Monday, 31 August 2020

New Release Spotlight: Killing The Story by Joan Livingston

Killing the Story by Joan Livingston

An accidental death that was no accident…
For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.
Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?
That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.
A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.
Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.
Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.
Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?
Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series

Amazon UK           Amazon US  

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Killing the Story, published by Darkstroke Books, is the fourth in her Isabel Long Mystery Series, featuring a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. solving cold cases in rural New England.
She draws upon her own experience as a longtime journalist in Massachusetts and New Mexico to create Isabel Long, a sassy, savvy widow who uses the skills she acquired in the business to solve what appears to be impossible cases. She also relies on her deep knowledge of rural Western Massachusetts, where she lives, to create realistic characters and settings — from country bars (where Isabel works part-time) to a general store’s backroom where gossipy old men meet.
She credits her mother, Algerina — the inspiration for Maria, Isabel Long’s ‘Watson’ — for instilling in her a love of reading and the power of the written word.
Twitter: @joanlivingston 

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Publication Day Push with an Extract: The Return of the Disappearing Duke by Lara Temple

The Return of the Disappearing Duke

A scarred mercenary…Or the Disappearing Duke of Greybourne?

Rafe has spent years running from his true identity. He’s a lone wolf, living far from aristocratic England and his violent father. Then unconventional Cleopatra Osbourne requests his protection as she crosses the Egyptian desert. In Cleo he discovers a fellow outcast—and a fierce desire! Cleo must return to London, and here lies Rafe’s dilemma—because following his heart means claiming the title he’s avoided for so long!

Amazon US paperback:

While searching Cairo for her brother, Cleo saves Rafe from an assassin’s knife. In these scene they’ve made it back to their lodgings and Rafe is trying to distract her from what had nearly happened.
They ate in silence until Rafe spoke again.
Thank you, Cleo.’ His voice was low, resonant, like the rush of the Nile against the felucca's hull.
For what?’
He leaned back, the cane chair protesting.
I should have thanked you properly. For coming to my aid.’
I’m certain you would have managed.’
He shook his head.
Anyone can die, Cleo. I’ve seen skilled men make the most foolish mistakes. You should take credit where it is due.’
I don’t want to.’
I know. And that is a bad sign. You can’t go around believing I’m infallible. Until we get you safely on your way to England you need to remain alert.’
I was alert. That is why you are sitting across from me and not dead or being stitched by a Cairene surgeon, which is not a fate I would wish on my worst enemy.’
He grinned and tapped the table with his palm.
That’s better. Moping does not suit you.’
I was not moping!’
Blue as a witch’s…never mind. I keep forgetting you are a lady.’
And I keep forgetting you’re a grown man.’
Excellent. Now throw something at me.’
Ladies do not throw things,’ she snapped.
They damned well do. They can’t easily throw a punch at me like a man might when riled. Though, like you right now, they might wish to. And my ragged face discourages slapping, so I’ve had the odd plate or tankard tossed at me. Go ahead if it will make you feel better.’
Breaking something merely because one is angry is childish and serves no purpose.’
Says someone who’s never done it. And you’re frightened, not angry.’
How precisely would breaking something alleviate fear?’
I didn’t say it would.’
Then why are you telling me to break something?’ Her voice was rising, shedding all pretence at calm.
To distract you. It’s working, too.’
You. Are. Infuriating!She ground her teeth, thumping her fists on the table. Part of her knew his object was not merely to distract her, but to break the strange tension that was binding them and that made her even angrier. She didn’t want him to be flippant now, not when she was still shaking inwardly. She wanted something completely different and he knew that and that was precisely why he was trying to make her angry. Well, he’d succeeded.
If her plate had not still been half full of Birdie’s stew, she might have succumbed and done just what he suggested. Smashed, shattered, razed, crushed it into tiny bits and stomped on them until they were dust. Until fear and need and confusion were consumed in the fireball of her fury. Until she was free of everything, including the most impossible man she’d ever met.

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual Regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. She lives with her husband, two children, and one very fluffy dog and they are all very understanding about her taking over the kitchen table so she can look out over the garden as she writes and dreams up her Happy Ever Afters.

