Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Ottercombe Bay (Part Two) Gin and Trouble by Bella Osborne - Blog Tour & Extract

Today it's my turn on the Ottercombe Bay Gin and Trouble blog tour and I have an exclusive extract coming up!

Escape to the Devon coast, with Part Two of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?


Daisy sat on the headland, her face pointed out to sea but she wasn’t really looking at the view and she certainly wasn’t seeing anything. Her hand was resting near her throat where her mother’s locket used to sit. Her aunt had offered her one of her necklaces to wear but it wasn’t just the feel of the jewellery against her skin she was missing. She missed the connection she felt to her mother, the reassurance she had when she touched it. She knew people wouldn’t understand. It wasn’t a lucky talisman: to Daisy it was her connection with the past.
Losing the locket had given her a renewed desire to know more about her mother’s death, but she didn’t know where to start on a case the police closed eighteen years ago. She wished she’d done more investigating when she still had the locket – she was convinced it held the key.
She lay back on the grass, the sun warming her skin, and stared up at the wispy clouds drifting aimlessly above her. She watched the shapes slowly change. She remembered lying in the exact same place trying to see pictures in the clouds as a child – at moments like this it didn’t feel that long ago. She wondered how different her life would be if her mother hadn’t died. It was likely they would all still be living in Ottercombe Bay and she would never have travelled further than Exeter … or maybe she was doing her parents a disservice; perhaps as a strong unit of three they would have seen the world together – she couldn’t be sure.
She knew if she wanted to search deeper into her mother’s death she probably needed to call her father but that was always a difficult subject to broach with him. It would need careful planning, rather than rushing in – something she was famous for. She puffed out a breath. She had come up here to calm down and it had worked.

The row with Max in the pub had escalated quickly. Now she was thinking more rationally she knew some of what he had said was right, even if she hadn’t wanted to hear it. Great Uncle Reg had always looked out for Daisy, so she knew he only had good intentions when he had left her the old railway building and his forcing her to stay in Ottercombe Bay in order to inherit it was his attempt to get her to put down some roots. But when you had been nomadic for such a long time, it wasn’t that simple.

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

An Unquiet Ghost by Linda Stratmann - Blog Tour & Extract

I am thrilled to be bringing you an exclusive extract from An Unquiet Ghost - today is my stop on the blog tour - I will be reviewing the book in March

Series:  Mina Scarletti Mystery Book 3
Publication Date:  1 March 2018
Publisher:  Sapere Books
Estimated Page Count:  268 pages

Brighton, 1871

Mina Scarletti, writer of horror stories but supernatural sceptic at heart, is becoming well known for unmasking those who fraudulently claim to be able to communicate with the dead. So it is no surprise to her when a young couple write to her seeking her advice.
They are George Fernwood and Mary Clifton, betrothed distant cousins with a family secret that is preventing them from getting married. Twenty years ago their alcoholic grandfather died in his bed. Though the official verdict was accidental poisoning rumours have been circulating that someone in the family murdered him.
If the murderer is one of their relations George and Mary are afraid they might pass on the deadly family taint to their children. Desperate to find out the truth, they have decided to seek out a medium to communicate with their dead relation on their behalf, and they want Mina to help them find one who is genuine.
Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued by the family mystery and decides to help them in any way she can. Could one of the new mediums advertising in Brighton really be genuine? Will they help George and Mary find the answers they are looking for?
Soon Mina finds herself caught up in a web of deception and intrigue that leads to one of her most fascinating discoveries yet …

An Unquiet Ghost is the third cosy mystery in Linda Stratmann’s intriguing historical series, the Mina Scarletti Mysteries, set in Victorian Brighton. It can be read as part of this fascinating series or as a standalone novel.


