The Deep Down State series by Dana Fraser @wickedchrista @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours1 #BookPromo

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

Description:

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.

Excerpt

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.

Crops were being set on fire.

So were homes.

You can buy your copy here:

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Title: Dark Road Back (Deep Down State #2)

Date Published: June 1st, 2021

Genre: Post- Apocalyptic/ Survivor Thriller

Description:

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…

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobel

iBooks

Kobo

Google

About the Author:

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.

Christa Wick | Facebook | Books2Read | Twitter

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Murder At Elm House (Kitty Underhay 6) by Helena Dixon @bookouture @NellDixon #BookReview #Booksontour

Title: Murder At Elm House (Kitty Underhay 6) by Helena Dixon

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 7th June 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description: 

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.

You can buy your copy here: https://geni.us/B08V1VY7TBsocial

Review:

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.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.nelldixon.com

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

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/NellDixon

#BlogTour #BookReview Small Bones by Kerry Buchanan @DabblinginCrime @JoffeBooks

Title: Small Bones by Kerry Buchanan

Publisher: Joffe Books

Date Published: 3rd June 2021

Genre: Mystery

Description:

DON’T MISS THE MUST-READ CRIME THRILLER OF SUMMER 2021

AN ABSOLUTELY JAW-DROPPING CRIME THRILLER FEATURING DETECTIVES ASHA HARVEY & AARON BIRCH
 
If you can’t trust your father and you can’t trust the police, who can you trust?
 
Sue Hearn is planting a herb garden on the site of her grandfather’s old greenhouse. She’s spent the morning digging up all sorts of odds and ends already. But she doesn’t expect this grisly find.
 
Could it be the remains of her mother, Monica, who went missing thirty years ago?
 
Sue’s father, in hospital with dementia, insinuates that a police officer was involved in her mother’s disappearance. But can he be trusted?
 
So now Detectives Asha Harvey and Aaron Birch might be looking for a bent copper.
 
As they dig deeper into the past, Sue and Asha find secrets so dangerous it will put all their lives in danger.
 
Fans of BBC’s Line of Duty, Lynda La Plante, Tana French, Patricia Gibney, Brian McGilloway, Ann Cleeves, Caro Ramsay and Helen H. Durrant will devour this electrifying crime thriller by one of Northern Ireland’s newest talents.
 
MEET THE DETECTIVES
DETECTIVE ASHA HARVEY
Asha Harvey has always had a powerful sense of right and wrong. She has wanted to be a detective since she was a child, and while she can be a little too trusting, her open manner makes people want to confide in her. She is especially driven to succeed as a woman of colour in a largely white, male police force in Northern Ireland. Her family support her and are ridiculously proud of her, which adds to her internal pressure to succeed.
 
DETECTIVE AARON BIRCH
Boyish and gangly, Aaron Birch entered the police force as a detective through a graduate recruitment scheme. This makes him the butt of snide remarks by fellow officers, so he always feels he has something to prove. He also has a tendency to stretch the rules to suit himself, which can lead to him getting into trouble.
 
THE SETTING
A city of contrasts, Belfast is filled with beautiful old relics dating back to a golden age of shipbuilding and wealth, as well as the scars of more recent wounds. The city has an exciting sense of newness and potential, but it can’t quite shed those who lurk in the darker shadows born of its turbulent past.
 
WHAT EVERYONE IS SAYING ABOUT KERRY BUCHANAN:
 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Oh my this book . . . so fast paced, I enjoyed chapter after chapter. It will send your heart pounding, it’s full of massive twists . . . this book will shock you to the core right till the very end.” Booklover Bev
 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Its not often a debut novel is as well written as this. I found myself utterly riveted from very early in the book, and when I wasn’t reading it, I was spending my time wishing I was . . . highly, highly, recommended.” Sean S.
 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “If you love an intense, creepy, and suspenseful psychological thriller that you cannot put down once you’ve started it, this book will absolutely thrill you.” L. M. Darter
 
DETECTIVES HARVEY & BIRCH MYSTERIES
Book 1: KNIFE EDGE
Book 2: SMALL BONES

Review:

I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw for inviting me on this tour and Joffe books for providing me with a copy of Small Bones in exchange for an honest review.