Amazon author page US:
Amazon author page UK:
Facebook Author Page:

Giveaway to Win 3 x E-copies of The Return of the Disappearing Duke (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.

Friday, 28 August 2020

New Book Release Spotlight & Author Q&A: Blooms of War by Suzanne Tierney

Blooms of War by Suzanne Tierney

As part of today's spotlight on the newly published novel, Blooms of War, I asked the author, Suzanne Tierney, five questions. Here they are along with her answers.

Q. We're currently in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. What five things are helping to improve your quality of life at this difficult time?
  1. I have the luxury of living near the beach. So I walk as much as I can. Sometimes it’s just a half-hour. Sometimes it’s hours. The fresh air, the drama of the sea and sky, the motion of the water, the striking of sunlight on sand, all of it is healing and inspiring and grounding.
  1. Since I can’t see most of my friends, we make an effort to Zoom or do text chats. Sometimes, there are things you are willing to admit or share on a text chat that you’d be embarrassed to say aloud to a group. And on text chat, your friends come together and buoy you up with encouragement and no judgment. It’s rather lovely. That said, I still look forward to seeing them in person and sharing a bottle of wine.
  1. Reading poetry. The world is very noisy right now. We’re constantly interrupted by news and the news is never positive. Everything is in flux. It’s hard to make decisions – do I send the children to school? Do I let my in-laws visit or make them quarantine for two weeks? Do I take my dog to the park? Do I have enough paper towels? Am I prepared for the worst case scenario? Is this the worst case scenario? Is it going to get worse?
But in all that noise, there are words and poetry is sharply written, short, digestible, utterly gorgeous. It hits all the emotions and inspires me.

  1. Cooking. Who isn’t cooking right now? The Covid Fifteen is a real phenomenon and I am certainly living proof of the extra weight. But cooking is an act of nurturing and in preparing food, we nurture ourselves and those we are close to. I am lucky to have an active household of children, husband, and pets. And everyone (even the dog—he’s an excellent food tester and thief) has gotten into trying new recipes, working together in the kitchen, debating whether something needs more salt or if we should make strawberry ice cream or lemon sorbet (the answer is always lemon sorbet).
  1. Write. All of that anxiety and emotion has to go somewhere, right? Why not on the page?

Q. Do you have pets, if so, what?

We have a gorgeous, lazy, vain, loving goldendoodle. His name is Total. He was named after a polar bear detective in the children’s series Timmy Failure. I sometimes dress him in hats and put him on Instagram. I worship this dog.

Q. Who in the writing world is your greatest influence?

Gosh, that is an incredibly hard question! Just one???? I think I will go with Jane Austen. You cant’ go wrong with Austen can you? She was keenly observant. She noticed and wrote about the tiny details that reflected so much about a person. She was a romantic. Who doesn’t melt at Captain Wentworth’s “You pierce my soul. I am half agony…” Doesn’t the line just make your heart hurt? And while there are scoundrels aplenty in her books, no one is truly evil. People are flawed. But they are also often kind.

Q. Describe your perfect day.

A perfect day would start with 8 hours of solid sleep. This, however, is rarely possible, so I will amend to say, a perfect day would start with a cup of coffee.

The day would continue to be perfect if there was time to walk in brisk air that smelled of autumn (can someone please make an air freshener that smells like golden leaves and foggy days?).

From there, a chat with a friend, some laughs with my family, the discovery of a good song, a few hours writing, a small moment that makes me pause and remember something beautiful from childhood, an act or ten of kindness towards others (even if it’s reaching on my tiptoes to grab that roll of paper towels the elderly woman next to me cant’t quite get to). Ending the day feeling like there is good in the world, feeling connected, feeling that I have made the place a tiny bit better, that I have lived up to my potential, that I have given love and made others feel happy and connected…

Rinse. Repeat. Pretty please.

Q. What project are you working on currently?

I am writing the second book in Blooms of War, which will tell the story of EyePatch (the hero’s brother) and Charles (Dorothy Charles) as they try to capture the leader of the espionage ring while trying not to fall in love.

