Welcome to the blog tour for Make it a Double, a collection of humorous and gritty poetry by Randall McNair! There’s also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card (see bottom of post)!
Title: Make it a Double
Publication Date: February 7th, 2021
Genre: Poetry/ Bar Poems/ Non-Fiction
A mug of beer. A tumbler of whiskey. Relish the results of one poet’s reflections during his never-ending journey to the bottom of his glass.
When the status quo seems overwhelmingly bleak, a shooter of something strong can lift the mood. So it’s no surprise that this tome brimming with honesty is best served alongside the hair of the dog that inspired it. And down its path through darkness toward low-key revelation, this book for adult readers inspires laughter to ease the pain and peculiarities that accompany ordinary existence.
Embracing booze as his mistress and life’s absurdities as his muse, award-winning poet Randall McNair crafts a series of evocative pictures from his routine perch on a barstool. Refusing to shy away from the lows of the human condition, his blunt words cut to the heart of everyday struggles.
If you’ve ever spent time pondering existence through a bottle, the touch of blue in McNair’s paired despair and optimism will strike a chord.
Make it a Double is the humorous second volume in the Bar Poems series of gritty verse. If you have a raw love for life, raunchy rhymes, and creative drinking, then you’ll adore Randall McNair’s unique slant on poetry.
Randall McNair, described by his inner circle as Poet Laureate of the Absurd, spent the better part of a decade drinking himself silly at the Swinging Door Saloon in Tustin, California. While there, he was inspired to put pen to paper by a combination of Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Sharon Olds & the muse at large. His Poetry CV includes a BA in English (Creative Writing) from CSU Long Beach in 2002, the 2002 Key West Literary Seminar’s Advanced Poetry Workshop with Sharon Olds, the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar’s Advanced Poetry Workshop with Billy Collins and the 2019 Southampton Writers Conference 10-day Advanced Poetry Workshop also with Billy Collins. McNair’s work has been published in both American and Canadian literary journals. He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife and young son.
Hello lovelies! Today I have a Q&A with author Alison Burke as part of the blog tour for her new book Search For The House Of Dreams organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. First a little about the book:
Title: Search For The House Of Dreams by Alison Burke
Date Published: 14th June 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears.
Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there.
Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover.
To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris.
Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?
It is a historical novel, told in the first person by 19yr old Genevre who strives to keep her younger sisters safe when their father dies and their mother deserts them. When love, with a cost, comes to all three, her sisters surrender willingly but Genevre, beautiful, clever and just a little bit ruthless, finds another way. This is a stand-alone novel, but a sequel is possible.
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
From bits of family history, usually hushed up, and from an interest in the place of women in the English theatre of the late 19th century, as well as other aspects of their life at a time when women’s rights were negligible.
If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?
When their family falls from grace, what lengths must the beautiful, spirited elder daughter go to in order to save her siblings from disaster?
What is a typical writing day like for you?
Immediately after getting dressed and drinking one cup of excellent coffee, I work on my current novel for about two hours, having read first several pages of yesterday’s work to get into the right mindset. More coffee, a couple more hours of writing or relevant admin and finish. Lunch. While I do housework and gardening I often rehearse ongoing scenes and may get them written in the evening.
If you could recommend just one book to read, what would it be and why? Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fanny Flagg. When I first read it, over thirty years ago, I thought it was just a funny book. Recently rereading it, I found it examined friendship, women’s aging, lesbianism, justification for murder, euthanasia, the importance community and the dehumanising effects of racism on white as well as black people. It was still a funny book.
Who are your favourite authors?
Marion Keyes, Jojo Moynes, Robert Harris.
Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job?
I am a retired health professional.
Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)My age, but I’m not going to say what it is.
What are you currently working on?
A stand-alone romantic novel set in in the English county of Devon in the early 19th century
This is the Regency period but, though set among the land owning class, there are no rakish Dukes awaiting salvation by the love of a good woman or any of the familiar tropes of that much exploited and enjoyed period of English history.
About The Author:
I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.
Hello lovelies! Today I have a Book Spotlight for the debut novel Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone as part of the Write Reads Ultimate blog tour.
