Saturday, January 30, 2021

01.30.2021 The Vanishing at Loxby Manor By Abigail Wilson @HFVBT Tours

 


The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson

Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Thomas Nelson
Paperback & eBook; 336 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Regency


A story of second chances and secrets, this mysterious Regency romance will transport you to 19th-century England as one young lady reunites with her childhood love to find his missing sister.

Her friend is missing.

After five years abroad, Charity Halliwell finally returns to Loxby Manor, the home of dear friends—and her lost love. No longer a young girl, she is now haunted by a painful secret and the demise of her dreams. Instead of the healing and happiness she hopes to find, she encounters a darkness lurking in the shadows of the once-familiar house. When her friend, Seline, disappears the very night of her arrival, Charity is determined to uncover the truth.

Her only hope is the man who broke her heart.

Branded a coward, Piers Cavanaugh has lived the last five years as an outcast far from his family home. When his sister presumably elopes with a stable hand, Piers joins forces with an unlikely partner—the one woman he thought he’d never see again. Together they launch an investigation that leads to strange nightly meetings in the ruins of an old abbey and disturbing whispers of a secret organization. The more they learn, the more desperate the situation becomes.

The house seems determined to keep its secrets.

As they struggle to piece together the clues, Charity and Piers also endeavor to rebuild their friendship. One cryptic letter changed everything between them. To find happiness they will have to overcome the grief and shame keeping them apart. But first they must discover why Seline vanished and confront the growing fear that she may never return.

Settle in, because once you start The Vanishing at Loxby Manor, you won’t be able to put it down.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Praise for The Vanishing at Loxby Manor

“Vanishing at Loxby Manor cleverly combines Regency romance with Gothic intrigue, and the result is a suspenseful, thoroughly entertaining read. Charming and lovely.”—Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of In the Shadow of Vesuvius

“Like each of Wilson’s novels, The Vanishing at Loxby Manor drew me in from the start and didn’t let go. From the heartfelt characters to the twists that kept me guessing, I relished each turn of the page. Wilson is a master at historical mystery, and I cannot wait for her next story.”—Lindsay Harrel, author of The Joy of Falling

“Abigail Wilson’s latest Gothic romance hits the notes readers have come to expect from her talented pen: romance, shadows and intrigue and a brilliantly executed atmosphere. She is a master at her craft and a rare stand-out in a popular genre.”—Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration

“Weaving a shadow of mystery among the gilded countryside of Regency England, Wilson's tale of love lost, buried shame, and secret societies is a delicious blend of romance and intrigue. Splash in gorgeous historical Regency details, and murder brewing around every stone, and readers will be burning through the pages until the riveting end.”—J'nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite

“A gothic romance that is filled with great characters and a mystery that unfolds chapter by chapter. A perfect blend of mystery, family relationships, lost years, and star-crossed love. Be warned, you won't be able to walk away from these characters.”—Cara Putman, award-winning author of Flight Risk

MY THOUGHTS:

Two things I have been loving lately are Regency Romances and Gothic Mysteries. With the increasing love for the Regency Romance genre proliferated by the popularity of the Bridgerton Series, I am hoping that more people pick this up if they have grown to love that time period - with the writing mostly of strong women some fighting for independence or overcoming adversities, and showcasing brilliant minds as in this case, solving a mystery of a disappearance and possibly even murders. 

Abigail Wilson delivered both a proper Regency Romance and a Gothic Mystery in her masterful and addictive writing of The Vanishing at Loxby Manor. This is a great murder mystery sprinkled with bread crumbs I picked up along the way which made this novel a delightful read I really enjoyed. The story was tightly plotted and left me guessing until the end -  during the revelation. I really enjoyed how the pieces of this mystery came together in the end. This book had it all, a great location in a grand manor in the beautiful British countryside, secret societies and secret meetings, fantastic characters you will love to hate, and the complex family dynamics that abound. This was a delightful read and I could not stop turning those pages quickly enough for the riveting conclusion of this intriguing story. 

About the Author


Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A registered nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the national parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 19
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, January 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, January 21
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, January 22
Review at The Green Mockingbird

Monday, January 25
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Tuesday, January 26
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Wednesday, January 27
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Thursday, January 28
Review at Read Review Rejoice

Friday, January 29
Review at Heidi Reads
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, January 30
Review at Nursebookie

Monday, February 1
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Tuesday, February 2
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, February 3
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 4
Review at Hallie Reads
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Friday, February 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Books & Benches

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson! Five copies are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Loxby Manor 

Friday, January 29, 2021

01.30.2021 THE LITTLE SWISS SKI CHALET By Julie Caplin

 


Thank you to Rachel's Random Resources for having me in this amazing blog tour for Julie Caplin's newest book in the Romantic Escapes series book 7.

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…

Food technician Minna has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!

So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…


MY REVIEW:

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet is book 7 of the Romantic Escapes Series by Julie Caplin. This series is the perfect read for an immersive getaway and perfect for these times of lockdown and travel bans. The books did not deter me from traveling all over the world and fantasizing on the amazing adventures and meeting wonderful people (ahem... characters) along the way. So a huge shout out and thank you to author Julie Caplin for doing such an amazing job of writing this series and keeping me smiling and sane.