After that, I’m planning a three book series about three English sisters who are exiled to Taiwan after WW2. I hope that it requires some travel research. I hope the world has opened up so that we may again travel without fear.

Thank you so much for hosting me on Ellesea Loves Reading! I enjoyed sharing the oddities of my life and I hope that you and your blog followers stay healthy, happy, and connected during Covid-19. We will get through this. 

In war, she fell in love.
Vera Betts shouldn’t be falling in love with the enigmatic doctor she suspects of espionage. Reeling from her family’s betrayal, she’s faked her nursing credentials, invented a new name, and run away to the frontlines of the French battlefield. Four years into the Great War and she knows who she is and what she’s meant for—to save the living and sit vigil by the dying. When the cagey-yet-earnest Dr. Nicholas Wallace arrives, so do mysterious explosions destroying hospitals. Even as Nick raises her suspicions, he lowers her defenses. He wants the war to end. Are his acts of sabotage politically motivated or a desperate attempt at peace?

In peace, she fell apart.
A year later, Vera is back with her oppressive family, living under her real name, and Nick is on trial for murder. Trapped in grief and guilt, she cannot speak about the past and does not believe in the future. With Nick refusing to defend himself, she ventures to London to understand why he is so willing to embrace the hangman’s noose. Who is he trying to protect? What secrets does he plan to carry to his grave? And why does Nick insist upon hiding her true identity? To save the man she loves, Vera must tear open the past and confront the tragic price for peace.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

Writer of lush, historical happily-ever-after tales, Suzanne Tierney believes in true love. But she takes delicious pleasure in making her characters fight, flutter, and find their way to each other. Her books have won numerous awards and she has twice been a Golden Heart Finalist® with the Romance Writers of America.
Suzanne grew up in Oregon, adulted in the San Francisco Bay Area, and somehow ended up in Florida, where she is very much a cold-water fish learning to navigate humid, salty seas. She loves chatting with readers.

Instagram: @notajaxgirl
Twitter: @notajaxgirl

Giveaway - 3 Winners each win a Donation of $15 to designated winner’s choice of frontline healthcare worker organization in the name of the designated winner – for example it could be the American Red Cross; etc. (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.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Publication Day Push and Review: Under A Siena Sun by T.A. Williams

Under a Siena Sun by T.A. Williams

Lucy needed a change of scene. She didn’t expect the change of a lifetime.
Doctors Without Borders has been Lucy Young’s life for the past four years. After being rescued from a conflict zone, she’s making a change from saving lives under gunfire to practising medicine in safe, serene Siena.
Now treating wealthy patients at a private clinic, she's never felt less comfortable. She’s used to helping those in dire need – not those in need of a nip and tuck. Her turmoil grows when she encounters injured tennis star David Lorenzo, whose smiles make Lucy forget her aversion to the rich.
She’s soon falling for the sportsman but is she losing herself in this world of excess? All she’s ever wanted was to help the underprivileged, so can her future lie in Siena at the clinic – with David?
This sunny romance is the perfect summer escape for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.

This is the second novel I've read by T.A.Williams and again I'm blown away by the descriptive narrative and the gorgeous Italian backdrop.

After her dramatic rescue from her medical clinic base in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lucy Young's relief to be safe and sound is palpable. As a busy doctor, she badly needed a holiday after her gruelling workload in DRC, but knew it would only take a few days before she'd get itchy feet again. After visiting her parents in the UK, she flew to Tuscany to attend her friend's wedding. Meeting up with her childhood friends leads to an unexpected job offer. The position conflicts with her personal views but she acknowledges it would allow her to fulfil some personal goals. After much soul-searching she accepts the job and buys a home, only to discover she's already met her mysterious neighbour… 

The author has a wonderful way of incorporating enticing descriptions of the featured locations as well as introducing us to dynamic and intelligent protagonists. As a doctor who has worked for Medicin Sans Frontieres for many years, Lucy is both passionate and compassionate about her work and the patients she treats. In comparison, David Lorenzo has earned millions as a professional tennis player, who is struggling to accept his injuries can't heal sufficiently to resume his career. For two people from differing backgrounds and unlike views of the world, I enjoyed how they interacted to find common ground and how both had to compromise to find a solution to keep their relationship intact.