Lincoln, 1851

Thomas Fernwood was dying, and it was not the death he had been expecting. A man should die aged, peaceful, content, surrounded by his loving family, his soul slipping away sweetly from the prison of the flesh to join his ancestors in a higher, better place. At fifty-eight he had prided himself on his heartiness and vigour and thought he had many more years to enjoy, but it was not to be. Something deadly was tearing at his insides, eating him away. It was as if hot irons had been thrust down his throat deep into his stomach, and his bowels were molten. For hours he had retched in agony bringing up nothing but searing acid, a river of pain. Now, weak as a child, he was unable even to rise from his bed.
A face hovered above him, grim and anxious, and he recognised with some relief the heavy jowls and grey side whiskers of his physician, Dr Sperley. Thomas struggled through cracked lips to say what he feared might be his final message, but his throat was burned raw, and the words would not come.
‘Don’t try to speak,’ said Sperley, gruffly. ‘I know you’ve taken poison. I’ve done all I can.’
Only the desperation of the dying could force the mouth to move and what emerged was the merest whisper. ‘Mur ... der ...’ then Thomas coughed and retched again, a sour dry straining, so fierce he thought his ribs would break. His body had almost nothing left to reject. He felt a cool damp cloth pressed to his forehead, a little water wetting his parched lips. Finally, the spasm passed. Sperley’s face loomed closer, furrowed with concern. ‘Do you know who has done this? Nod your head if you do.’
The stricken man groaned deeply and nodded. Slowly, a hand that had been clutching the coverlet, opened, and one trembling finger moved on its surface as if he was trying to spell out a word. Sperley understood. ‘I’ll fetch pencil and paper.’ The doctor turned to go, but in that moment Thomas’s mouth suddenly bubbled with green bile and he started to choke, his body racked with convulsions so violent that he was almost thrown to the floor, and Sperley had to return and steady him, hold him to the bed by main force. Thomas gasped for air, his chest pumping rapidly, eyes wild with panic, but he gasped in vain. There was anger, frustration, despair, sorrow, acceptance, and finally a blinding light that faded away to nothing.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little snippet from the book - I will be reviewing it in March - please come back then and read my thoughts!


Linda’s love affair with the printed word started when she was two, when her mother, a keen reader, taught her the alphabet. She has had her nose in a book ever since. By her teens, she had developed an absorbing and enduring interest in true crime and history and a special fascination for the Victorian era.
2003 saw the launch of her first published book, Chloroform: the Quest for Oblivion. Several true crime books were to follow, most recently The Secret Poisoner, a study of nineteenth century poison murder, and three biographies, including The Marquess of Queensberry: Wilde’s Nemesis.
Linda’s first fiction series, the Frances Doughty Mysteries set in 1880s Bayswater, features a clever and determined lady detective. Through her adventures, Linda explores aspects of Victorian life such as diet, education, medicine, women’s rights, fear of premature burial and the fashion for cycling.
In her second series, set in 1870s Brighton, Mina Scarletti is a deceptively diminutive lady who writes horror stories and exposes the activities of fraudulent spirit mediums.
Linda is delighted to be an active member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and was elected Vice-Chair in 2017.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Forest Dancer by Susan Roebuck - Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract & Giveaway

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Forest Dancer and my review of this lovely story is below

Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Publication Date:  20 February 2018
Publisher:  Crooked Cat Books

It’s a long way to go to create a new life for yourself.

Classical ballerina, Flora Gatehouse, has no choice but to take a risk. Having failed an

important ballet audition in London, she moves to a small cottage in a forest just outside
Lisbon, Portugal, her only inheritance following her father’s death. 

Soon, Flora is involved in village life, where fate takes a new twist when she becomes

attracted to forest ranger, Marco. But they are off to a shaky start.

Can Flora find acceptance in a foreign land, in a magical place that harbours secrets and


Set in the rolling hills of Portugal the picturesque village of Aurora is the place where
Flora's father owned a cottage. But Flora receives a shock when she discovers that a
family are already living there.

This is the first of many surprises for Flora as she tries to help the family and their young

daughter who is ill. She is wary of the father Marco, who is arrogant and sullen with no sense
of humour and they don't hit it off at first due to some misunderstandings.