Acting DI Asha Harvey, along with her partner Aaron Birch, are back to solve another mystery. This time when Sue Hearn finds the skeleton in her garden. As they dig further into the mystery, they find that Sue’s mother Monica went missing thirty years ago and was never heard of again. Are the two cases linked or is there something more going on?

This series is part psychological thriller, part police procedural with a whole heap of twists and turns along the way.

I enjoyed that we got to see a bit more of Asha and Aaron in this book than we did in the first, getting to know them a bit better. Asha is a kind and caring copper, trying to prove herself, which bumps up nicely next to the loyal and sweet Aaron. 

Sue was an interesting character, too. Looking after her dad, who had dementia, full time would be enough for anyone to cope with, but finding a body on top of all that? It amazed me to see she didn’t fall to pieces (I would have) and became integral to the case.

I would say that I found this story a little slower to start than the first in the series but of course that’s just my opinion. 

Also, it leaves a few unanswered questions, paving the way for the next in the series which I’m looking forward to.

Small Bones is a well written and action packed mystery that was both entertaining and intriguing in equal measure. 

About The Author:

Kerry Buchanan has had numerous short stories published internationally, including some prize-winners, but her heart lies with novel-writing. Her crime series is set in Belfast and in the rolling County Down hills she sees from her window as she writes. She is often invited to perform her work at literary events or to be a member of panels at conventions, and she loves to help new writers by facilitating writing groups and classes in her local community.

Although Kerry is disabled, her hobbies include sailing and attempting to outwit the slugs in her vegetable patch. Generally, the slugs win.

FOLLOW KERRY ON

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A Knot Of Sparrows (DI Winter Meadows 4) by Cheryl Rees-Price @CherylreesPrice @rararesources #BookPromo

Hello lovelies, today I have a book spotlight for Cheryl Rees-Price’s new book A Knot of Sparrows, the fourth in the DI Winter Meadows series.

Title: A Knot Of Sparrows by Cheryl Rees-Price

Date Published: 1st March 2021

Publisher: The Book Folks

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

Welsh detective Winter Meadows takes on a new murder case

There were a lot of things you could call Stacey Evans. And many of them would be true. And unprintable. But did she deserve to be murdered?

DI Winter Meadows has no doubt of the answer when he takes on the case. The crime was violent. The victim helpless. But the motives are many, and the only clue is a strange word left on Stacey’s body.

DI Meadows struggles to pierce the secrecy surrounding the teenager’s busy love life. Was the killer one of her pursuers acting out of jealousy? Maybe someone’s wife seeking revenge?

But as each suspect is excluded from the enquiry, and other markings turn up, Meadows is convinced that something more sinister is afoot.

When another body is found, a veil of silence descends like a fog upon Gaer Fawr. What more will it take for the village to give up its secrets?

A KNOT OF SPARROWS is the fourth standalone title in a series of murder mysteries by best-selling author Cheryl Rees-Price. It will appeal to fans of David Pearson, L J Ross, John Dean, Joy Ellis, and Pippa McCathie.

The full list of books is as follows:

1. THE SILENT QUARRY

2. FROZEN MINDS

3. SUFFER THE CHILDREN

4. A KNOT OF SPARROWS

Cheryl Rees-Price is also the author of the standalone thriller BLUE HOLLOW.

All of these books are FREE with Kindle Unlimited and available in paperback from Amazon.

You can buy your copy here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XQS6219/ 

US –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XQS6219/ 

About The Author:

Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountain range, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and cats. After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.
Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology, and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services.
In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.