I fell in love with Julie Caplin's writing and the series, after reading The Little Teashop in Tokyo where I was whisked away to the sights and sounds of the bustling metropolitan city of Tokyo, and the wonderful food culture and of course the amazing people.

In this book seven, we are once again whisked away to an amazing location and a perfect place to fall in love in. We are headed to Switzerland! The Swiss Alps not only provided Mina a refuge and what a place to escape from when your over -the -top - that -did -not -go- as -planned -proposal goes viral, there is nothing left to do but pack your bags and get out of Dodge and visit her godmother Amelie. Along the way Mina meets the handsome and ever so charming Luke and you just have to read the rest to find out.

This was so charming and such a serendipitous read I enjoyed! Another winner for me.

Purchase Links

http://amzn.to/3jU2lKy 🌎 http://mybook.to/SwissSkiChalet

 

Author Bio 




Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Social Media Links – @JulieCaplin Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/JulieCaplinAuthor/

Instagram @juliecaplinauthor


 

Before She Disappeared: A Novel Hardcover – January 19, 2021 Dutton Books


 

Thank you Dutton Books for the gifted copy of this amazing book I loved!

Publisher : Dutton (January 19, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 1524745049




THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will--searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim's wary family tells Frankie she's on her own--and she soon learns she's asking questions someone doesn't want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.



Review

“In this rare standalone, the prolific Gardner has come up with one of the most original characters in recent crime fiction, a woman readers can care about even while not being entirely sure of what to make of her.”--Washington Post

"This book, the best-selling author’s first stand-alone novel in 20-years, is a sharply-written, tension-filled yarn full of twists readers are unlikely to see coming. The most compelling element, however, is the character of Frankie, a recovering alcoholic whose obsession with the missing is a penance of sorts for the burden of guilt and grief she carries over a past trauma that took the life of a man she loves.”--Associated Press

Named one of 2021's Most Anticipated Books by "Good Morning America," PopSugar, Bookpage, CrimeReads, and Mystery Tribune

"A masterpiece of post-modern noir....A riveting stunner of a tale where the rare appearance of the sun shines down on what is certain to be one of the best thrillers of 2021.”--Providence Journal

“[An] outstanding crime novel…. Gardner pulls no punches in this socially conscious standalone.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fans of this incredible author, police procedurals, timely immigrant stories, strong determined women, and tales that are not tied up with a pretty bow at the end will not be able to get enough of this intense page-turner.”--Library Journal (starred review)


MY REVIEW:


Riveting
Stunning
Propulsive

I LOVED this thrilling crime novel, the latest from the queen of crime thrillers, and a master storyteller, Lisa Gardner. I had been a fan of the Detective D.D. Warren series, and BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED is Gardner’s first stand alone in over 20 years.

The writing of Frankie’s character, an unlikely heroine out to rescue missing persons when everyone had given up, was superb. Frankie is a recovering alcoholic, a middle aged woman whose next mission leads her to Boston. What she finds is not only a search for one but two connected kidnappings that may be more than what she has bargained for.

An exciting and exhilarating twisty thriller I really enjoyed.


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:




Lisa Gardner is a #1 New York Times bestselling crime novelist. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure and twisted minds into a streak of twenty-plus thrillers. Her latest, BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED, is available January 19, 2021.

Meet Frankie Elkin, an everyday, average person who specializes in finding missing people. When the locals have given up, when the media has never bothered to care, Frankie takes on the challenge. Her latest mission has brought her to Mattapan, Boston, to find a missing Haitian teen. Eleven months later, Angelique Badeau's disappearance remains a mystery. What happened to the quiet, studious teen? Frankie learns quickly the dangers of asking too many questions, but that won't stop her from learning the truth behind what happened before she disappeared.

Lisa lives in the mountains of New Hampshire with two crazy pups and an ancient rescue dog. When not writing, Lisa loves to hike, play cribbage, and, of course, read!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

1/26/2021 The Narrowboat Summer blog tour - Enjoy an Excerpt of the book - Flatiron Books

 



Publisher : Flatiron Books (January 26, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250764610

From the author of Meet Me at the Museum, a charming novel of second chances, about three women, one dog, and the narrowboat that brings them together

Eve expected Sally to come festooned with suitcases and overnight bags packed with everything she owned, but she was wrong. She arrived on foot, with a rucksack and a carrier bag. “I just walked away,” she said, climbing on to the boat. Eve knew what she meant.

Meet Eve, who has left her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia, a defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, who is suddenly landlocked and vulnerable.

Before they quite know what they’ve done, Sally and Eve agree to drive Anastasia’s narrowboat on a journey through the canals of England, as she awaits a life-saving operation. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of narrowboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds. At summer’s end, all three women must decide whether to return to the lives they left behind, or forge a new path forward.



Candid, hilarious, and uplifting, Anne Youngson's The Narrowboat Summer is a celebration of the power of friendship and new experiences to change one’s life, at any age.

MY REVIEW:

I needed an uplifting read, and this book came at a time when I needed it the most. Books are such a source of comfort and Anne Youngson's writing of THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER brings a wonderful addition to the contemporary women's fiction genre, full of characters that confounds how friendships blossom in the most unusual of circumstances that is perfect for any age.