The style of writing is very simply told as Flora is drawn more and more into village life, there

are magical standing stones, colourful characters, a weird and annoying little pet bird, a TV
star who wants Flora for his own needs, and a captivating forest.

I really loved Flora's life in the village and this magical story.


Two saplings had fallen, perhaps in a recent storm, and one had caught between two
larger trees creating a perfect barre at exactly the right height. How could she resist?
Especially as she hadn’t worked out for several days and her muscles would already
be weakening.
A blackbird screeched a warning (reminding her of the Ballet Master) as she began to
warm up her neck, shoulders and arms before moving in to pliés, ensuring that her
back remained straight.
The forest was alive, a living being. The light leaking through the upper foliage was
golden, an autumnal glow that was filled with dancing seeds, gossamer webs and
tiny flies. It brought to mind the music the taxi driver had played on their way to Aurora.
The melody of The Moody Blues’ Forever Autumn once again filled her mind, and
again she imagined herself dancing in a floaty fine tunic amid falling leaves of all
shades and hues of autumn. She worked through the routine of tendus and degagés
as the music played in her head. She slowed into a final deep stretch, touching her toes.
How good it felt to exercise her muscles again.
As she straightened, ready to try the routine again, her attention was caught by a
movement, and she was in time to see a figure in the trees slide into the shadows.
“Marco?” she said, her voice low.
He came into the clearing and gave her a small nod.
“Were you watching me?”
He looked away. “Maybe.”


Susan Roebuck was born and bred in the soft south of the UK but was exported to Portugal
after meeting her husband in London. She now lives overlooking the mighty Tagus River
which is a wonderful source of inspiration.
She loves being in her adopted country and believes that Portugal has a huge heart, which
the world should know more about. Portugal also doesn’t appear in many English-language
novels and Susan hopes that, now, that will change.
“Forest Dancer” is her fourth novel but it is her second one set in Portugal (in the forests
near Lisbon).
“Rising Tide” was her first book (third one published) set in Portugal, in a tiny fishing village
on the beautiful, rugged Alentejo coast. One of the themes of this book is man against the sea.
They are both contemporary romance/suspense stories.
Her first novel was “Perfect Score”, set in 1960s USA and is a LGBT romance/suspense
covering many social issues of the time – including having to cope with dyslexia.
“Hewhay Hall” is a dark fantasy which won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition)
Award in 2013 in their horror category.
Do pop over to any of her social media sites and say hello. Susan loves to hear from readers.

Blog and Website:

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(Europe/UK only) or
2nd Prize: An ecopy of the book (2 prize winners outside

3rd Prize: A £10 Amazon gift token (open internationally)

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman - Book Review

Today I am reviewing the delightful The Garden of Small Beginnings which is published today

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Publication Date:  22 February 2018
Publisher:  Sphere

The place where friendship grows ........

In the three years since her husband died in a car accident, Lili has just about managed to resume her day-to-day life as a single mother and successful illustrator. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work and watch TV like a pro. But there's still the small problem of the aching loss she feels inside.

When she's commissioned to illustrate a series of horticultural books, and signs up to a weekly gardening class, finally her life starts to blossom again. The class provides Lili with a new network of unexpected friends – friends with their own heartaches and problems – and, maybe, another chance at love . . .

Set in Southern California, The Garden of Small Beginnings is a lovely, poignant, sad but very funny look at life from the roots of friendship to the blooming of romance ........
Lili is still recovering from the shock of losing her beloved husband but her sister Rachel thinks she's ready for a new romance - Lili's disinterested but that doesn't stop Rachel from trying to match her up with any available eligible man.  
The interactions between the sisters is one of many hilarious moments in the story.  I laughed and giggled so much at their dry sense of humour.
They both attend the weekly gardening class, together with Lili's adorable and also very funny two young daughters and they meet an odd but very friendly assortment of people.  A retired banker, two teachers, a surfer dude and a single mother, not to mention the very dishy teacher Edward.
In between the chapters are filled with gardening tips, which was written in a brilliant tongue in cheek way.
This is a wonderful story of the unexpected events that happen in our lives, some tragic, some happy, and of the consequences and how we deal with those events, it's about friendships and people...... it's honest and uplifting and emotional.....and I loved it!