Social Media Links – 

The Book Folks | Facebook

Cheryl Rees-Price | Facebook

A Body In Seaview Grange (Kate Palmer 2) by Dee MacDonald @bookouture #BookReview

Hello lovelies! I can’t believe it’s the last day of April already!! Today I’m trying to catch up, as usual, with the second in the Kate Palmer cozy mystery series as I have the third book for a blog tour in May. First a little about the book:

Title: A Body In Seaview Grange (Kate Palmer 2) by Dee MacDonald

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 12th November 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

Practice nurse Kate Palmer is ready for some peace and quiet in her little Cornish village, but there’s soon to be a murder on her doorstep…

Kate’s retirement in Cornwall hasn’t quite gone as planned – Lavender Cottage is in need of substantial repairs and her sister Angie’s fondness for gin does rather stretch the purse-strings.

So when Kate is asked to do some nursing at the luxury retirement flats in Seaview Grange, she jumps at the chance. The old Victorian house has stunning views of the sea and the retirees are a peaceful bunch. That is, until Edina Martinelli, a glamorous ex-opera singer, is found poisoned in her home.

Edina’s death is ruled an overdose by Digoxin, the same medication she had been on for years. But Kate is sure the woman she met was not suicidal, and with the reputation of her practice on the line, she decides to do some digging. Luckily she’s got the newly retired Detective Inspector Woody Forrest to help her…

It’s not long before Kate discovers evidence of foul play, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Was it the besotted vicar? The ill-tempered stepson? Or perhaps Edina’s neighbour finally had enough of her constant warbling. It seems everyone had a motive, but who amongst them had the stomach for murder? And will they kill again?

If you love murder mysteries by Agatha Christie, Faith Martin or Joy Ellis, then this page-turning novel will have you reading late into the night!

Review:

I want to thank Bookouture for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second in the series and can easily be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the first A Body In The Village Hall, just to get a better understanding of the characters.

A Body At Seaview Grange is a traditional British cozy mystery, not much blood, gore or violence, an idyllic village setting and some interesting suspects along the way.

Semi retired nurse Kate is pulled into the mystery surrounding Edina Martinelli, ex-opera singer and full-time diva, who annoyed almost every single one of her neighbours at the Seaview Grange. The police think Edina took too much of her prescription medication, but the woman herself was convinced that someone was out to kill her. 

Kate is still on fine form, dogged and determined even though the police think Edina’s death may have been an accident. I really enjoyed the development of the character, along with the addition of a new police inspector for her to butt heads with. There’s also still a bit of romance with ex DI Woody Forrest, who reveals a few surprising facts about himself in this book.

As with the first novel I guessed the who quite early on, but the why wasn’t clear until the killer was revealed.

A Body At Seaview Grange is a light-hearted mystery which is a perfect escape for a few hours.

About The Author:

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.  

You can find Dee on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dee.macdonald.18659

and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DMacDonaldAuth

Duchess If You Dare (The Maidens of Mayhem 1) by Anabelle Bryant @AnabelleBryant @rararesources #BookReview

Title: Duchess If You Dare (The Maidens of Mayhem 1) by Anabelle Bryant

Date Published: 30th March 2021

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description:

From the glittering ballrooms of the ton to the city’s grittiest corners, London has no shortage of wrongs in need of righting–and the Maidens of Mayhem are prepared for the challenge. United by secrecy and sisterhood, these daring women from all walks of life aim to fight injustice wherever it takes them–even into the arms of unexpected love. This feminist take on Regency-era Robin Hoods from USA Today bestselling author Anabelle Bryant is destined to storm readers’ hearts!

Scarlett Wynn’s tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues–and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other–if she can resist the attraction that draws them together…

As Duke of Aylesford, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett’s fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. When the pair learn both mysteries they’re trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger–and lead them to search their hearts like never before…

“A delightful historical romance with a liberal dash of adventure, plenty of sizzling heat, and a heart of pure gold. A superb start to Bryant’s new Maidens of Mayhem series”

–Lenora Bell, USA Today bestselling author

“Duchess if You Dare is a fantastic read that kept me up late and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.”

–USA Today Bestselling Author Renee Ann Miller

You can buy your copy here:

UK Amazon Link: https://rb.gy/emdsdw 

US Links:

Amazon: https://rb.gy/ytoy31 

Barnes & Noble : https://rb.gy/ebpuvi

Kobo: https://rb.gy/mpgh91

Review:

I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with a copy of Duchess If You Dare in exchange for an honest review.