I had never been on a narrowboat or even in a canal of sorts but the story did take me on this bit of an adventure amongst the stories behind the women, as they form this friendship, and as they share their struggles and difficulties in a hopeful, light hearted and many times what are you going to do but chuckle with what lives hands you. 

I enjoyed each of the characters - Sally, Eve, Anastasia as well as all the other sub characters that meander through this journey and story in this narrowboat in the British canal. 

A truly fantastic read I loved. 

Enjoy this excerpt:

THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER

By Anne Youngson

 

Chapter 1: The Number One

 

ON THE TOWPATH OF a canal in a town not far from London, not far from the coast, is moored a narrowboat painted dark blue with the name Number One picked out in red lettering on the prow. It is tethered tightly to the bank with ropes made wet by the rain and slimy with age, wrapped around pegs bent out of shape by the misaimed blows of a lump hammer. It is still in the water. At either end the doors are fast shut and the windows along the side are latched. On the roof is a skylight, cantilevered up to let the fresh air into the cabin below. Puddles of water on the deck and roof show that it has been raining, but at this moment it is not.

There are two people on the towpath, walking toward each other. One is a tall, relatively plump woman: that is to say, around half the number of women in her age group—she has gone some distance past fifty—would be slimmer and shorter than she is, but she is not so tall or so plump as to be remarkable. In one hand she has an orange carrier bag and on her feet a pair of bright silver running shoes; these might not be out of place on a towpath but are out of place with her black wool skirt and tailored blouse. Her hair is wrapped up in a largely colorless scarf, apparently once purple.

The woman approaching her is shorter and more slender. She is carrying an umbrella in a color often called fuchsia, though fuchsias come in a range of colors. She is holding it at her side—not needing its protection at the moment—but open, as if anxious about the time it would take to bring it into use if she should suddenly need it. Her hair is carefully styled and her clothes might have been carefully chosen to be unremarkable. If so, the choice was successful.

As they approach the moored boat, the sun inserts a finger of light between the clouds and it is all at once a lovely day, at that moment, on that towpath. At almost the same instant, when the two women are close enough to each other for a nod and a smile of greeting, if either or both of them thought that was appropriate—they are complete strangers, so it seems unlikely—at that precise moment, the narrowboat begins to howl. It howls as if it were a mezzo-soprano in mid-aria spotting her husband committing adultery in the stalls while being impaled from behind by a careless spear carrier. Both women stop walking.

* * *

EVE’S HANDS WERE FULL OF the debris of a career of more than thirty years. She kicked aside the Strategic Five Year Plan, folded and wedging the door open, to let it shut behind her. What she was carrying now were items so small and insignificant she had overlooked them when she had made a pile of things definitively hers: the books, pen set, files of personal information that could not be claimed as property of the Rambusch Corporation. These had been placed into a cardboard box supplied by the management. The packing had been not so much overseen as attended by Clive, a representative (ironically, because neither word could accurately be applied to him) of the Human Resources department. He stood beside her, rumbling idly like a vacuum cleaner (which he closely resembled) switched on and ready to suck if anything misplaced came within reach of his hose. That had been the day before, the penultimate day. Now, on the last day, she stood in the corridor holding things so odd and familiar they had been invisible. The plastic frog stuck to the side of her computer monitor; the postcard of a building in New York pinned to the cork board; a calendar from an overseas charity with six more pictures of starving children still to come; a mug with a picture of a hedgehog on top of a scrubbing brush and a brown deposit welded to the bottom; a letter opener with what looked like teeth marks in its bamboo handle; a purple scarf that had been tied to the handle of a filing cabinet for so long it had faded along its exposed length and only revealed its original, shocking depth of color on the inside of the knot; a photograph of a team-building exercise, the participants all in hard yellow hats standing under a cliff holding up ropes in triumph, though whether after or in anticipation of an ascent or descent she could not remember. She nearly dropped this in the bin, already full of discarded good-luck cards, but closer scrutiny revealed that no one in the picture was recognizable as an individual—though she could pick herself out as the only woman in the group—so she used it as a tray on which to pile the rest of the rubbish.

The door shut with a hiss from its automatic closure system. The nameplate—Eve Warburton: Planning—swung toward her, stopping inches from her nose. Had she had a hand free, she might have defaced it in some way, but in the circumstances she just leaned forward and gave it a kiss.

“Goodbye, Eve Warburton, Planning,” she whispered. “Nice to have known you.”

First the scarf then the frog then the letter opener fell from her stack on the way to the lift. She recovered them all and stopped in the lobby to ask the receptionist for a carrier bag. The receptionist went to look in a cubicle in the wall behind her desk. Eve put her pile down on the counter and watched the oil circulating in the installation designed to impress the visitor with the technical brilliance of the Rambusch Corporation’s engineering and manufacturing capability, its mastery of pumps, pistons and valves. Her eye caught the plastic sign on it which read:

Constructed from Production Parts

Eve took up the letter opener and levered this off. One final souvenir. She pushed it down the front of her skirt.

The girl returned with a disposable carrier bag from the local sandwich outlet.

“It’s all I can find.”