Title: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone
Date Published: 20th April 2021
Publisher: Scribner Books
Twelve years ago my life began again.
But it was a lie.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.
We’re celebrating the release of the Deep State Down series this week with the release of Hard Way Home and Dark Road Back, by Dana Fraser! Read on to find out more about the books and an excerpt too:
Title: Hard Way Home (Deep Down State #1) by Dana Fraser
Date Published: June 1st, 2021
Genre: Post- Apocalyptic/ Survivor Thriller
Two strangers. Almost no chance of survival. Even less hope. When a massive cyber breach hits every U.S. hydroelectric station just as the Gulf Coast refineries are decimated by a volatile storm, the attack knocks out the nation’s entire power supply, instantly throwing America into a deadly new dark age.
For Army veteran Cash Bishop, getting back to his family before it’s too late becomes a fight to survive in a race against time. His only ally? A brilliant energy scientist who may be the only person still alive with more things to be afraid of than the impending apocalypse.
Dr. Hannah Carter doesn’t know who’s after her or when she became a target. But getting captured is not an option. Seems the stranger she meets on her dangerous cross-country trek is the only person she can trust now to help get her home. And keep her alive.
With chaos escalating and the country on the brink of collapse, Cash and Hannah need to figure out who executed the attacks on the U.S. power grid, and why these people are so willing to kill him to get to her.
Chapter 7: Moonlight Massacre
Navigating a wide berth around the Effingham Memorial Airport without winding up in the crosshairs of a farmer or other local resident was tricky. The land around the airport was mostly open fields, which would leave Cash in plain view of anyone at the airport with a scope or set of binoculars.
Coming to the railroad tracks, he followed them south, hoping the trees that lined the east side and the tracks’ embankment would shield him from the view of any soldiers. At the same time, no one could get an itchy trigger finger because he was trespassing.
The rough gravel combined with the weight of his pack made the walk treacherous. Worry over being spotted by a soldier, cops or some FEMA lackey made it exhausting.
Damn! He couldn’t believe the government was already confiscating items—and in a little nothing place like Effingham.
The thought made his gut tight as he mulled over the proximity of Fort Campbell to the Dover homestead.
Best not go there, his mind cautioned.
His gut didn’t listen.
There were a lot of things about the Dover location that were great. Most importantly, the land had been in his price range with all the needed features. To live independently, they needed an existing structure to house them, a fresh water source, a means of heating their buildings, and enough land to grow food on. The old farmhouse on a little over fifty acres had its own well, a pond already stocked with bass and channel catfish, and a stream that cut the property neatly in half. Mostly covered in timber with only a few existing pastures, the trees he and Marie had cleared for planting had seen them through two winters with more than a lifetime of wood for their modest needs remaining to be harvested.
But there were flaws, too. No matter how much Cash might indulge in reading articles or novels about some kind of global, or at least American collapse, he hadn’t assigned the scenario an imminent probability. His primary concern had been getting Marie and the kids out of larger cities overrun with the kind of criminals that had killed her husband Greg. He would have preferred several hundred miles between the homestead and any large concentration of males, like the prisons in both Nashville and just over the border in Kentucky or the Army base that straddled the line of both states.
It is what it is. Stop thinking. Stay focused on the now.
Cash nodded at the self-imposed order. He’d seen too many guys catch a bullet on patrol because they were thinking about problems back home. Most of them had been lucky and survived. The insurgents who had shot at them had, to a man, looked like Swiss cheese at the end, if there was anything left of them to see.
Easing into a sitting position, Cash pulled out a protein bar and uncapped one of his waters. He was halfway through the bottles he had refilled at the truck stop in Effingham. When they were gone, he still had two water bladders, but each was only a day’s worth of hydration.
He would need to find more water before the end of the next day.
Finished eating, he stood and dusted off the small grains too little to capture and eat. With a cluster of three trees nearby, he walked over and urinated against one of them, the widest of the three sheltering his back while he had his hands full.
Canceling out the noise of his own stream, he listened for other sounds. He had heard gunfire twice in the four hours he’d been walking. Real gunfire, not the memory of such. No aircraft had passed overhead, which was both a relief and worrying. Something small and flying low could have been the government performing reconnaissance, not only on the people causing problems but those trying to stay on their own property and protect their family.