You know when you go into a book expecting one thing, but it surprises you in a good way, and turns out to be something completely different? That’s exactly how I felt about Duchess if you dare.

Duchess If You Dare has action, mystery, romance and a good few racy scenes to really get your heart pumping. 

The novel follows Scarlett, a maiden of mayhem who looks out for women who were often overlooked by the law and society. Her path crosses in an unlikely fashion with Ambrose, the Duke of Aylesford, who is pulled into looking into the disappearance of a prostitute by his feckless brother Martin. 

I loved the character of Scarlett, she’s strong, independent and doesn’t conform to the rules of polite society. Love interest Ambrose is weighed down by the expectations of being a Duke, but he shows his fiercely protective side when it comes to Scarlett.

I would have liked to see a bit more of the other Maidens of Mayhem and I felt the mystery aspect could have been a bit stronger, but of course that’s just my opinion.

Duchess if you dare is a rip roaring adventure with plenty of action, intrigue and a bit of steaminess too.

About the author:

USA Today Bestselling author Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab her suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel; especially imaginary jaunts into romantic Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn’t want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?

Anabelle’s books have been translated into several languages including Japanese and Russian, but writing isn’t all that keeps her busy. Building miniatures, baking and photography are other favorite pastimes. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle is just as happy in a room full of people. She enjoys meeting readers, attending conferences and book signings. She has earned her Master’s Degree and is ABD for her Doctorate Degree in education.

A firm believer in romance, Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn’t provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. Visit her website at AnabelleBryant.com

Social Media Links – 

Website: http://www.anabellebryant.com 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnabelleBryantAuthor  

Newsletter: http://www.anabellebryant.com/contact-anabelle-1.html 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnabelleBryant

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anabelle-bryant

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26491397-anabelle-bryant

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/anabellebryant/

#BookReview The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz

Another book down from my 2018 NetGalley backlist, only another nine to go!

Title: The Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz

Date Published: 1st November 2018

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

“You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…”

These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer. Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.

Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?

Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.

But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realises that these secrets must be exposed – even at the risk of death…

Review:

I received a copy of The Sentence Is Death from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

So I read the first in this series The Word Is Murder and was intrigued enough to get the second The Sentence Is Death over on NetGalley, but it’s taken me three years to actually get around to reading it (oops).

If you don’t know this series, the author, Anthony Horowitz himself, plays Watson to his fictional detective Daniel Hawthorne, chronicling their adventures as they try to solve murders. The murder in question for this novel is successful divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, who was bludgeoned to death with an expensive bottle of wine.

I remember when I read the first book I was a little confused about the author putting himself in the book, at the time I’d never really come across this but now I’ve seen it done a few times this sort of thing no longer bothers me.

On the surface the story is a bit like a cozy mystery, as the murder is more like a puzzle and there’s not too much violence, but there is a fair bit of swearing with a smattering of unlikeable characters to give it a more gritty feel.

There were parts of the novel I really enjoyed, like the glimpse into the life of a TV writer as it shows some parts of Anthony Horowitz working on his show Foyle’s War. Also, the introduction of copper DI Cara Grunshaw, who made Hawthorne seem not as bad in comparison and added an extra dimension to the story. 

Unfortunately, while the author tried to throw a few twists in there, I figured out whodunnit well before the end. I was also hoping that Hawthorne would change his ways a bit, I still found him unlikeable most of the time.

Overall, The Sentence Is Death is a solid mystery with a cast of very memorable, (not always in a good way), characters.

About the author:

Anthony Horowitz, OBE is ranked alongside Enid Blyton and Mark A. Cooper as “The most original and best spy-kids authors of the century.” (New York Times). Anthony has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he is also the writer and creator of award winning detective series Foyle’s War, and more recently event drama Collision, among his other television works he has written episodes for Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. Anthony became patron to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in 2009.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled the House of Silk.

