric Percy, an archaeological dig, A colorful cast of characters, a rush wedding and you’ve got yourself one heck of a story!

I had such a delightful time reading this book. Julianne was such a great character. I loved Matt and her marriage, it’s nice to see a book about an established marriage. Not only the good but the ugly as well. Also loved everything about the event planning business, and the friendship between Julianne and Kitty. There’s something about wedding planning I love to read about even though I never planned my own wedding (I got married at a courthouse and guess what divorced at that same courthouse, LOL). Grandpa Percy was the definite highlight of the story I loved his energy and quirk. Another fun filled story from one of my favorite authors.

Purchase Link – https://smarturl.it/returntocornwall

Author Bio –

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Social Media Links –

Author Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1JjeMoI

Author Twitter: http://bit.ly/1ME9ivJ

Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Return to Cornwall by Laura Briggs (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 for fulfilment 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494389/?

Posted in Blog Tour

Never Say No by Elizabeth Neep **Book Review** @bookouture

Happy weekend all!

Well it is HOT here! Yesterday it was 116°F and it is supposed to be hotter tomorrow? It’s enough already! When is it going to be 2021?🐶🙃

My Thoughts

An engaging story with a Devil Wears Prada vibe. Elizabeth Neep once again completely entertained me with her fabulous storytelling. Hailey has just made a major life move. She is starting a new job at a top law firm with the only and first female partner at the firm, Vivian. Wanting to make a good impression Hailey is willing to do everything and anything, even if that includes a whole lot of nothing except fetching coffee. Then one day Hailey finds her boss in a compromising position and soon thereafter she is Vivian‘s right hand woman. But success at work leads to sacrifice of her personal life. Her long time boyfriend Dom and best friend Sophie are patient and supportive. BUT hailey starts to push things a little too far as she begins to wonder if she wants more out of life? But is the grass really greener on the other side of the boardroom?

What a treat this book was! Loved Hailey and loved hating Vivian. Hailey was so conflicted about what she wanted out of life, so trapped by the need to please everyone. Dom and Sophie were great characters so supportive. It was interesting watching Hailey’s inner conflict between the shiny and new and the old and comfortable. My only small complaint with the book is I wish Dom were better developed as a character. I really got that he was a good guy and cared for Hailey but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more depth to his personality. This wasn’t the story I was anticipating when I started this book, what I got was so much more!

This book in emojis 👩🏻‍💼 ☕️ 🍾 👠 💍

*** Big thank you to Bookouture for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

About the Book

It’s always been yes. Yes, I’ll be your friend. Yes, I’ll be your girlfriend. Yes, I’ll move in with you. Yes, yes, yes. I can’t just change my mind now. Can I?

Hailey has always been told she can have it all. And saying yes to every opportunity that comes her way seems like the obvious way to make sure she gets it.

When she finds an engagement ring hidden in her boyfriend Dom’s closet, she knows she’ll say yes.

Her best friend Sophie suggests they run a marathon together and although Hailey hasn’t done more than sprint for a bus in years, she says yes.

And every time her new boss, the infamous Vivian Jones, asks her to stay late (again) at her dream job, the answer is always yes.

But somewhere between saying ‘yes’ to Vivian’s latest demands and still trying to make it home on time for boxsets and burritos on the sofa with Dom, Hailey has lost sight of what she really wanted in the first place.

Far from winning at life, Hailey feels like she is fighting to juggle two very different worlds. When those worlds finally collide, could having it all actually mean losing everything?

Fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Holly Bourne and The Devil Wears Prada will adore this funny, heart-felt and honest look at navigating those moments in life where you reach a crossroads and have to decide who and what it is you want to be.  

Elizabeth Neep was born in 1990 in Derbyshire and now lives in London Bridge. After studying Law at the University of Nottingham and the University of New South Wales, she worked in magazine journalism, most noticeably writing for Dazed and Confused and PETRIe. Elizabeth now works as a non-fiction Senior Commissioning Editor and writes and paints in her spare time. 