Born in England, Abbi Waxman has worked as a copywriter and then a creative director at various advertising agencies in London and New York, including Ogilvy and Mather, Y&R, Grey, and Wunderman. After successfully ghost-writing Nicole Ritchie's novel, Abbi quit advertising, and turned to writing of her own. Abbi lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, three dogs, three cats and seven chickens.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Year of New Adventures by Maddie Please - Blog Tour & Guest Post

Today I am featuring Maddie Please with her hilarious new book A Year of New Adventures and Maddie has written a guest post especially for my blog telling us five things about her!

Genre:  Holiday humour
Publication Date:  5 February 2018
Publisher:  Avon
Estimated Page Count:  400

Amazon UK:
Book Depository:

It’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected.

Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds, sure half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her! Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning 3-4 writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want?

That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she take control of her life.

So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …

Because sometimes you need an adventure!

Guest Post by author Maddie Please

Five Things About Me.

  1. When it comes to food I like temperature extremes. Very cold, hard ice cream. None of that soft, whippy stuff for me! Very hot chilli, soup, lasagne. Anything tepid or just warm is a no-no.

  1. I love making bread. I went on a one-day course with Exeter Cookery School @cookinexeter recently and had a great time. I’m thinking of going to their French Bistro Course next.

  1. My ideal holiday is a road trip to America with my husband. I know it’s not the cool thing to say but I love America. Every time I go there I am amazed by the people, the landscape, the sheer size of the country.

  1. I love the Tudor period in history and I can’t resist buying every book I see on the subject - particularly about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Even though I know it won’t end well for either of them!

  1. I’m a member of a Twitter band of 10 writers called the Literary Lovelies some of whom I’ve never met. They are a marvellous group who provide support encouragement and enthusiasm. We try and meet up occasionally but we are scattered through the UK and it’s not always easy.

Thank you Maddie!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Betrayal by Anne Allen - Blog Tour, Book Review & Giveaway

Today is my stop on The Betrayal blog tour and I'm delighted to be sharing my review with you all

Genre:  Mystery/Drama/Romance
Publication Date:  20 October 2017
No 6 in The Guernsey Novels series – each book standalone but with links to others
Estimated Page Count:  296

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:
Book Depository:

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love
1940.  Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved
husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to
Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans
and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the
family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is
missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona buy a long-established antique
shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of
paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later,
Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to
accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to
help her discover the truth…
Searching for the true owner of the painting brings Fiona
close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart.
Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her
brother's ghost to rest?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

The Betrayal is set in Guernsey and is a pleasing mix of
mystery and romance with a dash of the supernatural.

It was an easy read and easy to get involved in the
characters lives. The story goes back and forth
between 1940 and 2011. During WWII Guernsey was
preparing for a German invasion as the British
Government had withdrawn their defence of the island.
This was an interesting piece of history and which maybe not many
people today are aware of so I thought it was good to
highlight this.

Fiona was distraught at the murder of her twin brother
and is determined to find out the killer even if it means
possibly putting her own life in danger.

There are wonderful descriptions of the beauty of
Guernsey, the beaches and the walks, the shops and the
sea views that I could almost feel myself there.

This was a really good storyline, heartbreaking in parts
but also with a little romance, it had strong characters
who I cared about, and some that I didn't! I was quickly
turning the pages eager to know the answers.


A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!

For this week only, until 18th Februarythe price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, 'Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen's birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of 'Dangerous Waters' and the recent publication of book 6, 'The Betrayal'.


Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby.  Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.
Social Media Links – Website:

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Betrayal by Anne Allen (Open Internationally)

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