The secondary characters surrounding Lucy and David add to the ambience of Siena and the surrounding Tuscan countryside as does the inclusion of the mouthwatering meals and drinks enjoyed by them all. Boris the black Labrador and his numerous siblings are an adorable inclusion and highlight how animals are an invaluable asset in forging friendships between their owners….eh, humans!

Overall, Under A Siena Sun is a delightful novel allowing the reader to escape to a beautiful part of the world. If you enjoy reading thought-provoking romances between intriguing characters, you'll love this and other books written by T.A. Williams.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Canelo via NetGalley***

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Book Blog Tour Stop & Extract: Tipping Point by Emily Benet

Tipping Point by Emily Benet

The sun ... the ocean ... the farmhouse ... the scammer... the police... the 3-legged dog?

George and Ellen have retired to sunny Mallorca. Social butterfly Ellen is itching to make yacht-owning friends while George's heart is set on a secluded farmhouse in the country. In fact, now that they're no longer living busy London lives, they're beginning to realise they have very different ideas of happiness.

Private investigator Salva specialises in cases of adultery. That's why it's particularly embarrassing that he didn't realise his long-term girlfriend has been cheating on him. He has no time to nurse a broken heart, since his family are the victims of a property scam they urgently need him to solve.

Robyn Chase is giving talks on her self-help book, No More Toxic Relationships - 7 Years, 7 Lessons. She's finding it awkward being a relationship guru when her own boyfriend is avoiding her.

The sun is shining in Mallorca and everything looks beautiful. But the residents of one particular apartment block are about to discover it all might be too good to be true.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

Extract from Tipping Point by Emily Benet
Is Happiness a choice?
The sun may be shining in Mallorca, but Salva is in a dark mood. He's a private investigator specialising in adultery who failed to notice his girlfriend was cheating on him. To make matters worse his family has landed a fresh problem on his doorstep. The villa they booked doesn't appear to exist. They want him to stop nursing his wounds and track down the scammer. Salva is hiding down by the pool when he bumps into speaker Robyn Chase, who gives him a taste of her no-nonsense coaching style. Is happiness a choice? Robyn sounds so confident he's taken in by her. Of course, he has no inkling that the relationship guru is hiding her own set of relationship problems.
She dropped her towel on the nearest sun lounger.
How are you feeling today?” she asked.
It was a pointed question. She saw straight through him. He should tell her he was fine and let her get on with enjoying her afternoon.
You don’t want to know,” he said, instead.
She raised her eyebrows and let out the lightest of laughs. “I see.”
Her amusement irritated him and he felt a need to clarify. “I’m angry.”
That’s good.”
Had she misheard? “How is that good?”
Anger is healthier than some other emotions, like self-pity, sadness…”
Can’t I feel more than one at a time?”
She was facing the pool, her hands on her hips, but turned back to look at him.
You can choose to feel as many as you like…”
He did feel sad, didn’t he? And if he felt sorry for himself, he was fully justified. Sonia had robbed him of everything. She had lied and cheated and ruined everything he held dear.
“…but why not choose to feel happy?”
She lowered herself down on to the side of the pool nearby, her angular shoulders hunched slightly as her palms pressed against the stone tiles. She had a delicate butterfly tattoo on the base of her neck, looking as though it had just come in to land. When she pushed her hair back, he could no longer see it.
He blinked, suddenly realising what she’d said.
It’s not that easy! You don’t know what happened.” He didn’t like how petulant he sounded, but he couldn’t help it. It was enough that Sonia thought him a fool, he didn’t need this so-called relationship expert thinking he was making a fuss about nothing.
True,” she said, “but whatever happened, it doesn’t take away your power to choose how to feel.”
OK, look…” He shook his head and leant forward. She just wasn’t getting it. She was talking out of her arse because to her, it was all theory. “I found out my girlfriend of six years, who I was thinking of proposing to, was cheating on me.”
She didn’t say anything.
Like, badly cheating on me. My neighbour saw her with two different guys before he came over to tell me… I’ve wasted six years of my life and you’re telling me I should choose to be happy?”
You feel wronged,” she said.
His eyes widened at the understatement. The anger he felt towards Sonia had now turned to frustration towards this annoyingly calm young woman. He moved from the bench to sit beside her with his legs bent in front of him. In the back of his mind, he realised that it wasn’t normal to get into a conversation like this with someone he barely knew and that it would be best if he left her alone. Yet he’d been alone all day with his thoughts and he couldn’t keep a lid on them anymore.
I don’t feel wronged,” he said, “I was wronged.”
She nodded and he felt a tiny release in his chest to at least have that truth accepted.
OK. You were wronged.”
I was wronged,” he echoed. “She stole six years of my life.”
It sounded a little melodramatic, even to him, but it was kind of true.
Six years of your life,” she echoed. “Didn’t you have any good times at all? Didn’t you have any valuable experiences or learn anything new?”
Yes, of course, but I’m talking about our relationship. I invested everything I had into it: a lot of love, a lot of money, a lot of sweat and tears… we were supposed to be headed in the same direction.”
Once again, she didn’t say anything. He noticed her feet turning circles in the water and thought about saying it didn’t matter, to forget about it. It was his problem, not hers.
How much energy are you willing to give to this story?” she asked, her eyes meeting his. Dark green, with flecks of amber. He stared back at her. Story? Did she think he was making this up?
This isn’t a story.”
Of course it is. We turn everything into a story, giving it our own little twist. You could have gone for the ‘Oh lucky me, I almost got married to a cheat, but luckily I had this great neighbour who had my back and was brave enough to tell me what he’d seen, and in hindsight, I realise why it had taken me six years to get to the point of asking her to marry me because I guess, deep down, I knew she wasn’t quite right for me, and although it hurts, I’ve come out of this stronger than before and even surer of what I want.’”