“It will do,” said Eve. It was hard to stop the pilfered notice sliding out as she loaded a carrier bag with small, odd-shaped items, until the receptionist, interpreting her clumsiness as evidence of emotional turmoil, did the job for her.

“I’m, you know, sorry you’re leaving,” she said.

“It was time to move on.”

“I thought of you, having to work with all those men on the top floor. I mean, no one to have a gossip with and that.”

“They didn’t have much of a feminine side, by and large,” said Eve.

“Oh, I know!” The receptionist came out from behind her barrier with the filled bag. Eve was afraid she might be about to offer a hug, in compensation for Eve’s fall from the masculine heights of the fourth floor to mere womanhood.

“Luckily for me, I’m on the masculine side of the feminine spectrum,” she said.

She turned left out of the building, toward where her car would normally be parked—indeed, where it was parked—but even as her hand reached into her pocket for the keys, she remembered it was no longer hers. Company property. She could call a taxi or catch a bus or walk. She had no intention of going back inside the building for the rest of her life, and this ruled out a taxi because the number of the local firm was in her surrendered company mobile. It was raining, but she did not want to hesitate in full view of the receptionist, so she began to walk. It was a long way, in kitten heels, from the Rambusch premises to the edge of the industrial estate. It was a fairly hefty hike up a hill to the first bus stop on the main road. The notice filched from the lobby display impeded her stride, so she took it out and thought about lobbing it over a hedge but on second thought put it in the carrier bag. The rain falling on her head slid in large drops down her perfectly conditioned hair into the top of her blouse, into her ears and her mouth. She took out the faded scarf and tied it over her head. She felt like a bag lady; she rather hoped she looked like a bag lady. It could be a new career.

When she reached the first bus stop she leaned against it, resting her feet until a bus arrived and she bought a ticket into town. Once there, she went into a bookshop and found an Ordnance Survey map of the area showing all the paths and alleyways so that she could plot a route back to her flat on foot, avoiding the main roads she normally drove down. She went next door to a shoe shop and bought a pair of running shoes. These were handed over in a brilliantly orange and substantial carrier bag, big enough to take all her belongings from the office, the kitten heels and the notice. From the map, she found that the quickest way home was to start down the towpath. Just as the rain was stopping, she set off.

Walking toward her was a woman her own age. Between them was a dark-blue narrowboat, apparently deserted. The name painted in red lettering on the prow was Number One.

* * *

ON THE WALK TO THE hairdresser it began to rain, which was something Sally had not foreseen. Raindrops, she reflected, were falling on her head, although the song was entirely inappropriate in her current circumstances.

“My word,” said the hairdresser as Sally dripped on the mat. “You didn’t come prepared.”

Sally had known Lynne for over twenty years. Twenty years of a relationship conducted in reflection, meeting each other’s eyes in the mirror. They had talked about everything in that time. They had exchanged information about children, holidays, kitchen appliances and plumbers. They had shared opinions about soap operas, brands of ice cream, chewing gum and British Summer Time. They had discussed renewable energy, interest rates, the Middle East and mobile phones. It was always a shock to her to stand up—after she had been shown a glimpse of the back of her head and had the cut hair brushed from her shoulders, the nylon coverall whisked away—to find that she was taller than Lynne. How could someone who had filled the mirror so emphatically for half an hour or more be so dumpy an individual in the real world? She only came to this part of the town to visit the Kut Above, and had never seen Lynne in the street. She sometimes wondered if she would recognize her if she came across her queuing for a prescription in Boots. And yet, she thought of Lynne as her friend, and had done so ever since the day she had said she would rather be called Sally than Mrs. Allsop, and Lynne had agreed.

Sally had something to say on this visit; with Lynne’s face in the mirror to frame the story, she could say it and, in saying it, fix it.

Lynne combed Sally’s wet hair, persuading it into a smooth and elegant shape unlike its usual wispy incoherence.

“Just tidied up a bit?” she said, as she always did.

“I wondered about highlights,” said Sally. “Not today, of course. Next time, maybe.”

Lynne said it would be a fiddly process. “And I’m not sure what color you’d use. Your hair’s so fair, and so fine, it would be hard to find a color that was a strong enough contrast, without going completely over the top.”

“Pink,” said Sally. “Or turquoise.”

“Of course, but you wouldn’t want that. We could get away with a nutty brown, if you’re set on the idea.”

“But I do want pink or turquoise, I haven’t made up my mind which.”

“Well,” said Lynne. “What’s brought this on?”

“New beginning,” said Sally. “Fresh start. My new career as a single person.” The scissors and comb became quite still. Lynne was staring at her in the mirror. “I told my husband last night that our marriage is over. There is no reason why anything, from this moment forward, should be as it has been up to now.”

“I’m so sorry,” whispered Lynne. “Do you want to talk about it, or is it too painful?”

“I’m not at all sorry and I don’t mind talking about it, but it’s the future I’m more excited about.”

“It must be difficult after twenty-five years? I mean, you didn’t seem unhappy. Maybe I’ve had it wrong all this time, but I really thought the two of you were close. Did he…? I mean, you know … After all, men—”

“Duncan is entirely blameless,” said Sally.

Lynne remained still; almost rigid.

“But you must have, well, emotional issues?”

“The only emotion I feel is relief,” Sally said. “And that isn’t an issue.”