Or people like him, just trying to get home.
But the absence of jets in the sky criss-crossing the country was unnerving.
How the hell could everything just stop like that?
Shaking the thought away, he zipped up, climbed on all fours up the embankment that had shielded him from view on the east side of the tracks and pulled out his pair of field binoculars.
He wasn’t sure how far he had traveled already, but he kept a rough estimate running by counting the evenly spaced wooden rail ties jutting past the tracks. With the void between the ties and the front-to-back distance of each tie on its own, he figured about two feet traveled tie-to-tie. Every twenty-six hundred or so ties was another mile covered. He had counted over ten times a thousand, but he knew the tracks didn’t run parallel with U.S. 45.
Trying not to think about how much the two lines diverged, he slid down his side of the embankment and resumed walking.
He kept following the tracks as they angled west, even when he knew the road he wanted was shifting east at the same time. With the rifle and pistol, he needed to get at least a few miles south of the grade school in case the federal or local government had secured that area, too. Only then would he cut east and locate U.S. 45.
By dusk, he was comfortably past the school and the airport. Dog tired, he found another cluster of trees, one that formed a dense circle. Taking his pack off, he pushed it inside the circle then wiggled his way between two trunks.
There was just enough space inside the copse for him to stretch out to his full length and have some of the pack behind him.
Taking advantage of the last bit of remaining daylight that penetrated the trees, he opened the pack and worked at quickly re-arranging its contents. Removing the two Mylar blankets weighing less than four ounces combined, he spread them on the ground. He placed the radio next to the rifle and plugged in a set of earbuds, but kept one ear unblocked so he could hear if anyone or anything tried to sneak up on him.
It was all static up and down the AM and FM dials. A few minutes remained if Gallows was still broadcasting.
Fixing the dial to Gallows’ channel, Cash resumed shifting the contents of his pack. Certain things needed to stay at the bottom to keep the weight properly distributed and because they wouldn’t result in imminent death if he couldn’t retrieve them immediately. Those items included a spare set of boots, a small aluminum pan, food he wouldn’t need to consume for a few more days and a guide to North American edible plants that he hoped he wouldn’t have to consult. He also layered in a short pry bar and a flat head screw driver, fishing wire and lures, twenty feet of lightweight nylon rope and one of two rolls of duct tape.
Between the bottom layer and everything that needed to be at the top of the pack or distributed among its exterior pockets, he stuffed two pairs of pants, a half dozen pairs of socks and underwear, and three t-shirts, as well as a slightly heavier flannel jacket than the windbreaker he had on. Next came the first aid kit and the tincture of iodine, which he could use for both disinfecting wounds and decontaminating water. On the same layer, he added the Ziploc bag of Vaseline soaked cotton balls, a tin half full of strike-anywhere matches with a char-cloth filling the gap, and a one-liter tumbler with a built-in water filter. Stuffed inside the tumbler were his toothbrush and toothpaste.
At the very top, he put in his spare ammo, a night vision monocle and one of the two filled water bladders. The second bladder still hung down the center of his back. He placed that one next to the radio then clipped onto the outside of the pack his three knives—a folding multi-tool knife that included a small blade, a KA-BAR Skeleton knife for both combat and gutting and skinning game, and a Kukri blade in case he wanted to make a shelter or needed to get through dense vegetation.
Rolling the pack so that the knives and the entrenchment tool were pressed against the dirt and nothing hard remained between his head and the soft middle layer of clothing, Cash settled into place and pulled the top Mylar blanket over him as Bobby Joe Gallows came on air.
The news wasn’t good. It would be a long time before it was, Cash believed.
The attacks had moved beyond the large cities and turned far stealthier.
In this gripping sequel to the post-apocalypse action thriller HARD WAY HOME, the answers behind an onslaught of not-so-natural disasters only lead to more questions as a global depopulation conspiracy threatens Americans from right in their own back yard.