Emily Benet is a journalist, award-winning blogger and author of contemporary fiction. Her books include the blog-to-book Shop Girl Diaries, Wattpad hit Spray Painted Bananas and social media romcom #PleaseRetweet. She lives in Mallorca with her husband and daughter and the sunny island is the setting for her latest novels The Hen Party and Tipping Point. She writes regularly for the luxury lifestyle magazine abcMallorca.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Book Blog Tour Stop: Choices Shape, Losses Break by Nia Lucas

Choices Shape, Losses Break

Shunned and struggling at home and school, teenager Lorna Davies clatters into chaotic and charismatic Shay O’Driscoll and Leon Barrett at an illegal rave in 1995. As Lorna’s talent for dancing sees her unexpectedly employed in the strobe-lit heart of 90’s club culture, her world is turned on its head by her budding friendship with Shay and Leon. For the boys, their high-risk lives endanger all three of them in an association that blurs the lines between friendship and dependency.
As the risks escalate, Lorna’s best friend Hannah, her brother Dan, her bully-turned-protector Nico and her unexpected friend Rosa watch with concern as she is thrust ever closer to harm in an intoxicating new landscape. When life-threatening events risk separating them permanently, Lorna, Leon and Shay juggle love, loyalty, sacrifice and exploitation as their lives change beyond recognition. Will the losses they face break them all?

Amazon UK           Amazon US 
Nia Lucas’ first book Love Punked will be available for FREE from 18th-22nd August.

I am a UK-based author of Contemporary women's fiction who is passionate about writing amazing, strong and relatable female characters who readers really invest in- I love to write stories about the best mate you wish you'd had! My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90's, especially Rave and Clubbing culture. My first novel, 'Love Punked' is rated 5* on Amazon and my second 5* rated Novel 'Choices Shape, Losses Break' is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

My Facebook Page is Nia Lucas Books where my latest news and updates are posted and readers can also follow me at @BooksNia on Twitter or @nialucasbooks on Instagram.