“But why?” said Lynne. “There must be a reason?”

“I was bored.”

Lynne’s face, as she brought the scissors and comb back into play with something close to aggression, was becoming quite red, and it was possible she looked cross though Sally had no way of knowing what she looked like when cross, because they had always tended to agree with each other. Sally saw that Lynne, far from admiring her resilience and self-determination, wanted her to be in need of sympathy—as a victim or as the guilty party racked with guilt. She had not foreseen this, and she considered the narrative Lynne was hearing. She was leaving her husband; she had not been abused; she had not been rejected; she did not feel guilty. Yes.

“You obviously don’t approve,” she said.

Lynne clamped her lips together and kept her eyes on Sally’s head, cutting Sally’s hair as if there was a looming deadline after which it would set solid.

“No, I don’t, but of course I don’t know anything about it. I just know that being married isn’t easy and it’s up to us all to work at it and not just throw up our hands and walk away as if it never mattered in the first place.”

“On the other hand,” said Sally, “it’s sometimes harder to endure the everyday than it is to cope with a big trauma.”

“If you say so.”

“I think I’ll have my gap year now,” said Sally. “Twelve months of doing something I wouldn’t normally and probably won’t ever do again.”

“Like what?”

“I haven’t decided. I expect something will turn up.”

It was still raining when she left the Kut Above. She stepped into a corner shop and bought a folding umbrella in a shade of pink she thought might be an exact match for the highlights she was imagining. She would be going somewhere else to have them done. After all, was it not important to change every aspect of her routines? How else would she be able to identify those hooks and burrs and combinations that held her, like the flag on a flagpole, free to flap about but not free to drift or soar.

The umbrella was less easy to manipulate than the label had promised it would be, but it kept the rain off her hair, which had the bounce and body only Lynne had ever been able to give it. The rain stopped as she crossed the canal bridge and, on an impulse, she took the steps down to the towpath. It was possible to walk most of the way home by this route, but she rarely did. It was muddy; there were no shops; the people who lived in the boats moored alongside had more than the average householder in the way of untrustworthy dogs, dubious houseplants, bare feet and rusty bicycles. It being an unusual route for her was one good reason to set off down it today. Another was that it was longer. It would delay her return to the house. She had told him she was going because she wanted peace; she wanted silence and the chance to think. But the silence consequent on announcing that decision was surprisingly hard to bear. And she could not decide where, exactly, she wanted to go.

So she took the long way back, along the towpath, walking slowly and, because she no longer needed it, swinging the pink umbrella by its strap. Walking toward her was a woman her own age. Between them was a dark-blue narrowboat, apparently deserted. The name painted in red lettering on the prow was Number One.

 

EXCERPTED FROM THE NARROWBOAT SUMMER. COPYRIGHT © 2021 BY ANNE YOUNGSON. EXCERPTED BY PERMISSION OF FLATIRON BOOKS, A DIVISION OF MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS. NO PART OF THIS EXCERPT MAY BE REPRODUCED OR REPRINTED WITHOUT PERMISSION IN WRITING FROM THE PUBLISHER.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:


Anne Youngson worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. Meet Me at the Museum, her debut, was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award and has been published around the world.





01.26.2020 IF I DISAPPEAR By Eliza Jane Brazier BLOG BLITZ #berkleypub #berkleypartner

 


HAPPY PUB DAY!!



Sure to hook fans of Gillian Flynn’s female driven suspense and the eerily obsessive second person narration of Caroline Kepnes’s You, IF I DISAPPEAR (Berkley Hardcover; January 26, 2021) by Eliza Jane Brazier is a voice-driven page-turner that won’t let you go, even after you’ve binged the entire story.

Fueled by an unsettling parasocial relationship between podcast listener and beloved true crime podcast host, IF I DISAPPEAR explores feminist discussion surrounding true crime stories and the pursuit of women to empower themselves from becoming victims in a world that wants them to disappear.




Advance Praise for IF I DISAPPEAR



“The writing is lean, the story is fascinating, and you won't guess where this one is going. A slick, smart thriller you don't want to miss.”—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife



“Every page is packed with feral tension. Fans of true crime podcasts will love the chilling tale Brazier has woven. I won't sleep for days.”—Stephanie Wrobel, author of Darling Rose Gold



“Blending the true crime compulsion of Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark with the immersive creepy-craziness of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, Brazier creates a heady, pitch-dark cocktail all her own.”—Publishers Weekly



“A disquieting and distinctly creepy debut.”—Kirkus Reviews



“Sleek, exciting, and twisty.”—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder



“A propulsive thrill ride full of surprises right through the firecracker ending.”—Lisa Unger, author of The Stranger Inside





About IF I DISAPPEAR

When her favorite true crime podcast host goes missing, an adrift young woman sets out to investigate and plunges headfirst into the wild backcountry of Northern California and her own dangerous obsession.

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They give her a sense of control in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She's sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it's time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.

Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel's small hometown to begin her search. She's convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won't be the last...

Rachel did try to warn her.


MY REVIEW:


A True Crime Podcaster goes missing
A fan goes out to search
What do you get... a witty and twisty thriller


If I Disappeared is a unique read - a debut author with an amazing voice that makes this book bingeable, addictive and unputdownable. I found it entertaining and to hear that this may be developed for television sounds fascinating.