Posted in Blog Tour

My Travels With A Dead Man by Steve Searl **Excerpt** @rararesources

Happy weekend all!

I am loving this title! Do you ever judge a book by its title?

My Travels With a Dead Man

Jane Takako Wolfsheim learns she can alter time and space after meeting a charismatic stranger named Jorge Luis Borges.

Inextricably she falls for Borges. Soon, however Borges’ lies and emotional abuse, and nightmares about a demonic figure, “the man in black,” nearly drive Jane mad. After her parents are murdered, Jane flees with Borges. Both the ghost of haiku master, Basho, and the Daibutsu of Kamakura, a statue of Buddha that appears in her dreams, offer her cryptic advice. Unable to trust anyone, Jane must find the strength to save herself, her unborn child, and possibly the future of humanity.

Purchase Links

My Travels With a Dead Man

https://www.blackrosewriting.com/scififantasy/mytravelswithadeadman

Author Bio –

Steve Searls retired from the practice of law in 2002 due to a rare chronic autoimmune disorder (Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Cell Associated Periodic Syndrome). He began writing poetry in 2001 and, using the pseudonym, Tara Birch, was the featured poet of Tryst Poetry Journal’s Premiere Issue. He’s also published numerous poems as Tara Birch in print and online, including the poetry chapbook, Carrots and Bleu Cheese Dip, in 2004.  Steve was also active as a blogger posting under the name, Steven D, at Daily Kos (2005-2017), Booman Tribune (2005-2017) and caucus99percent (2016–present). Steve’s published essays on Medium include “Clara’s Miracle,” about his wife’s cancer and resulting traumatic brain injury from chemotherapy, and “My Rape Story.” Raised in Colorado, he now lives with his adult son in Western NY.  My Travels With a Dead Man is his first novel.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SteveSearlsAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenDBT

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steve_searls/

Excerpt

Context: After Jane inexplicably falls in love with Borges they travel to Japan for a vacation. To fulfill a promise to her dead grandmother, Jane has convinced Borges to visit Kamakura to see the famous bronze statue of the Buddha, also known as the Daibutsu.

* * *

We were at the temple of the Great Buddha in Kamakura, and I felt hypnotized.  No, that’s not the right word, but how can I sum up in just one verb what I felt that day seeing the Daibutsu, that massive cast bronze statue of the Amida Buddha, above us on his stone dais?  

The sun was often absent. Rain clouds passed over every few minutes, threatening showers, but failed to deliver on their promises. Yet had a thunderstorm broken out, I wouldn’t have noticed. One would think the shadows, cast by those clouds, would have darkened the glow emanating from its cracked, green tarnished metal skin. Instead, they enhanced the feeling that a living–spirit?–lurked behind the two slits that represented the Great Buddha’s eyes. As I stood there in that plaza, rimmed by the surrounding hills and uncounted trees waving in the swirling breeze, those eyes pierced me to my core. A fearsome intelligence lay behind them that held me rapt by its gentle manner and calm omniscience.

Borges rambled on, lecturing me, as was his wont.  He described the many scenes in which the Daibutsu appeared in Ozu’s films. In addition, he couldn’t help speaking to me of the history of the Kamakura period, when the Emperor lost his power to a famous samurai warlord who established his capitol at the base of this small peninsula below modern day Yokohama.

My Borges loved to lecture, and most of the time I humored him. Displaying polite, if not obsequious, respect for men was drilled into me at an early age by my Japanese mother. But under the gaze of the Daibutsu, the Great Buddha, I could not endure his prattle.  Over the course of my life, my parents took me to see many famous statues and monuments, including Michelangelo’s David and Christ the Redeemer, which towers over Rio de Janeiro, but none ever affected me as deeply as the Great Buddha of Kamakura.  It was more alive than any living being I ever encountered. Its élan vital immersed me in its embrace. I was awestruck.

“Erected in 1255,” Borges droned on, “to promote the sect of Pure Land Buddhism and create a shrine to attract pilgrims and other devotees, at almost 45 feet in height, it is the second largest Buddha in all of Japan, and the largest bronze cast Buddha in the world outside of China.  A great tsunami destroyed the outer temple in the year–say, are you paying attention to me?” 