#ShadowsofHell by Duncan Thompson @dthompsonauthor @PantherPubs @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Title: Shadows of Hell by Duncan Thompson

Publisher: Panther Publishing

Date Published: 1st April 2021

Genre: Horror

Description:

When a man of heavenly worth sins in Hell, darkness shall reign upon the earth

A message from the other side – an omen of the impending apocalypse. A message intended for one man, the only man who can prevent Armageddon, saving the soul of every man, woman and child on Earth. That man is Joe Costello.

But, not only is Joe trapped in the underworld, he is also the same man who has the power to unleash the shadows of hell upon the world.

Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, Joe must battle his way through the nine circles of Hell – his escape being the key to salvation. Not only will he face all manner of Hell’s demons, he’ll also face his own.

However, Joe is not alone on his journey, as he is guided through each level of Hell by medium and psychic, Layla Thorne. Shadows of Hell is the epic follow-up to Shadows of the Woods.

‘Shadows of Hell thunders along at a breakneck pace, not giving the reader chance to draw breath.’ – Lee Mountford, author of The Demonic

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/3cz9xtm 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3bTg1DW

Review:

I want to thank Emma at Damppebbles blog tours for my invite and Panther Publishing for providing me with a copy of Shadows of Hell in exchange for an honest review.

Having read Shadows of the woods last year and enjoyed it, I was interested to see how the story would carry on in Shadows of Hell. I would recommend that you read Shadows of the woods first as the storyline intertwines with Shadows of Hell.

Much like the first book, Shadows of Hell is a short, action packed horror with plenty of monsters, magic and mayhem along the way.

This story felt a little different to the first, grounded more in classic legends, with references to The Divine Comedy by Dante. I haven’t read the poem, but I’ve heard little bits about it over the years and enjoyed the author’s spin on the nine circles of Hell.

There was a new cast of characters, along with some guest stars from the previous book. There’s a psychic called Layla who also has a side gig being a fake medium and Chris and Alexis, a pair of paranormal investigators.I feel like there was a lot more to these characters and I hope to see more of them in future novels.

The writing is very visceral and I will warn those who are not that big a fan of gore or ghastly scenes that this might not be the novel for you.

Although I wasn’t entirely sold on the slightly religious undertone of the story, the ending leaves it open for another book which I will definitely be interested to read.

Shadows of Hell is a vivid and well-written horror which will take you on one Hell of a journey!

About the Author:

Duncan has spent most of his life in a small market town in West Yorkshire — the same town in which most of his stories are set under the guise of Ravenfield. Duncan has been writing works of fiction since the age of seven. In those early days, his stories often involved himself and his friends being transported to fantasy worlds. However, as a teenager, Duncan fell in love with horror movies and his writing took a whole new direction.

Duncan still lives in West Yorkshire with his partner and their two young children. He also has slight obsession with Spider-Man and the actor Bruce Campbell, as well as having an addiction to vinyl records, coffee and Lego.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dthompsonauthor 

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

Website: https://www.dthompsonauthor.com/ 

#DeadInTheWater #StonebridgeMysteries @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets

Title: Dead In The Water by Chris McDonald

Publisher: Red Dog Press

Date Published: 27th March 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Description:

The Stonebridge Regatta is looming. The town’s annual face-off against neighbouring Meadowfield is usually a weekend filled with sunshine, laughter and camaraderie. 

This year is different.

A week before the race, the body of Stonebridge team captain Matthew Henderson is found dead in the water. The police file his passing as a tragic accident however, his grieving widow disagrees and suspects foul play is involved. She enlists the help of Adam and Colin, the town’s amateur (self-proclaimed) private detectives to unearth the truth.

Did Matthew simply slip and fall into the water, or is there more to his death below the surface?

You can buy your copy here:

Amazon: mybook.to/DITW

The Red Dog Shop: https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/dead-in-the-water

Review:

I want to thank Red Dog Press for providing me with a copy of Dead In The Water in exchange for an honest review.

