#BlogTour The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello by Chris McDonald @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets #TheCuriousDispatchOfDanielCostello

Title: The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello by Chris McDonald

Publisher: Red Dog Press

Date Published: 12th January 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte.

Armed with an encyclopedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.

Amazon Link: mybook.to/Stonebridge 

Red Dog Press: https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

Review:

I want to thank Meggy at Red Dog Press for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello in exchange for an honest review.

The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello is only just over a hundred pages but let its short length fool you, there’s plenty of mystery, mayhem and a good bit of humour packed into the story!

Best friends Adam and Colin are invited to the wedding of an old school friend but when the best man, Daniel Costello, turns up dead and the police don’t take it seriously. Adam decides they should look into it, pulling a reluctant Colin along for the ride.

Both Adam and Colin are likeable characters. Adam is a bit directionless, living at home with his mum. Colin works in a retirement home, enjoys following the rules. They make an unlikely pair of detectives, especially as Adam is exceptionally squeamish, but using their love of the TV show Sherlock they manage to ferret out clues.

I will say I felt the ending l was a bit rushed, but of course that was just my opinion.

The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello is a quick and fun read that I couldn’t get enough of! I will definitely be on the lookout for more adventures featuring Adam and Colin.

About The Author:

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black is his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark is the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, to be published by Red Dog Press in 2021. 

#BookReview Body Language by A.K. Turner #LibraryLoan

Title: Body Language by A.K Turner

Publisher: Zaffre

Date Published: 26th November 2020

Genre: Thriller

Description:

THE DEAD CAN TALK – WE JUST NEED TO LISTEN . . .

Camden mortuary assistant Cassie Raven has pretty much seen it all. But this is the first time she’s come face to face with someone she knows on the slab. Someone she cared about. Her friend and mentor, Mrs E.

Deeply intuitive and convinced that she can pick up the last thoughts of the dead, Cassie senses that there must be more to the ruling of an accidental death. Is her grief making her see things that aren’t there, or is her intuition right, and there’s something more sinister to her friend’s death than the ME thinks? Harbouring an innate distrust of the police, Cassie sets out to investigate and deliver justice to the woman who saved her life.

For fans of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series and Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan, Cassie Raven is the edgy new forensic sleuth on the block.

Review:

I saw so many fantastic reviews for this book at the end of last year when I saw it was on loan through my library app, (because you know I don’t have enough books to review), I thought I had to read that!

Body Language is an unusual crime thriller with a paranormal twist. First, we have our sleuth Cassie Raven, who’s a mortuary assistant rather than the usual either pathologist or police officer. Then the author added a bit of the supernatural, in the form of the dead speaking to Cassie, which made it a unique and memorable read.

 Cassie and Flyte are fantastic characters who on the surface you think are very different. Cassie is a little Gothic with tattoos, piercings and a habit of talking to the dead bodies she looks after. She’s also a bit of a free spirit, not letting anyone or anything hold her down. Flyte on the other hand has just moved to London and is finding it a little hard to fit in. She is very uptight and a little OCD. The pair together was the perfect foil for each other, and I really warmed to both characters (although it took me a little longer to warm to Flyte!).  

There was a lot going on in this book, as we have mysteries but these were also wrapped up alongside Cassie and Flyte’s day to day which got a bit much to keep straight in my head but didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story overall.

I really hope this turns out to be a series and I look forward to reading more from these characters!

About The Author (taken from goodreads):

AKA Anya Lipska 

A K Turner likes to create memorable characters, throw them into unusual settings, and add a hefty dose of murder and a twisty-turny plot. Her latest book, Body Language, introduces a new kind of forensic heroine – a crime-solving Goth-girl mortuary technician who talks to the dead, a character first launched in two crime shorts aired on BBC Radio 4. A K’s previous series, written under the pen name Anya Lipska, starred a London-based Polish fixer who’s happy to crack heads to solve crimes – which saw her being selected for Val McDermid’s prestigious New Blood Panel at Harrogate Crime Festival in 2012.

A K (aka Ali) lives in East London where she is writing more mortuary-set mysteries. Her day job is producing TV documentaries on true crime and science topics. And just for light relief she is training to be a City of London guide…

Read more about A K’s books over at www.anyalipska.com where you can sign up to her newsletter for news and giveaways.