Retired Army Colonel Thomas Sand returns to the U.S. during its darkest days, only to find the leaders left in government—puppeted by the deep state elite—want him dead. Between the threat assessment algorithm he developed before the apocalypse, and the fact that his wife Becca and stepdaughter Hannah are both brilliant scientists critical to the new world order, his family isn’t short on enemies. And despite all his training to the contrary, his only duty now is to them and their safety. Unbeknownst to him, halfway down the coast, his wife is fighting to drag her fevered and battered body home with no means of communication, and only the help of a nameless stranger…
Meanwhile, Dr. Hannah Carter, still traveling with the Army veteran who saved her life, discovers she may be the linchpin to destroying the dangerous shadow government that now controls what remains of the fast-crumbling U.S. But to do so, she must leave behind everyone she cares about and face off against the hidden puppet master pulling the strings from his bunker. Unbeknownst to her, Cash Bishop, her fearless companion turned ruthless protector, has followed her into the lion’s den,no violence spared. His only light in their new broken world of never ending darkness, finding Hannah is a given. As is taking down the corrupt powers that destroyed his country once and for all…
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Christa Wick (writing as Dana Fraser) has been hybrid publishing since 2012 in various genres. Along with her post-apocalyptic action thrillers as Dana, she’s written over fifty romance and paranormal titles as Christa and C.M. Wick, and also writes high-octane suspense fiction and urban fantasy novels under other pen names.
Title: The Country Village Summer Fete by Cathy Lake
Date Published: 10th June 2021
Genre: Rom Com/Women’s Fiction
Take a trip back into Little Bramble…
Emma Patrick’s life is spiralling out of control. On the cusp of her 50th birthday, she suddenly realises that she doesn’t have many meaningful relationships in her life. She’s single, successful, living alone and thinks she’s loving it, but being so focussed on work and always online means she’s lost any real connection to people.
When Emma gets a call to say her ageing father is becoming increasingly confused, she decides that she should go back home to the countryside to spend some time with him. But returning to Little Bramble, the village she grew up in, after all these years is filled with complications of its own and people she’d rather avoid.
As Emma starts to settle into her childhood home, she finds herself loving village life – much to her surprise. When the opportunity to get involved in the running of the summer fete comes her way, before she knows it she’s embracing jam making, cake baking and bunting. And with romance brewing, Emma begins to doubt the glamorous life in London that she worked so hard to build . . .
I want to thank Tracy Fenton for inviting me on this tour and Zaffre for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Country Village Summer Fete follows the story of Emma Patrick, who returns to the village of Little Bramble to look after her elderly father when he gets ill. She left the village behind years ago for a successful career in London and coming back is full of bittersweet memories, especially when it comes to an old flame of hers.
This story was just a delightful read with plenty of sweet and heartwarming moments. I also enjoyed the fact it was a second chance for romance novel, focusing on older characters who are proud to be older, as they should be!
This is the second in the Little Bramble series but works perfectly well as a standalone. I only noticed when I went looking for more books by Cathy Lake and found the first book.
The characters are all so likable and sweet, I really enjoyed meeting them. I felt for Emma, she’s burnt out and a bit isolated when we first meet her, trying to keep up with her freelance editing work and running herself into the ground. On top of all that, she gets the dreaded news about her father who might have dementia then having to face up to her old heartbreak… I just wanted to give her a hug!
The Country Village Summer Fete is a combination of gentle humour and sweet romance that is the perfect summer read. I’m looking forward to more books from Cathy Lake!
About The Author:
Cathy Lake is a women’s fiction writer who lives with her family and three dogs in beautiful South Wales. She writes uplifting stories about strong women, family, friendship, love, community and overcoming obstacles.
The days may be getting warmer, but this anthology is sure to chill you to the bone.
Welcome to the tour for It Calls from the Sea, a collection of tales from the high seas by a fantastic group of authors! Read on for details and my review:
Title: It Calls From the Sea: An Anthology of Terror On the Deep Blue Sea
Date Published: May 21st. 2021
Genre: Anthology/ Short Stories/ Horror/ Paranormal
Prepare to die. The sea awakens.
Within the Mariana Trench, a research vessel’s crew is threatened by a mysterious force. A father and daughter’s holiday by the ocean turns deadly as a sinister creature stalks them. A group of friends learn that some things should remain in the ocean. Filled with a sense of wonder, a young biologist discovers a new species of kelp, but with disastrous consequences.