Rachel is the host of a true crime pod cast called Murder She Spoke when she suddenly stops posting and goes missing. One of her fans, Sera whose life is adrift, takes it upon herself to get in the middle of this story by going up to Rachel's ranch in Northern California and start an investigation on her own. Armed with the tools from listening to Rachel's true crime podcast, Sera embarks on a mystery meeting some shady characters along the way.


This was a fantastic read I enjoyed and for thriller fans, don't miss this one.



AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Eliza Jane Brazier is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. This is her adult debut. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is developing If I Disappeared for television.



Saturday, January 23, 2021

01.23.2021 DEADLY WHISPERS IN LOWER DIMBLEBROOK By Julie Butterfield

 


Deadly Whispers in Lower Dimblebrook

When Isabelle Darby moves to the delightfully cosy village of Lower Dimblebrook, she’s searching for peace and quiet as well as a chance to escape from heartbreak. After making friends with Fiona Lambourne, another newcomer to the village, Issie is left reeling when tragedy strikes and Fiona is murdered, the second wife Anthony Lambourne has lost in unfortunate circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local gossips insist that Fiona had been embroiled in an affair before her death, something which Issie knows not to be the case. Determined to clear her friend's reputation and solve the mystery of the rumours, Issie takes on both the gossips and the handsome but stern DI Wainwright, making both friends and enemies along the way!



MY REVIEW:

I just really want to take a moment to admire this beautiful cover. It has just the right amount of cozy, a town where you can expect serene and quiet, while indulging in a little bit of murder - just perfect for cozy mystery fans. 

Isabelle "Issie" Darby escapes from Bristol to a small village in the Cotswold - Lower Dimblebrook to escape and mend a broken heart. What she gets instead is losing a friend she has made in that small village to murder. 

The writing was completely immersive as I sit and read this book while the rain is pouring in the winter chill. Butterfield transported me to an idyllic countryside village and as the mystery unfolds, you learn about the characters in the village, a little bit more about Issie as the investigation to find the culprit is on the way. I really enjoyed the writing. It was entertaining as it was enjoyable to read over a couple of days. 

I will definitely be looking forward to reading more books with Julie Butterfield. 




Purchase Links

Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Whispers-Lower-Dimblebrook-delightful-ebook/dp/B08L9FP2SK

Amazon US - https://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Whispers-Lower-Dimblebrook-delightful-ebook/dp/B08L9FP2SK

Kobo  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/search?query=deadly+whispers+in+lower+dimblebrook

 

Author Bio – 



Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of 'always wanted to write' authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, 'Did I Mention I Won The Lottery' is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband - even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

Social Media Links –

@juliebeewriter

www.Juliebutterfield.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/juliebeewriter




01/23/2021 BETRAYAL AT RAVENSWICK and HIGH TREASON AT THE GRAND HOTEL @tlcbooktours and @kellyoliverbook



Thank you to Author Kelly Oliver and TLC Book Tours for having me in this fantastic blog review tour for these two amazing books I loved and enjoyed reading so much.



About Betrayal at Ravenswick

Publisher: Historia (March 10, 2020) 
Paperback: 240 pages 

What’s the best way to purge an unfaithful husband? 

Become a spy for British Intelligence, of course. 

Desperate to get out of London and determined to help the war effort, Fiona Figg volunteers to go undercover. It keeps her from thinking about Andrew, her philandering husband. At Ravenswick Abbey a charming South African war correspondent has tongues wagging. His friends say he’s a crack huntsman. The War Office is convinced he’s a traitor. Fiona thinks he’s a pompous prig. What sort of name is Fredrick Fredricks anyway? Too bad Fiona doesn’t own a Wolseley pith helmet. At Ravenswick a murderer is on the prowl, and it’s not just the big-game hunter who’s ready to pounce. 

Reader’s Favorite Award for Best Historical Novel Social Media 


My Thoughts:


I enjoy reading Agatha Christie and love Downton Abbey so when an opportunity came across to read this book, I was more than excited.


Kelly Oliver delivered a heroine that is such a delight to read that is brilliant, witty and a woman ahead of her time working undercover for the War Office in London during The Great War, while grieving her lost marriage to a cheating husband.


I found the writing very entertaining and so enjoyable. This was a fantastic escape read that I really enjoyed. I am happy to have the second book as this ending left me in a cliff hanger.


 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About High Treason at the Grand Hotel

• Publisher: Historia (January 5, 2021) • Paperback: 276 pages Paris. 1917. Never underestimate the power of a good hat… or a sharp hatpin. Sent by the War Office to follow the notorious Black Panther, file clerk turned secret agent Fiona Figg is under strict orders not to get too close and not to wear any of her usual “get-ups.” But what self-respecting British spy can resist a good disguise? Within hours of her arrival in Paris, Fiona is up to her fake eyebrows in missing maids, jewel thieves, double agents, and high treason. When Fiona is found dressed as a bellboy holding a bloody paperknife over the body of a dead countess, it’s not just her career that’s on the block. Her next date might be with Madame Guillotine.