I’m so glad to be back with Adam and Colin for the second in the Stonebridge mysteries. If you haven’t read the first, The Curious Case of Daniel Costello, Dead In The Water can be read as a standalone, but I would personally recommend reading the first as it’s such a good novella!

If you don’t know this series, they are cozy mysteries set in the small Irish town of Stonebridge following two amateur sleuths and best friends Adam and Colin.

A grieving widow comes to Adam, convinced that her husband didn’t drown by accident. Adam is busy with his new gardening business but the lure of a mystery is too much for him to turn down, even roping poor put upon Colin to help.

As I said in my previous review, both Adam and Colin are very likeable sleuths and I enjoyed the fact Colin got a more central role in this book rather than just being a sidekick type character.

This story has a snappy pace and even though it’s only a short book, there’s still plenty of suspects, clues and red herrings to keep you guessing.

I felt the actual mystery wasn’t quite as funny as the first, but of course that’s just my opinion.

Dead in the water is a well-written whodunnit with likeable sleuths underpinned with some subtle humour. I’m looking forward to more Stonebridge mysteries in the future!

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, published by Red Dog Press in 2021. 

Q&A A Chance Encounter by Rae Shaw @RaeShawauthor @rararesources #BlogTour

Hello lovelies! Today I have a fantastic Q&A with Rae Shaw, aka Rachel Walkley, as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources but first a little about the book:

Title: A Chance Encounter by Rae Shaw

Date Published: 24th March 2021

Genre: Thriller

Description:

Julianna Baptiste, a feisty bodyguard, finds her new job tedious, that is until her boss, the evasive Jackson Haynes, spikes her curiosity. Who is behind the vicious threats to his beautiful wife and why is he interested in two estranged siblings?

Mark works for Haynes’s vast company. He’s hiding from ruthless money launderers.

His teenage sister Ellen has an online friend whom she has never met. Ellen guards a terrible secret.

For eight years their duplicitous father has languished in prison, claiming he is innocent of murder. The evidence against him is overwhelming, so why does Mark persist with an appeal?

Keen to prove her potential as an investigator, Julianna forces Mark to confront his mistakes. The consequences will put all their lives in danger.

You can buy your copy here:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X1PN4VH

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X1PN4VH

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57237006-a-chance-encounter

Trailer – https://youtu.be/g2U11opEcqs

Q&A with Rae Shaw:

Can you tell me a little bit about your book? 

Julianna has quit a good job as a government agent to work as a chauffeur and bodyguard. She’s lost her way but not her curiosity. So when she suspects her boss’s wife is having an affair, she can’t stop herself from spying. What starts out as a personal mission ends up being a far greater threat to her life.


Where did the inspiration for your book come from? 

The idea for a bodyguard who doesn’t play by the rules was the catalyst and from there, Julianna developed into a kind of PI who sometimes takes investigations too far.


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be? 

Murder takes seconds, revenge takes years.


What is a typical writing day like for you? 

I used to write full-time. These days I grab a few hours when I can at the weekend.

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why? 

The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. They have everything you could want in a story.


Who are your favourite authors? 

I have reliable favourites – Isabel Allende and Robert Goddard are both brilliant storytellers. I have a fondness for procedural police novels and especially American writer Ed McBain. Although he passed away some years ago, I read his books over a span of thirty years, from when I was eleven until his last book in the late 1990s.


Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job? 

I work as an information scientist and I spend my weekdays analysing scientific texts rather than writing.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!) 

I’m a biologist.


What are you currently working on? 

I’m working on the third book of the Julianna Baptiste series, the second is written and ready to be published. I’m also editing another book which will be published in a different genre using my real name – Rachel Walkley.

About The Author –  

Rae Shaw is a pen name for the author Rachel Walkley.

Rachel is based in the North West of England. She read her first grown-up detective novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be a catalyst for filling many shelves with crime books, which still occupy her home and grow in number whenever she visits a book shop.

As well as crime, Rachel likes to unplug from the real world and writes mysteries that have a touch of magic woven into family secrets.

Social Media Links – 

https://raeshawauthor.com/

Rae Shaw Facebook page

Rachel Walkley