It Calls From the Sea is an all-original anthology of twenty brutal tales of horror from the deep blue sea.
Eerie River brings you another round of insatiable horror. There is no end to the terrors we have in store and there is nowhere left to hide. Get comfy, this is going to be a wild ride.
I want to thank Shannon at R&R Book tour for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of It calls from the sea in exchange for an honest review.
It calls from the sea is a horror short story collection, all featuring the sea or water in some way or form.
What I love about these types of collections is how each author brings their own spin to the theme creating unique and different stories. Honestly, there’s not one story in this collection that I thought ‘oh this feels the same.’
There’s really something for every horror fan, from pulse pounding adventures to twisted fairytale like stories to menacing monsters and a whole lot more.
Of course there were some standouts like Abyssal Horror by Trey Dowell, The Hunter and the prey by McKenzie Richardson, Please Leave by Watt Morgan and Dead Ships by Georgia Cook. Each of those stories really stuck with me after I read them.
I will say beware before you go into the collection it’s definitely not for the faint of heart! The plenty of gruesome and gory scenes scattered throughout the stories.
It calls from the sea is a fantastic collection that both horrified and captivated me at the same time.
Featuring Stories By:
Chris Bannor “Euphoria”, Chris Hewitt “Reef Encounter” Christopher Bond “The Ocean Sings Softly”, Dan Le Fever “Xook” David Green “Into The Depths”, Georgia Cook “Dead Ships”, Holley Cornetto “Heaven’s Lake”, Julie Sevens “Shoney’s Revenge”, Lin Darrow “Cry of the Hunger Fish”, M.B.Vujacic “Jelly”, Mason Gallaway, “The Sea Reaches Up” McKenzie Richardson “The Hunter and the Prey”, R. L. Meza “Long Pork”, S.O. Green “The Shadow Over Innsmouth High”, Steve Neal “Hostile Territory”, T. M. Brown “Buoy 21415”, Tim Mendees “Fronds”, Trey Dowell “Abyssal Horror”, Watt Morgan “Please Leave”
Win an $25 Amazon e-gift card, click the link below:
Hello lovelies! Today I have an exclusive extract from The Transparency of Time by Leonardo Padura as part of the Random Things blog tour but first a little about the book:
Title: The Transparency of Time by Leonardo Padura
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Date Published: 10th June 2021
Genre: Crime Fiction
Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money.
Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santería appears on the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla—a black Madonna. This sets Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue.
Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout history in different guises—as a shepherd during the Spanish Civil War, as vassal to a feudal lord—we trace the Madonna to present-day Cuba. With Barral serving as Conde’s alter ego, unstuck in time, and Conde serving as the author’s, we are treated to a panorama of history, and reminded of the impossibility of ever remaining on its sidelines, no matter how obscure we may think our places in the action.
Equal parts The Name of the Rose and The Maltese Falcon, The Transparency of Time cements Leonardo Padura’s position as the preeminent literary crime writer of our time.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014
The emphatic first light of dawn in the tropics filtered through the window, projecting dramatically against the wall where the calendar hung, with its perfect grid of twelve squares divided into four rows. The spaces had originally been colored in distinctive tones ranging from spring’s youthful green to winter’s deep gray, a scheme that only a very imaginative designer could associate with something as contrived as the four seasons on a Caribbean island. With the passing months, fly droppings had decorated the board’s motifs with erratic ellipses. Several stains and its ever-fading colors testified to the paper’s constant use and the blinding light that beat down on it every day. A variety of capricious shapes were doodled all over the thing—around the edges, even over some of the numbers, hinting at past reminders that were perhaps later forgotten and never acted upon. Signs of the passage of time and proof of a mind suffering sclerosis.
The year at the top of the calendar had received special attention and was covered with a variety of cryptic signs. Those numbers specifically tasked with representing the ninth day of October were surrounded by further perplexing sigils, which had been scratched in (more in rage than approval) with a pen just a bit lighter than the original black printer’s ink. And alongside several exclamation points, the digits that—as the doodler only now noticed—resonated with magical, numerological power, the power of perfect recurrence: 9- 9-9.