MY THOUGHTS:


We continue this story just where we left off in book 1 and now have Fiona traveling to Paris to continue the surveillance of a potential German spy. Fiona takes her role being a British espionage to the max taking on disguises and getting herself into big trouble. She was sent to Paris with strict orders about using her disguises to no avail. Fiona is such a great character I just find her so amusing and entertaining. In this installment we find Fiona in trouble and deep into a jewel heist, murders and some well - known characters in history. It just keeps getting better and better.

Funny and entertaining, I cannot wait for the next in the series.



 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver grew up in the Northwest, Montana, Idaho, and Washington states. Her maternal grandfather was a forest ranger committed to saving the trees, and her paternal grandfather was a logger hell bent on cutting them down. On both sides, her ancestors were some of the first settlers in Northern Idaho. In her own unlikely story, Kelly went from eating a steady diet of wild game shot by her dad to becoming a vegetarian while studying philosophy and pondering animal minds. Competing with peers who’d come from private schools and posh families “back East,” Kelly’s working class backwoods grit has served her well. And much to her parent’s surprise, she’s managed to feed and cloth herself as a professional philosopher. When she’s not writing mysteries, Kelly Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She earned her B.A. from Gonzaga University and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is the author of thirteen scholarly books, ten anthologies, and over 100 articles, including work on campus rape, reproductive technologies, women and the media, film noir, and Alfred Hitchcock. Her work has been translated into seven languages, and she has published an op-ed on loving our pets in The New York Times. She has been interviewed on ABC television news, the Canadian Broadcasting Network, and various radio programs. Kelly lives in Nashville with her husband, Benigno Trigo, and her furry family, Mischief and Mayhem. Find out more about Kelly at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

01.19.2021 AT THE EDGE OF THE HAIGHT @algonquinbooks



Publisher : Algonquin Books (January 19, 2021)
Language: : English
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643750232



The 10th Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Awarded by Barbara Kingsolver

“What a read this is, right from its startling opening scene. But even more than plot, it’s the richly layered details that drive home a lightning bolt of empathy. To read At the Edge of the Haight is to live inside the everyday terror and longings of a world that most of us manage not to see, even if we walk past it on sidewalks every day. At a time when more Americans than ever find themselves at the edge of homelessness, this book couldn’t be more timely.”
—Barbara Kingsolver, author of Unsheltered and The Poisonwood Bible

Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She knows whom to trust, where to eat, when to move locations, and how to take care of her dog. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw. As adults pressure her to give up her secrets and reunite with her own family before she meets a similar fate, Maddy must decide whether she wants to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.

As judge Hillary Jordan says, “This book pulled me deep into a world I knew little about, bringing the struggles of its young, homeless inhabitants—the kind of people we avoid eye contact with on the street—to vivid, poignant life. The novel demands that you take a close look. If you knew, could you still ignore, fear, or condemn them? And knowing, how can you ever forget?”

MY REVIEW:

On my way home from work every day, I pass by a small homeless encampment under the bridge. One night, I saw a young family with teens as I was waiting for the stop light. In that brief moment, I saw the residents of that small homeless community and wondered to myself how they are surviving. They seem t have formed a community where each of them care for each other, protecting each other, and supporting each other.

Reading this book by Katherine Seligman “At The Edge of the Haight”, really brought me back to what happens in those lives - the homeless population whom we feel are a part of society’s on-going issue, a sign of a deteriorating community, a nuisance, or a problem with the way mental health is being addressed in this country. Seligman did a fantastic job of portraying a very realistic picture of the lives of the young homeless and how some find this as a chosen lifestyle.

The story is entirely captivating, immersive, an eye-opening glimpse into the lives of these young people – including their struggles in this emotional and thought provoking read.

I really enjoyed and loved this book.

Thank you @algonquinbooks for providing an ARC and having me in this book tour. All opinions are my own. 
 



AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT


Katherine Seligman is a journalist and author who lives in San Francisco. She has been a writer at the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, a reporter at the San Francisco Examiner and a correspondent at USA Today. Her work has appeared in Redbook, Life, Money, California Magazine, the anthology Fresh Takes and elsewhere.


Sunday, January 17, 2021

01.17.2021 Georgana's Secret @Austenprose

 


Title: Georgana's Secret (Proper Romance Regency)
Author: Arlem Hawks
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (January 12, 2021)
Length: (320) pages
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1629727929
eBook ASIN: B08Q5MW1SG
Audiobook ASIN: B08RLRZ65Q
Tour Dates: January 11 – February 14, 2021 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, "George."