“Oh shut up!” I said.  “Just let me enjoy this.” At that moment, I only wished to stay by the Great Buddha forever and bask in its meditative gaze, entranced by the indescribable emotions it evoked.  Borges’ interruption broke the spell.  He walked away in a bad mood, sulking, refusing to speak to me for a good half-hour, though he would have said he left out of respect for my privacy. My Borges could be such an ass, but then, what man isn’t?

I sat on a bench near the Daibutsu while he stalked about, taking photographs with his digital camera.  At one point, a group of Japanese middle school girls, all decked out in their traditional apparel–white blouses, knee length navy blue skirts and red scarves or neckties (the one fashion accessory allowed them)–descended upon the plaza en masse.  They didn’t give the Daibutsu a second look, more interested in talking among themselves, while their teacher went off to purchase tickets for a tour of the Daibutsu’s hollow interior.  More restrained than American children of the same age, their conversations never rose above the level of high-pitched humming, like the sound of honey bees near a hive.   

That changed when a couple appeared with their three-year old toddler in tow. The father, a slender, classic-looking WASP, taller than Borges, carried the boy on his shoulders, while the mother, who appeared Japanese and stood a foot shorter than her husband, described the scene to him.  They spoke English with a Midwestern American accent. 

At once, the schoolgirls, like flies drawn to an open can of Coke, surrounded them, chatting and pointing at the child, who seemed to take their interest in him as his rightful due.  The mother spoke Japanese to them. After a while, she said something to the father. With a great sigh of relief, he raised the boy over his head and set him down among the mass of young girls. Delighted, they erupted in excited outbursts, passing the little boy among themselves as he whirled around and shouted with glee like a miniature dervish. They kept repeating over and over a single word while they giggled, placing hands over their mouths as they did so: “kawaii,” meaning “cute,” though the true definition’s far more nuanced.

The little boy cavorted about the square, surrounded by his admirers. The girls’ movements resembled a flock of birds twisting through the sky on a summer day.  As for the boy’s parents, the woman slumped against the man, who endured her weight like a true stoic.  She kept her eyes trained on her son, but the man looked at the Great Buddha, transfixed, the only other person there as enchanted with it as I.  

Suddenly, I noticed Borges’ absence, and for a moment, feared he deserted me. I almost went in search of him, until I noticed Borges weaving his way through the schoolgirls, his upraised hands holding two cups of macha, a tea flavored ice cream I cherished. He smiled as he approached, handing me one as a peace offering. We sat on the steps and ate our treats, watching the children.  When the teacher arrived with the tickets, the boy’s parents reclaimed him.  The father picked up his son, now much less energetic, and put him back on his shoulders.  The boy rested his head atop his father’s, using his chubby arms to reach around and grab the man’s neck.  With a little sigh, he closed his eyes.

Posted in Blog Tour

Strictly Come Dating by Kathryn Freeman **Book Review** @rararesources @onemorechapter

Happy Saturday all!

This was such a great book! Made me want to rumba!💃🏼

Strictly Come Dating

Saturday nights are strictly for dancing… 

As the glitter ball shimmers and sequins flash, forty-year-old Maggie remembers the pull of the dancefloor.  But now, as a newly divorced mum of two, Maggie’s certain her dancing days are over.  Or are they…?

Encouraged by her friends, Maggie dusts off her silver stilettoes and enrols for dancing classes, all she needs now is the perfect partner.

Enter Seb.  Young, carefree and hot as hell, Seb is definitely a perfect 10!  Even though everything about him is outrageously inappropriate! But as Seb sweeps her across the dancefloor every week, Maggie begins to see a new side to him; kind, caring, funny, strong. 