Forgotten Lives (A DCI Stirling Investigation #2) by Ray Britain #Forgotten_Lives @ray_britain @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #BlogTour

Hello lovelies! Today on my blog, I have an exclusive excerpt from Ray Britain’s latest novel Forgotten Lives as part of the blog tour organised by Emma at Damppebbles Blog tours but first a little about the book:

Title: Forgotten Lives by Ray Britain

Date Published: 10th January 2021

Genre: Police Procedural 

Description:

A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn. 


But what linked the victims in life, and now in death? 


When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years apart, but all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear. The killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them? 


Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast! 


Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems? Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!


As Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.

Excerpt:

Prologue

The rider’s eyes flinched warily as the door was opened by a woman. Behind her, a floodtide of music tumbled and cursed its way down the stairs to join battle with noise blaring from a half-open door at the far end of the hallway. The air around them pulsed under the throb of a penetrating bass beat. 

Unable to hear the rider speak, the woman shook her head and walked to the foot of the stairs where she drew in a deep breath and hurled her words upwards, ‘’Wayne! Turn that bloody music down!’ 

The music continued.

She looked at the delivery rider, rolled her eyes and shouted harshly down the hallway. ‘Mickey! It’s a pizza delivery. You ordered pizzas?’

There was no answer, and no one appeared. 

With a hissed obscenity she turned and left the helmeted rider standing at the door, two pizza cartons resting in the crook of an arm, as she walked barefoot along the hallway where she pushed open the door. A fresh blast of excited screams from a television show swept along the hallway and pushed past the rider, out into the street. 

The rider glanced back down the driveway, concerned that the noise might draw the attention of neighbours or a passer-by. 

An aggressive exchange of words was followed by the appearance of a broad-shouldered man in an open-neck shirt drawn tight over his muscled bulk. Around his neck hung a heavy gold chain, half-hidden amongst a mat of dark curly hair. He glared belligerently at the leather-clad figure in the porch, tossed an abusive remark at the woman and swaggered towards the door with the bow-shouldered gait of a body builder. 

Mickey McBride stood in front of the delivery rider and stared hard into the flat, impenetrable eyes that gazed at him from behind the half-raised visor of the crash helmet. 

‘Who are you?’ demanded McBride, aggressively. ‘I ain’t order no pizzas!’

Balancing the boxes on one arm, the rider held up a delivery note as explanation. 

‘I only delivers them mate. Two pizzas for a Mickey McBride at this address, all paid for. That you?’ 

Behind McBride, the woman leant against the door frame, watching the television while glancing occasionally towards the front door until a roar of laughter drew her into the room and out of sight. Seemingly oblivious to the noise around him, McBride’s  nostrils flared at the smell of hot cheese and spiced meats. He swallowed instinctively as his eyes slid greedily to the boxes. 

‘Paid for, you say?’ he demanded, and looked back at the eyes above the neckerchief. 

The rider nodded, tucked the delivery slip into a pocket of the leather jacket and held the boxes out for McBride to take. 

McBride gave a sly grin. ‘Well, seems a shame to let ‘em go to waste,’ and put out his hands to receive the boxes. As he did so his eyes narrowed suspiciously, and he peered over the motor-cyclist’s shoulder. 

‘Ain’t you a bit old to be delivering pizzas? Where’s your bike?’ 

The rider let the boxes tilt forwards. Instinctively, McBride grabbed for his falling prize with both hands. 

He barely saw the rider’s right hand strike upwards. Barely registered the blow to his ribs as thin, cold steel parted flesh and muscle to pierce his heart, where it was deftly twisted, then withdrawn with a soft, sucking noise. 

McBride did feel an explosion of pain fill his chest. The immediate, overwhelming loss of control.  Still  clutching the boxes, he gulped fish-like for air that would not come and fell to his knees. The rider bent forward and spoke into the dying man’s ear. 

Bewildered, McBride looked up into the blue eyes studying him with a cold detachment. A faint glimmer of recognition flickered briefly in McBride’s eyes but was extinguished as his ruined heart emptied, and he pitched forward across the threshold of his home.

The helmeted figure stepped aside and stared down the hall, the knife ready. The woman was still out of sight. Another swell of noise washed down the hallway and over the prone body, smothering the soft snap of a blade being returned to its concealed sheath. 

The rider pulled down the visor, turned, and walked away. Nearby, a motorcycle was started quietly and slowly ridden away. 

A woman’s scream tore the air.

If that has piqued your interest, you can buy your copy here:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3fvjmtg 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kYeT3u 

About The Author:

Ray Britain’s second novel ‘Forgotten Lives’ follows closely on from ‘The Last Thread’ (2017) with a new investigation for DCI Doug Stirling, the toughest of his career. 