Ever since that slow, grim, slippery year had begun, Mario Conde maintained a tormented relationship with the dates at hand. Throughout his life and despite his historically good memory and general obsessiveness, he’d paid little attention to the effect of time’s speed and its implications for his own life and the lives of those around him. Regrettably and all too often, he forgot ages and birthdays, wedding anniversaries, the dates of trivial or major events—from the celebratory to those that evoked grief or commemorated simpler moments—that were or would be important to other people. But the alarming evidence persisted that, among those 365 days squared off by the grid of that cheap calendar, a day lay waiting to pounce that was as yet inconceivable, but threateningly definite and real. The proximity of the day Mario Conde would turn sixty years old caused in him a persistent shock exacerbated by the approach of those notable numbers: 9-9-9. It even sounded indecent (sixty . . . sixty . . . something that lets out air and explodes, sssixttttty . . . ), and this milestone presented itself as the incontestable confirmation of what his physical (creaky knees, waist, and shoulders; a fatty liver; an ever-lazier penis) and spiritual (dreams, projects, diminished or completely abandoned desires) selves had already been feeling for some time: the obscene arrival of old age . . .
Was he really an Old Man? In order to confirm it, as he stood before the blurry landscape of the calendar that hung from a pair of nails on his bedroom wall, Conde responded to this question with new ones: Wasn’t his grandfather Rufino an Old Man when, at the age of sixty, he took Conde around the city and surrounding areas to cockfighting rings and taught him the ins and outs of noble combat? Didn’t they start calling Hemingway “Old Man” a few years before his suicide at sixty-one? What about Trotsky? Wasn’t he, at sixty, known as the Old Man when Ramón Mercader split his head in two with a Stalinist and proletarian blow from an ice ax? For starters, Conde knew his limits and understood (owing to well-founded or spurious reasons) that he was a far cry from being his pragmatic grandfather, or Hemingway, or Trotsky, or any other famous old codger. As such, he felt that he had reason enough to avoid so much as aspiring to the category of Old Man, capital letters and all, even as he careened toward that painful number, round and decadent . . . No, he was, at best, going to become an old fart. The term was more apt in his case—in the category of possible decrepitude as classified with academic zeal by serious geriatric science and the empirical wisdom of an everyman’s street-smart philosophy.
About The Author:
Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He has just released THE MAN WHO LOVED DOGS, his masterpiece about the assassination of Trotsky. Padura has published a number of short-story collections and literary essays but international fame came with the Havana Quartet, all featuring Inspector Mario Conde.
Like many others of his generation, Padura had faced the question of leaving Cuba, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s, when living conditions deteriorated sharply as Russian aid evaporated. He chose to stay. And to write beautiful ironic novels in which Soviet-style socialism is condemned by implication through scenes of Havana life where even the police are savagely policed.
The crime novels feed on the noises and smells of Havana, on the ability of its inhabitants to keep joking, to make love and music, to drink rum, and to survive through petty crime such as running clandestine bars and restaurants.
Welcome to the book tour for The Fire God Tour by Michele Sims. Read on for more details about this genre-blurring romance! There’s also a chance to win a signed copy of the book (see bottom of this post).
Title: The Fire God Tour by Michele Sims
Publication Date: May 29th, 2019
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Magical Realism
Miles Moore is obsessed with fire. He can’t help it—it’s in his genes. He’s also the famous performer Ari, an international hip-hop sensation. There are some negatives that come with fame—death threats and life on the road among them—but there’s also a lot of good: fast cars, fast women, international travel, and more money than he can handle. When Bella Wahlberg joins his team as the chief of marketing, she seems like the antithesis of what he’s looking for, so much so that Miles dubs her Belsa the Ice Queen. It would be unprofessional for them to get together, but more than that, she’s unavailable—and deathly afraid of fire. But as they prepare for The Fire God Tour, Miles can tell something is changing. Is he ready to commit himself to one woman? Can fire and ice come together?
EACH BOOK IN THIS SAGA IS A STANDALONE STORY!
Bella powered down her computer in time to see her phone buzzing with a message: the limo driver was minutes away. After locking the front door just as the driver pulled up, she waited while he parked and got out of the car to open the door.