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty's Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain's cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the "boy" under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy's secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic's compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

 

ADVANCE PRAISE:

"Hawks crafts a spellbinding tale featuring rich characters and raw emotions set against the atmospheric backdrop of sea life in all its danger and beauty. Georgana is a tough protagonist holding her own in a world dominated by men, while Peyton's charm and sensitivity marks him as a true gentleman. A hidden identity, flirtation, and treachery make for a rousing tale to captivate lovers of historical romances."— Publishers Weekly

“This tale felt sweepingly cinematic at times and was both action-packed and heart-wrenching with an immersive narrative.”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com

Arlem Hawks wove a magnificent tale of adventure and deception and delivered a happy ever after that was as unconventional as the rest of the story. With so many stories of romance out there, it is refreshing when one comes along that is very different than the stories that I am used to. A little adventure always livens things up fabulously.”— Emily Flynn, Reading with Emily

"Fans of sweet love stories as well as readers who fondly remember those marvelous old traditional Signet Regencies will quickly succumb to the siren song of Hawk’s expertly crafted novel, which delivers the perfect blend of Jane Austen-smart romance and Patrick O’Brian flavored seafaring adventure. Teen romance readers will cheer on the plucky heroine as she finds the courage to forge her own path in life and love."— Booklist, starred review




MY REVIEW:

Georgana’s Secret by Ariel Hawks was the very first book I chose to read for 2021. There has been an amazing growth and popularity for the readership of Regency romance as of late and I really wanted to read more of this genre this year. I am so glad I did, since I devoured this book over the holiday weekend - loving the characters and the exciting story of how Georgana’s disguise as George was discovered while a budding romance ensued. Georgana’s character stayed with me long after I read the book. Her strength and determination really showed how she was a woman well ahead of her time and one of my favorite heroines in recent reads.

Haws wrote a spellbinding proper Regency romance story set in the high seas 1811. I thought this was a fun read where a young woman, Georgana Woodall disguised herself as the Captain’s cabin boy ‘George’ to sail with his father, the Captain of the ship to escape her abusive grandmother whom she had to live with when her mother passed away. Leaving one abusive situation was quickly replaced by another, among the ships’ crew who was jealous of George’s favor with the Captain. Lieutenant Dominic Peyton witness to the bullying by some members of the crew takes George under his wing teaching self defense and survival skills while in the ship. What happens next is a sweet and tender romance as Dominic discovers Georgana’s secret.

I thought the writing was immersive and rich in accurate historical detail. I think young adult readers will really enjoy this sweet story and amazing well written characters. The reality and hardship of life in the ship made me flinch and broke my heart for how a young woman chooses to remain in hiding to be with her father enduring all the abuse, rather than being in London society at the time. I really appreciated how Hawks wrote Georgana’s character so well into the story.

I really loved and enjoyed this book.

Thank you Laurel Ann Nattress @austenprose for having me in this blog tour.
 

AUTHOR BIO:



Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn't writing, Arlem is baking her characters' favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.

 

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THE BLOG TOUR BLURB:

 

Join the virtual blog tour of GEORGANA’S SECRET (Proper Romance Regency), Arlem Hawks’ highly acclaimed debut historical romance novel January 11 – February 14, 2021. Over forty-five popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard a Royal Naval ship.

 


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

 

Jan 11            My Jane Austen Book Club                                Excerpt

Jan 11            Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog               Review

Jan 12            Wishful Endings                                                     Review

Jan 12            Lu Reviews Books                                                 Review

Jan 13            Lady with a Quill                                                     Review

Jan 13            Timeless Novels                                                     Review

Jan 14            Reading is My Superpower                                 Review

Jan 14            The Bibliophile Files                                             Review

Jan 15            Randi Loves 2 Read                                              Review

Jan 16            The Christian Fiction Girl                                     Excerpt

Jan 17            Nurse Bookie                                                          Review

Jan 18            The Silver Petticoat Review                                Review

Jan 18            Heidi Reads                                                             Review

Jan 19            Bookfoolery                                                             Review

Jan 20            Captivated Reading                                               Review

Jan 21            Greenish Bookshelf                                              Review

Jan 21            Bookworm Lisa                                                      Review

Jan 22            Among the Reads                                                 Review

Jan 23            Gwedalyn's Books                                                 Review

Jan 24            My Bookish Bliss                                                   Review

Jan 25            Wishful Endings                                                     Excerpt

Jan 25            Christian Chick's Thoughts                                Review

Jan 26            Relz Reviewz                                                           Review

Jan 27            The Lit Bitch                                                            Review

Jan 28            Reading with Emily                                                Review

Jan 29            Books, Teacups & Reviews                                Review

Jan 30            A Darn Good Read                                                 Review

Jan 31            From Pemberley to Milton                                   Spotlight

Jan 31            Impressions in Ink                                                 Review

Feb 01            Austenesque Reviews                                          Review

Feb 02            Laura's Reviews                                                     Review

Feb 03            Literary Time Out                                                   Review

Feb 04            Chicks, Rogues & Scandals                               Excerpt

Feb 05            The Bluestocking                                                   Review

Feb 05            Library of Clean Reads                                        Review

Feb 06            The Caffeinated Bibliophile                                 Spotlight

Feb 07            So Little Time…                                                      Spotlight

Feb 08            The Readathon                                                       Review

Feb 09            The Book Diva Reads                                           Excerpt

Feb 09            Books and Socks Rock                                        Review

Feb 10            Our Book Confessions                                         Review

Feb 10            Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen       Spotlight

Feb 11            Rosanne E. Lortz                                                   Review

Feb 11            Jorie Loves a Story                                               Review

Feb 12            Fire & Ice                                                                  Excerpt

Feb 13            Cup of Tea with that Book, Please                    Review

Feb 14            Book Confessions of an Ex-ballerina               Review

 

 

PURCHASE LINKS:

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP

| INDIEBOUND | DESERET BOOK | GOODREADS