As a police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator – a voluntary role –  responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. His roles took him to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, receiving Commendations in recognition for his work.

Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader at the heart of a complex, fast moving investigation with all of its uncertainties, stresses  and frustrations, and of the dark, bitter sadness’s of people’s lives. 

Ray also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and with the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate. 

When not writing, Ray might be found mountain hiking, following rugby, skiing, reading, sailing, or generally keeping fit..

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ray_britain 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raybritain.author/ 

Website: http://www.raybritain.com/

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

#BookReview Murder On The Dance Floor (Kitty Underhay 4) by Helena Dixon #CozyMystery

Title: Murder On The Dance Floor (Kitty Underhay 4) by Helena Dixon

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 28th October 2020

Genre: Historical Cozy Mystery

Description:

Kitty Underhay’s dance card is full… of death.

November 1933. Amateur sleuth-cum-dutiful granddaughter Kitty Underhay stifles a sigh of boredom as she attends the annual Hotelier’s Association Dinner and Dance on behalf of her grandmother, the proprietress of the Dolphin Hotel. She hopes the company of ex-army captain Matthew Bryant will enliven the otherwise dull evening. That is, until bullish and overbearing local councillor Harold Everton drops dead into his bowl of consommé.

While the local police are still scrambling for their whistles, Kitty and Matt waste no time leaping into action. Soon they find themselves caught up a dangerous search to uncover who amongst the distinguished guests used cyanide for seasoning? 

When their digging throws light on a corruption scandal brewing in the local council involving Everton’s assistant Thomas King, they are sure they’ve cracked the case. But before he can be questioned further, King’s body is found in a smouldering car wreck. Meanwhile, the murderer has made a sinister plan to avoid detection or punishment, and it will lead Kitty and Matt into a dangerous dance with death… 

A fast, fun and utterly unputdownable Golden Age cozy murder mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss. 

Review:

I missed this book back in October and as I know the next in the series is coming out soon, so I thought I’d better catch up!

Murder On The Dance Floor is a well written cozy mystery that just pulled me in from the very beginning.

This series is just so good, every book has a strong story line and that classic mystery feel. It’s just crying out for a TV adaptation!  

I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series rather than diving straight into this one as there is a secondary storyline, to do with Kitty’s missing mother, that runs over each of the books and is particularly important as you read this book. 

Kitty and Matthew are in fine form in this story, I’m glad they’re working together a bit more rather than Matthew trying to shield Kitty too much. Their relationship moves to the next stage through the novel, which I’m so happy for!

I felt that I forgot about the main mystery, a little distracted by Kitty’s breakthroughs when it came to her missing mother, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment that much.

I’m so happy I don’t have to wait too long for the next in the series, Murder at the Belltower, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kitty and Matthew.

About The Author:

Nell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.nelldixon.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nell.dixon

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/NellDixon

#GuestPost Mirror In Time by D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun #scifi #theology #philosophy #politicalthriller #MirrorInTime #excerpt

So today I have a long time supporter of my blog and all round lovely author David Ellis Overttun for a very special guest post which includes an excerpt from his upcoming novel Mirror in time which is the fourth book in the Terra Nova series which will be released this year. Now over to David:

I first met LJ when I used to be on Twitter. (I have now turned that over to my wife, Natasha.) At the time, I was a totally unknown author. How would I know? When I did a search of “Overttun”, I would get “Do you mean: overturn” — period. I can proudly say that now I am a relatively unknown author. Do the same search now, and you get the same “Do you mean: overturn”. But, now at least, there are some search results. How will I know when I’m known? When I just get the search results. (Do a search for “rowling”. You don’t get “Do you mean: rowing”. Although, I bet there was a time when you did.)

LJ is the poster child for open minded and supportive. With all the great books and authors out there, who would give someone just starting out a second glance? She is also the reason why my covers are so sharp. During our correspondence, after I finished my first book, Universe: Awakening, she said (and I’m paraphrasing), “you might want to get a more eye-catching cover.” Being charitable was an understatement. So, I turned that part of the book over to Natasha, and we’ve gone from…

To..

What a difference!

Anyway…

With all that’s been going on in the world right now, I’ve been finding it hard to set aside the time to finish my 4th book, Mirror in Time. I’ve been doing some ARC guest posts of some of the opening chapters to put pressure on me to finish. LJ has been so kind to assist me in this kick-in-the-pants endeavor with this guest post. So, many thanks! (Also, an FYI. It’s working. Just before Xmas, I sat down and wrote about half of chapter 12 of the paperback version. Only 2-½ chapters to go!)