“Thank you.” She got in and sighed, feeling torn that she had to work on her day off instead of enjoying a long hike; yet also wanting to be seen as a team player. Resolved that even though she’d agreed to do this favor for Darien, she would accomplish it as quickly as possible and get away to enjoy nature with Corey.
Traffic was light and the car arrived at the estate quicker than she expected. The butler, Mr. Curtis, dressed in a black suit with a starched white shirt, dark tie, and spit-shined black shoes, greeted her at the door. She sensed he disapproved of her casual attire as he looked her over, jutting out his chin, giving her a loud sniff.
“Good morning, Bella. Darien left instructions to take you to Miles’s bedroom to get the papers.”
She hesitated a bit but followed him as he walked up the stairs to the space regarded as off limits.
“This is quite unusual, since Mr. Moore rarely allows employees other than Parker, Darien, or myself in his personal space, but I was assured it would be okay for you to go into his private suite of rooms to search for the contracts in question.”
She was also uncomfortable being in Miles’s private space, but Darien had been frantic when he’d called. He knew NeNe would be angry if all the documents weren’t there for her review even if she was on a conference call with them and not there in person. He assured her Miles wouldn’t be at the house and he would handle any fallout if he discovered she had been in his bedroom without his permission.
“He had a date last night and planned to stay at his penthouse in the city,” Darien had assured her on the phone before she’d agreed to do him the favor.
Bella and Mr. Curtis were at the top of the stairs when she began wondering if changing her plans with Corey was such a good idea. She liked the hardware store entrepreneur and was glad things were working out between them. He seemed okay with her work obligations in general, but she shrugged at the gnawing idea that Corey might not be okay with anything out of the ordinary at AriMusic, especially if it involved close collaborations with its CEO.
Mr. Curtis opened the door to the bedroom, and she took in the view of the massive mahogany bed, with etches of rams carved into the posts. Tastefully decorated, the room had touches of black and bold red accents. There was a very masculine feel to the room.
Looking around, she discovered his desk with papers on top of it. What piqued her curiosity was the old-style lamp filled with oil next to an ornate candle on his desk. She began looking for the papers Darien had asked her to find and didn’t notice the bathroom door opening or the presence of someone else in the room.
“What the—” The loud verbal bomb startled her, causing her to spin around and throw the papers in the air.
Miles abruptly cut off the f-bomb and stood still, a few feet away from her, while she froze as she viewed his nude body. She knew he had a great one, but she’d never imagined she would meet Adonis in this lifetime. His beautiful pecs, six-pack abs, and his.. oh my, made her gasp. His thick muscular legs had her face feeling hot and her heart racing.
“Why are you here, Bella?” He initially made no effort to cover himself.
The papers scattered across the floor, blown by the air currents from the ceiling fan whirling above. “Darien asked for a favor, and he said you wouldn’t be at home. He needed these papers for a meeting later today,” she stammered and tried but couldn’t hide her tremulous voice or the shaking of her hands as she tried to gather the papers.
Breaking her stare, embarrassed by the impropriety of their meeting, she knelt to pick up the papers scattered throughout the room.
Michele Sims is the “author-ego” of Deanna McNeil and creator of the Moore Family Saga. She loves writing hot love stories and women’s fiction with multigenerational characters. She is the recipient of the 2019 RSJ Debut Author Award, the 2018 RSJ Aspiring Author Award, and first runner up in the Introvert Press Poetry Contest for February 2018. She is a member of LRWA, in Charleston, SC, and the NK Tribe called Success.
She lives in South Carolina with her husband who has been her soulmate and greatest cheerleader. She is the proud mother of two adult sons and the auntie to many loved ones. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to remember the importance of exercise, travelling, listening to different genres of music, and observing the wonders of life on this marvelous planet. She is currently working on several collaboration projects.
Title: Murder At Elm House (Kitty Underhay 6) by Helena Dixon
Date Published: 7th June 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Kitty Underhay feels the touch… of death.
1934. Accidental amateur sleuth Kitty Underhay is being escorted by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant on an errand of mercy, as she takes a basket of grapes to her nemesis Mrs Craven, who is recuperating from a recent operation. But their arrival at Elm House Nursing Home coincides with the mysterious death of Lady Wellings, a long-term resident.