And Maggie realises that he’s the only one she’d like to foxtrot with…perhaps even forever

My Thoughts

What fun! This was hands-down my favorite book from Kathryn Freeman so far! Maggie is a 37-year-old single mother of two little girls. Her fairly recent divorce did a lot to damage her self-worth. Every Saturday she gets together with her Besties to watch Strictly Come Dancing. Maggie has always had a passion for dance, but her ex-husband was certain to put the kibosh on that. One Saturday her best friends’ younger brother Seb shows up and there is an instant chemistry between Maggie and him. But Maggie it’s determined to resist his charms. Not only is he 10 years younger than her, her best friends’ brother, but he also has wanderlust, never stain too long in any one place.

This was a definite slow burn romance, but I loved every minute of it. Maggie was such a likable authentic character that I think most women over the age of 35 will find tremendously relatable. Seb was such a great guy he had so much spirit, energy, and heart. I appreciated that these two took things slowly, especially because there were kids involved. That really was my favorite part of the story Seb’s interactions with Maggie’s girls Tabby and Penny. I also had fun with all the dancing and the competition. This was an uplifting feel good romance that made me all warm and gooey inside.

This book in emojis 💃🏼 👩‍👧‍👧 🛷 🎢

*** Big thank you to One Mlre Chapter for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

Purchase Links

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087M1SMCP

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083W3RMW4

Author Bio –

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

I’ve two sons and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), so any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links –

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Posted in Blog Tour

A Year at Appleyard Farm by Emma Davies **Book Review** @bookouture

Happy Friday all!

What’s your favorite season? Well no matter what it is, this book covers them all!🍂

My Thoughts

Four seasons of fabulous stories. Emma Davies has seamlessly spun together four heartwarming tales. Winter brings us Freya, mistletoe, magic, and second chances. Spring brings us Mary, curses, inspiration, and new beginnings. Summer brings us Willow, ice cream, premonitions, and change. Autumn brings us Laura, flowers, weddings, and new love. Four delightful stories bound together by delightful characters and a charming apple farm.

Freya really was the thread that held all the stories together and I really liked her as a character. The setting of this small town and this gorgeous apple farm was perfect. I generally don’t like short stories/Novellas but I liked how these were all woven together. Freya, Mary, Willow, and Laura were all smart strong spunky women we would all love for a friend. All the colorful side characters added so much texture to the stories. There were also lots of yummy treats in the story. I especially loved Willow’s ice cream, I am seriously craving some right now. A lovely story for all seasons.

This book in emojis 🎄 🍎 🖌 👶🏼 🍨 🍓 💐 🐕‍🦺

*** Big thank you to Bookouture for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

About the Book

Down a winding lane lined with strawberry trees and wildflowers lies Appleyard Farm, a beautiful orchard in the English countryside. And in a little farmhouse in the furthest corner, a young woman has a difficult decision to make…

 

Life on Appleyard Farm is all Freya Sherbourne has ever known. Having spent her childhood playing in the emerald green meadows and berry picking until sunset, Freya intends to call the farmhouse home forever. But when her father suddenly passes away and Appleyard Farm goes up for sale, Freya’s world comes crashing down.

 

Holding back the tears, she starts packing boxes while waiting for a buyer. Now the river no longer sparkles, and the apples taste a little less sweet. Until Freya learns the exciting news that her best friends Merry and Willow are moving nearby to open a local shop. And when someone from her past re-emerges, handsomer than ever and offering to mend the cracks in her broken heart, Freya’s eyes begin to twinkle once again.

 

But falling in love is scary, especially when you don’t know what the future holds. And when Freya discovers that her new love has been keeping a secret, one that threatens both their fragile relationship and the farm, she risks losing everything.

 

With the clock ticking, will Freya choose to follow her heart or save the farm? Or can she find a way to do both?

 

Told in four parts, this is a gorgeous story about love, friendship and new beginnings. Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson should grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and prepare to be carried away!

 

A Year at Appleyard Farm was previously published as four short stories: Merry MistletoeSpring Fever, Gooseberry Fool, and Blackberry Way.

  

About the Author 

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

 

Author Social Media Links: 


Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor / https://twitter.com/EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her): https://www.facebook.com/emmadaviesauthor/