* * * * *

Our story so far…

As night falls, a transport flies toward a towering mountain range. Stars that should fill the sky are obscured by a random patchwork of contrails.

Ribbons in the Sky | Natasha Evelyn Overttun

AV Sundog comes under attack tantalizingly close to its destination and, its lone passenger, Prefect Godvina, is now recovering in the Observatory’s medical facilities. While she has not sustained any physical injuries, the stress caused by the evasive maneuvers have caused her aura to contract. The attending physician expects she will return to normal in a few days, but an individual known as the “Advisor” draws attention to the emotional impact of her current condition. The Director of the Observatory agrees, but his concern seems to go beyond the clinical interest of the two medical professionals. This is personal. Just how personal is revealed when he turns his scrutiny to the pilot of the atmospheric vehicle, Agent Thalia, exiling her and the two escort pilots, call signs: Avenger and Golden Boy, from the facility.

Before departing, Thalia goes to a bar known as “No Man’s Land” to take the edge off. There, she meets Avenger and Golden Boy. They advise her they need to file a report of the incident. And now, ARC eChapter 2: “History”.

* * * * *

Godvina opened her eyes. Her vision was blurred, and all she could make out was fuzzy pale-gold light. She was stiff and sore. “Where am I?” she thought. Her first answer would have been AV Sundog. The last thing she remembered was passing out during an inverted dive. But she was now in a reclined position lying on what she could only assume was a bed. Her vision slowly began to clear. She was in a medical capsule.

“Uncover.”

A holographic cover receded to either side. Around her was dimly illuminated, and there was a pale-gold light off to her right.

“My love!” Jo’el said as he rushed to her side. He grasped her hand and kissed it. “You are awake. Raise light. How do you feel?”

The room gradually became illuminated with simulated daylight at a rate that matched the ability of her eyes to adjust.

“I…I am fine. I guess. What am I doing here?”

“You came under attack.”

“Really?”

“Yes, that is the preliminary report from Agent Thalia. You appear to have passed out during her evasive maneuvers.”

“Now, I remember! That bitch went out of her way to do this to me! Maneuvers my ass!” 

As she rose to get out of the capsule, she noticed her aura. “What happened to my corona?!”

“Dr. Kyros says it has retracted…”

“What?!”

“But it is only temporary. A few days at most.”

“A few days?!”

“Please, my love, calm yourself.”

“I will show you calm!” She stood and faced him, her full, thick, strawberry-red hair cascading on her shoulders. Her piercing blue eyes were malevolently transfixed on him. 

“How is that?” she said with stone-cold calm.

“Very calm.” Jo’el had seen this many times before. He had learned to stay out of her way until the storm had passed.

“Clothing. Computer, link with Agent Thalia, voice-only.”

A section of one of the walls, the height of a closet, opened into the room.

“Where are my clothes?”

“They are in laundry services.”

“Cannot link.”

“Emergency notification. Why are they there?”

“Well…they were a bit…”

Then, she remembered and erupted with a howl of anger.

“Unable to link with Agent Thalia. Her nexus appears to be nonoperational.”

“Fucking coward! Computer, current location, Agent Thalia.”

“Agent Thalia has just departed Building K, Chi Mesa.”

“Godvina, you cannot leave looking like this.”

She turned and faced him with a look that sent a chill up his spine. Then, something quite unexpected happened.

“Mirror, full length,” he quickly said. “Look, you are back to normal.”

“So, I can leave?” she asked sarcastically.

“Yes, yes, of course.” 

“Good. Get me something to wear!”

* * * * *

The three agents made their way to a secure room, a hardened location buried deep in the mesa protected by biometric security, anti-surveillance measures and sensors to detect changes in air quality and temperature.

“Agents Mica’el, Gabri’el and Thalia with a secure link to Prefect Tarsus,” Mica’el said.

Tarsus was the prefect at the Ministry of Defense and Security in charge of intelligence and their direct superior. They each stood at attention and bowed as his hologram appeared before them.

“Good even to you,” he said, returning their bows. “Report.”

“I have safely transported Prefect Godvina to the designated terminus. However, it was not without incident. It has resulted in some complications.”

“Explain.”

“As per our orders, Gabri’el and I provided covert escort. En route, we encountered six Gendu AVs, fighter class,” Mica’el replied. 