The woman was known to be ill, so when the police turn a disinterested ear to Mrs Craven’s suspicion that Lady Wellings was poisoned, Kitty decides to look into the case herself. And when another invalid, the gentle Mrs Pearson, collapses fatally in the breakfast room, it seems her suspicions are well-founded. For an institution promising health and rejuvenation, there seems to be a very low survival rate amongst the guests!
When the nurse Eloise Hibbert hints at sinister goings on among the staff, Kitty arranges to meet her away from the home to uncover how deep the treachery lies. However, before she can make the rendezvous, Eloise meets an unfortunate end falling from the top of the building. Was she pushed by the hand of fate, or a cold-blooded killer?
Meanwhile, Matt has been following an entirely different trail of evidence, and what he finds out chills him to the bone. When Kitty fails to return from her unsuccessful meeting, it is clear she has stumbled onto a plot far more devious than they could have imagined, and into a trap laid by an unscrupulous killer…
An utterly sensational and addictive Golden Age murder mystery. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss.
I want to thank Bookouture for my copy of Murder at Elm House in exchange for an honest review.
Murder at Elm House is the sixth book in the Kitty Underhay mystery series, it can be read as a standalone but I would highly recommend reading at least the previous book Murder In The Bell Tower, as some of the storyline carries over.
Mrs Craven, a friend of Kitty’s grandmother, is recovering after a minor operation at Elm House. She calls in both Matthew and Kitty after she suspects that there’s something odd going on, resulting in the deaths of some of the patients. As they investigate, they become aware that there could be something bigger going on than just the death of patients.
If you don’t know this series, they’re set around the golden age of crime fiction in the 1930s and always give me classic crime vibes while remaining fresh and interesting to read.
I love sleuths Matthew and Kitty, they’re such a cute couple and compliment each other nicely. There was plenty of peril for both throughout the novel, with break-ins and attempts on their lives. Not to mention Kitty taking the leap to become a lady motorist, something that probably would have been frowned upon back in those days.
I usually have an inkling when it comes to cozy mysteries about the whodunnit quite early on but not with this novel, I can say I didn’t guess how it was going to end at all!
Murder at Elm House is a great addition to this series and I can’t wait to read more!
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.
Hello lovelies! Today I’m shining a spotlight on Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell plus a fab giveaway (US Only. See bottom of the post) as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. First a little about the book:
Title: Last Time She Died by Niki Kamerzell
Publisher: Darkstroke books
Date Published: 10th February 2021
Genre: Dark Paranormal Fantasy
A rainy night. A slick road. A car crash.
‘A puff of yellow dust blew from the vent, and the car filled with a strong sulfur smell. Laughter whispered through the speakers, then blared at full volume.’
Everything changes for Alexia Harper the night she leaves late from her waitressing job. When voices threaten her through the radio, she wonders if she’s gone crazy. Then lightning explodes close by, and Alexia crashes.
Following the accident, every day is the same. Every night the same nightmare stalks her. It’s like her life is on repeat, but she can’t shake the fearful warning her subconscious is screaming at her.
When Leland starts working at the diner, Alexia is drawn to him. He’s kind, funny and handsome, and he’s…familiar. It’s like they’ve spent the past eight lifetimes getting to know each other.
Now, the memory-like dreams make sense. She recognizes people she doesn’t know—and they are giving her clues; answers she desperately needs to stop the thing that’s coming for her.
Niki Kamerzell lives in Colorado and spends her summers out in the wild enjoying camping and fishing. Her favorite place to visit is Yellowstone National Park.
She spends her free time reading and writing and will read just about anything recommended to her. She’s been known to sacrifice eating and sleeping to finish a good book. Niki writes fantasy and has been writing for the last ten years. When not writing or reading, Niki is probably distracted by her Corgi or out hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her husband.
Her other distractions include driving around and singing off key with the radio and scrapbooking. Always willing to make things awkward, sarcasm is like a second language to her and, next to her passion for writing, probably one of the things Niki’s most proud of.
Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Last Time She Died, a set of themed stickers, and a bookmark (Open to US Only)
*Terms and Conditions –US entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.