“They appear to be a new, more advanced design, able to penetrate military-grade camouflage,” Thalia said. Then, something occurred to her. “How is it they were unable to see you?” she asked, looking at Mica’el. “As a matter of fact, how is it I was unable to see you?”

“Let us just say that some adjustments were made to reduce the effectiveness of your instrumentation before you left for Jomo,” Tarsus interjected unapologetically.

“We were bait?! And you said nothing?!” she exclaimed, giving Mica’el then Gabri’el a dirty-look.

“Come, come, Thalia,” Tarsus said with a smile, “you know things such as this come with the territory. Your callsign is ‘Wind Goddess’, is it not? The best fighter pilot we have, no? Or did I make the wrong choice for this mission?”

“No, of course not, sir.” While she may have felt compromised, how could she have responded any other way?

“You all appear to be in one piece. I take it the mission was a success.”

“You were correct, sir. Misleading information of an AV, apparently unescorted, with you on board was sufficient to draw out dissident Gendu elements,” Gabri’el replied. “They were unmarked with masked transponders, but we inflicted sufficient damage to down all of the hostiles. I would imagine there should be enough wreckage to identify the source. Also, all the pilots ejected. We should have them in custody in due course.”

“Excellent!”

“However, sir, my passenger has suffered certain complications.”

“Specify.”

“Her corona has retracted.”

“Really?” Tarsus said with a smile. “And that is a bad thing?”

“She is very upset.”

“And that is a bad thing?”

All of a sudden, the doors opened, and Godvina stormed in. “Get out!”

The agents were taken by surprise. Secure rooms were supposed to be inviolate.

“How did you…” Thalia started to say.

“I SAID, ‘GET OUT’!”

The three looked toward Tarsus, who nodded his head, and they departed.

“Good even to you, Prefect Godvina. I hope you are well,” he said calmly.

“Cut the crap, Tarsus. You know exactly how well I am. You vindictive bastard. You set me up!”

“On the contrary, it was a covert operation, sanctioned at the highest level, designed to draw out dissident elements within the Gendu. I had my best pilot at the helm of your AV and my best operatives as your escorts. You were never in any danger.”

“Your intent was not to put me in harm’s way. It was to humiliate me! You know how flight disagrees with me!”

“Yes, Agent Thalia mentioned a contracted corona, but she must have been mistaken. It looks perfectly normal to me…a little small perhaps.”

An individual’s corona was the dominant factor in determining position and status in Celesti society. Size mattered, the bigger the better. High-ranking officials in the various ministries had visible auras that continued downward past their shoulders, ending at their waists. Governing Council members had visible auras that surrounded their entire bodies. Godvina had a corona that was above average, more than adequate to allow her to rise to the level of prefect, reporting to Minister of Science Janus, himself. The ‘observation’ was an obvious slight.

“Are you sure? My corona is full…robust. How could I be a prefect otherwise?” 

She wore a pale-yellow, two-piece suit that was standard dress for almost everyone in the Ministry of Science. She undid her single-button, lapelless jacket. Grasping each front panel, she slowly parted the garment affording Tarsus a more complete view of the white, mandarin-collar shirt underneath. While not busty, there was enough of a protrusion in the material to cause his eyes to widen slightly.

“You better have your vision checked, my dear. Have a closer look. I think you are mistaken…What was that?” she asked touching her index finger to her ear. “Cat got your tongue?” She glanced downward then back up at him and made a gesture as if she were biting her lower lip. “From your reaction, it looks like you are not getting any since I left you. I wish I could say the same, but alas…I cannot. I have learned many things in the intervening time…the Gendu way for example.”

The “Gendu way” was the common term for sexual relations through physical contact.

“Of course, I am sure you are well-acquainted with that. Having once been a guardian, you must have made many forays into the Pleasure District.” She paused for effect. “Mmmm…touching…feeling…” she said in a low, throaty voice, slowly closing her eyes briefly, “you well know how I found those things…disgusting. But…I have recently changed my mind. How unfortunate…FOR YOU!” She snapped her jacket closed. “End link!”

* * * * *

Thalia, Mica’el and Gabri’el waited apprehensively in the corridor, wondering what to do. Tarsus had given them leave, but it was not the same thing as being dismissed.

“How did she do that?” Gabri’el asked, referring to Godvina’s entrance.

“I have no idea,” Thalia replied. “But entering a secure room like that is no small thing. Where did she learn that?”

“It is a security risk. Should we take her in for questioning?” Mica’el wondered.

“A prefect? Are you crazy?” Thalia exclaimed. “Talk about a career-ending move. But, if you are intent on suicide, Avenger, I shall step aside,” she said, making a gesture with her hand in the direction of the secure room door.

“The rumors must be true,” Gabri’el mused.

The implication was that Godvina had learned how to break the seal from someone…someone high up in security.

“A conclusion we should all keep to ourselves,” Thalia cautioned, “along with the bitch goddess’ entrance.”

The door to the secure room suddenly opened, and Godvina casually emerged. “Your master calls,” she said with a calm, icy stare before continuing down the corridor.

The three entered an empty room.

“We better get back to him,” Mica’el said. “Agents Mica’el, Gabri’el and Thalia with a secure link to Prefect Tarsus.”

They each again stood at attention and bowed as the hologram of Tarsus appeared before them.

“There is just one more thing I have to report,” Thalia said, acting as if nothing unusual had recently transpired.

“Continue.”

“Director Jo’el has ordered us off Jomo. I understand he does not have the authority but…”

“In the interests of maintaining good inter-ministerial relations…I understand completely. Mica’el, Gabri’el, I place you in charge of the investigation of the hostiles. Thalia, find a suitable location close to Jomo to park your ship then return and keep Prefect Godvina under close covert surveillance.”

“So, the rumors are true,” she thought. Was his order something trivial to keep tabs on the remnants of a spoiled relationship or something more? She had to be sure. “Sir, is there anything in particular I should be looking for?” 

“Yes, as you know, the first permanent streak across our skies appeared about 70 years ago. Since then, they have only grown in number. At the same time, Arkos has experienced increasing climatic and seismic activity that has placed a strain on the planet’s resources and economy.

“Director Jo’el’s work on space-time cosmology made him the most logical person to lead efforts to find a solution to this problem. Prefect Godvina is in charge of the Cosmological Data Collection and Compilation Center, and it would be natural for her to be working closely with him. What makes this unusual is that they are meeting at Jomo, in fact that they are meeting at all. Director Jo’el does visit the Ministry ziggurat in Eden. As you well know, face-to-face meetings are only reserved for issues of the most sensitive nature. None were stated on her visitation request. I think they are hiding something, and I want to know what it is.”

Thalia interpreted “face-to-face” to mean “intimate”. “Ugh, this is personal, a royal pain in the ass. But, on the other hand, should be an easy assignment. If I find something juicy, I might even get a commendation in my file,” she thought. 

“Understood, sir. I will require access to her nexus and identification of any nexus that comes to within standard proximity.”

“Already initiated.”

“It would also be ideal if I could tag her.”

Such access would allow Thalia to monitor everything facilitated by Godvina’s nexus. A tag was a device about the size of a button placed on the back of the neck. Enabled by an invisible film affixed to the nexus, it would also allow the Agent to listen in on any conversation within close proximity to Godvina.

“Ideal but not feasible. She is a prefect. Her aura will make it impossible for you to install the tag without her knowledge. This will have to suffice.”

“Understood, sir.”

* * * * *

So, now we see the reason for Jo’el’s concern. He and the recovering patient are an item. My original title for this chapter was “Fire and Ice” to describe the dichotomy of Godvina’s personality. (Who knows? Maybe, I still will. After all, this is an ARC.) However, I settled on “History” because it speaks to the former relationship between our fiery prefect and Tarsus. 

Just an FYI, the part where Godvina torments Tarsus was inspired by the Seinfeld episode “The Implant” with Teri Hatcher.

We also learn the reason for Godvina’s visit to the Observatory. She is a scientist, here to investigate the composition of the night sky. 

As always, I have asked Natasha for a visual to go along with the post. In the past, she would find something in one of the chapters for inspiration then I would do the wwit. For Mirror, I decided we would go in chronological order. So, to give her something to hang her hat on, I said, “Show me how you feel when (on those rare, almost nonexistent, can’t-remember-the-last-time-it-happened occasions) I piss you off.” Here is her thought.

Anger | Natasha Evelyn Overttun

Thank you David for that lovely post and your kind words, it means a lot!

If that was interesting for you here are some more guest posts both for Mirror in time and for previous books in the series:

“Prologue” posted on Witty and Sacrastic Bookclub     

ARC eChapter 1 – “Debriefing and Consultation” posted on From Belgium With Book Love   

Series Overview:

Artist Q&A posted on Witty and Sacrastic Bookclub

Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews

Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole

Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love

Friday Night Drinks posted on A Little Book Problem

Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog

Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews

Cover Reveal Prophecy: Eve of Darkness posted on Witty and Sacrastic Bookclub   

Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary

Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole 

Themes in Prophecy: Eve of Darkness posted on The Bookwormery 

For a deeper dive:

Universe:  Awakening  

Genesis:  Vision of the New World

Prophecy: Eve of Darkness  

Through My Wife, Natasha, on Twitter: @neoverttun

Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany A. Tucker #BookReview @rararesources

Title: Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany A. Tucker

Date Published: 26th December 2020

Genre: Non Fiction/ Writing

Description:

Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?

If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask?  Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books. 

In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place. 

Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:

– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Plot.
– Backstory
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers. 


Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world. 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ

US – https://www.amazon.com/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ 

Review:

I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

Editing your novel’s structure is a beginner’s guide to structural edits, as someone who’s never quite mastered editing in any way shape or form, you just have to see how many typos I have in my reviews, I was eager to see what advice this book had for me.

This book concentrates on the first stage of editing, structure. It covers character, plot, back story and point of view are all covered and there’s even some advice to do with beta readers and getting feedback on your work.

This book was chock-full of help hints and questions to ask yourself while you’re going through your manuscript. I found the checklists particularly helpful, in fact I was going through the character section and I realised a few things about my current work in progress which helped improve the story. 

I will say this, the book is just a guide, it will not tell you exactly what you should or shouldn’t do but it will point you in the right direction.

It is also not an exhaustive book on editing, but the author recommends some further reading, which is a great help.

Editing your novel’s structure is a handy little book that I would recommend to any novice editors out there.

About The Author:

Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com. 

Social Media Links –   theartandscienceofwords.com, mustangrabbit.com

Single Mother by Samantha Hayes @bookouture @samhayes #BooksOnTour #BookReview #PublicationDay

Title: Single Mother by Samantha Hayes 

Date Published: 5th January 2021

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

I will do anything to protect my daughter. She’s all I’ve ever wanted and all I really have, but the moment I opened that letter and accepted the inheritance, I walked us right into a dangerous trap.

I know I should have got her to tell me who she’s been talking to on the phone late at night, and where she was the day I went to pick her up from school and couldn’t find her, but she’s not spoken a word since she found that little pile of bones buried in the garden.

And now she’s missing…

A jaw-dropping, addictive and totally twisty psychological thriller that will have you sleeping with the light on! Perfect for anyone who loved The Girl on the Train, Friend Request or The Wife Between Us.  

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/37kxIdp

Apple: http://apple.co/34wLg2L

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3jHlLCA

Google: http://bit.ly/3lj7xYO

Review:

I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mel is struggling financially, so when an unexpected inheritance of a hotel falls into her lap she jumps on it as a new chance for her and her daughter Kate, away from Birmingham and the shadow of her ex. When they get there, she finds a dilapidated hotel and a very strange guest, then Mel’s problems get even worse as Kate disappears.

Single Mother was a fast-paced read with some really emotional themes running throughout.

Mel was a likeable, if a little naïve. She’s damaged from her past experiences but still is a caring person who tries her best even if things are stacked against her. The relationship between her and Kate was well done, with Mel’s reluctance to be entirely honest with her daughter and that instinct to protect her.

There are some strong emotional threads running through the book, motherhood being at the forefront of course, but there’s also loss and abandonment in there too.

I can’t say too much more because I don’t want to give away spoilers but I felt the story got stronger when Mel and Kate arrived at the hotel, with its air of neglect and locals who you’re not sure if you can trust or not.

I felt I wanted a bit more from the book; it got a little predictable at times, even though there were a few shocks along the way.

Single Mother is perfect if you’re looking for a quick read with a good cast of mostly likeable characters.

About The Author:

Samantha Hayes grew up in a creative family where her love of writing began as a child. Samantha has written eight thrillers in total, including the bestselling Until You’re Mine. The Independent said “fantastically written and very tense” while Good Housekeeping said “Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping.” Samantha’s books are published in 22 languages at the last count.

When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy. She has three grown-up children and lives in Warwickshire.

https://www.samanthahayes.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor/

Forgotten Victim by Helen H. Durrant @hhdurrant @JoffeBooks #BookReview #BlogTour

Title: Forgotten Victim by Helen H. Durrant

Publisher: Joffe Books

Date Published: 29th December 2020

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

MEET DETECTIVE RACHEL KING IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW CRIME SERIES.

A BRAND NEW MYSTERY FROM #1 BEST-SELLING AUTHOR HELEN H. DURRANT THAT WILL HAVE YOU GRIPPED FROM START TO PULSATING FINISH.

The decomposed remains of a body are found entombed in the depths of a disused Manchester cotton mill. Detective Rachel King is called in to investigate the grisly discovery.

IF NO ONE KNOWS THE VICTIM, HOW CAN YOU CATCH THE KILLER?

With gunshot wounds to the knees, this was no accident. This was murder. But the question is: was this a gangland killing or a murder motivated by a deadly secret closer to home?

With the help of DS Elwyn Price, Rachel must follow the evidence where it takes her. But who can she trust? And who in this notorious area knows more than they’re admitting to?

Meanwhile, Rachel has a huge secret of her own. How long can she keep her pregnancy from her colleagues before she has to face up to the reality of her relationship with the shadowy character Jed McAteer?

Can Rachel uncover the dark secrets of the past and catch the killer — before anyone else dies?

A MYSTERY FULL OF STUNNING TWISTS

Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.

What readers are saying about HELEN H. DURRANT

“I couldn’t put it down.” Barbara

“This new series by Helen H. Durrant certainly has got off to a thrilling start.” Viv

“If you want a book to get your teeth into, this is the one. A massive 5*.” Greta

“Another fast-paced murder mystery.” Aileen

“The writing was top notch and the characters were very real.” Kat

THE DETECTIVE
DCI Rachel King. Mother of two teenage daughters. Divorced from Alan. She lives in the Cheshire village of Poynton – about ten miles from central Manchester. She is good at her job, gets results but does make mistakes. One of them was getting involved with a budding villain in her teens. No one — family, friends or colleagues know the truth about this.

ALSO BY HELEN H. DURRANT
RACHEL KING
Book 1: Next Victim
Book 2: Two Victims
Book 3: Wrong Victim
Book 4: FORGOTTEN VICTIM

THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES
Book 1: DEAD WRONG
Book 2: DEAD SILENT
Book 3: DEAD LIST
Book 4: DEAD LOST
Book 5: DEAD & BURIED
Book 6: DEAD NASTY
Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS
Book 8: DEAD BAD
Book 9: DEAD GUILTY

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS
Book 1: DARK MURDER
Book 2: DARK HOUSES
Book 3: DARK TRADE
Book 4: DARK ANGEL

Review:

I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw for inviting me on this blog tour and Joffe Books for providing me with a copy of Forgotten Victim in exchange for an honest review.

This is the fourth in the Rachel King series but it can easily be read as a standalone but I would suggest reading the previous novel as some of the storyline carries over.

A couple of kids find a decomposing body entombed under the derelict Shawcross Mill. Rachel is called in to investigate but with no I.D. and residents too scared to talk she and her team have a hard job ahead of them.

Forgotten Victim is a well-written police procedural as I’ve come to expect from Helen H. Durrant.

I still love the character of Rachel with a personal life almost as complicated as the cases she investigates. She is still standing in the way of her own happiness and making things harder for herself as usual.

I will say I wasn’t all that shocked by the culprit but what really kept me going was finding out the killers motive, that was a bit of a surprise!

Forgotten Victim is a fast paced mystery that really pulled me and didn’t let me go.

About The Author:

OVER 750,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

Twitter @hhdurrant

Facebook       https://www.facebook.com/helen.durrant.12

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calladine-Bayliss-Detective-Novels/614047648616619?ref=hl

Website  https://www.helenhdurrant.co.uk/

Reading Goals 2021 #BookBlogger #amreading

Hello lovelies! Usually this time of year I do some resolutions or some such for writing and reading but frankly I looked at my 2020 goals and well I achieved bugger all of them. Okay it was mainly because I forgot about them completely but still it wasn’t a great feeling reading them back. So for 2021 I’m doing things a bit different and keeping it simple with some reading goals.

First I’m setting my Goodreads goal at 100. I set it at 120 last year and that was a struggle and a half!

Second I’m going to try and clear that pesky NetGalley back list, in particular reviewing all the eleven books I’ve had on my shelf since 2018. Yes they’ve been gathering dust on there for three whole years.

And that’s it! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know! Also if you’ve reviewed them, leave the links below xx

Thank you for reading and I hope 2021 is better for everyone xx

Top 15 Books of 2020 #BookBlogger #Bookrecommendations

Hello lovelies! Now I know usually people do top ten or top twenty of the year but I couldn’t narrow down my selections to ten and I feel that twenty is a few too many which is why I’ve end up with fifteen! In no particular order:

So there you have it my top fifteen! Have you read any of these? What did you think?