Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Fantasy, Mystery, Noir, Political Thriller

Million Eyes C.R.Berry 4 * #Review @CRBerry1 @elsewhenpress #BlogTour #SFF @rararesources #SpeculativeFiction #Conspiracy #thriller #BookReview

How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.

Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo is targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

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#MillionEyes
Link to Book trailer Link to book Trailer

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A delicious fusion of conspiracy, crime, history and time-travel science fiction.

Science fiction is not a genre I read, but this story focuses on an intriguing conspiracy theory. It is easy to understand, and if you open your mind to the fantasy, plausible enough to hold your interest. A quirky duo of historical detectives takes on a menacing ominous power that is at war with human history.

The historical connections and flashbacks, give the story its depth and kept me reading. The dynamic between the history teacher and the history graduate is believable. They are complex and flawed, and very much the underdogs. You want them to find out the truth, and as the story progresses you want them to survive.

Engaging, intelligently written and page-turning.

C.R. Berry

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.

After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.

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#BlogTour
Posted in Book Spotlight, Guest post, Mystery, Romantic Comedy

The Cornish Secret of Summer's Promise Laura Briggs #GuestPost @PaperDollWrites @rararesources #ALittleHotelinCornwall #RomCom #Cornwall #PublicationDay

As spring slips away from the hotel Penmarrow, excitement builds for an exclusive auction hosted at the hotel, featuring priceless possessions from a Hollywood actress turned lady of the manor, including her famous diamonds. Celebrities and collectors form a crowd that is keeping Maisie and the rest of staff busy, even as Maisie faces a crossroads for her manuscript.

But when the diamonds are stolen and Sidney is accused by the authorities, Maisie’s dilemma as a writer is pushed aside out of fear that his future in Port Hewer is in jeopardy. Desperation to prove that someone else is behind the theft will lead Maisie to uncover a very different secret outside of jewel thieves and village rumours… one that could change her life and her future forever.

Can Maisie deal with the latest secrets exposed — including those that paint Sidney’s past in a questionable light? And as summer’s dawn alters her idyllic life in Cornwall, will Maisie’s feelings for Sidney change as well?

Amazon UK

#PublicationDay
Guest Post Laura Briggs Fun Facts about My Romance Series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’

Thank you so much to Jane for letting me stop by and share with her lovely readers today. It’s publication day for Book Four in my Cornish romance series about aspiring author Maisie who finds herself working at a historic hotel by the sea. This latest instalment is filled with romance, secrets, and even a bit of mystery—and I thought it might be rather exciting to share with you some of the fun facts behind the story’s creation. So here goes:

  • The concept for a plucky young American woman entangled with a daring theft on foreign shores was inspired partly by the 1989 TV movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit. It, too, features a ‘fish out of water’ scenario for a daring young heroine, a grand and mysterious foreign adventure, and a rugged, British love interest with a little bit of mystery in his past! Blake Edwards’ 1960’s comedy The Pink Panther was another influence, especially for Maisie’s latest brush with jewel thieves, along with the Road to Avonlea season four episode “The Disappearance” guest starring Diana Rigg and Robby Benson. I really love daring adventure stories with romantic settings and a touch of mystery, as you can see!
  • References to Doctor Who abound in my Cornish series, since both Maisie and her would-be love interest Sidney are huge fans of the classic science fiction show.  But there’s a more subtle nod to the franchise in this book, with the choice of ‘Eccleston’ as a surname for the silent film star whose possessions are being auctioned at the hotel—the same last name as that of the actor who portrayed the 9th incarnation of the Doctor in the 2005 series revival (the very first series of Doctor Who that I ever watched, in fact!).
  • The jewelled dragon mentioned among the famous actresses’ collection in the story was inspired by the one featured in the 1991 Disney television movie Bejewelled, while the theft of a diamond necklace harkens back to the 1981 classic The Great Muppet Caper. Both of them are films that remind us that a little bit of mystery can pop up in any kind of story.
  • The character of Detective Anson is a nod to such classic literary investigators as Lord Peter Wimsey, Maigret, and Hercule Poirot. Every classic genre mystery has a distinctive, inscrutable investigator at its heart, after all.
  •   The Lady Marverly novel that pops up in the hands of various characters throughout the story is meant to be a (rather obvious) reference to the ‘bodice ripper’ type paperbacks one used to see for sale in supermarkets, often featuring the male model Fabio on the cover. I thought it would be nice to pay subtle tribute to the original ‘standard’ in romance literature that everybody has seen, with its memorable and oh-so unmistakable hunky male models on its covers!

So hopefully these fun facts will make you curious enough to check out Maisie’s newest adventure, as well as the rest of the series. The first four stories are available in eBook format, with book five currently on pre-order!

#LauraBriggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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#GiveawayPrize
Giveaway  – 3 Winners to win a ‘surprise’ three-dimensional pop-up card & receive a digital copy of Book One, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. (Open INT)

Each winner will receive a ‘surprise’ three-dimensional pop-up card handcrafted by an Etsy artist and bearing a clue about the next book in Laura Briggs’ Cornish romance series. The winners will also receive a digital copy of Book One, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.

Click on Giveaway Link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the 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.

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Travel

Before The Coffee Gets Cold 5* #Review Toshikazu Kawaguchi Translator Geoffrey Trousselot @picadorbooks #Toshikazu Kawaguchi #timetravel #timeslip #LiteraryFiction #Japan #CoffeeShop #Tokyo #BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold #BookReview

#BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold

What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Pan MacMillan – Picador Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, in a nondescript coffee shop in Tokyo. This story has only a few characters. Everyone in the coffee shop has a story, and this follows four individuals as they travel back in time, not to change the present, but to understand someone they care about better. Or, to make themselves understood. The time travel has many rules, but for those who follow them, there are surprisingly positive results.

This story is beautifully translated, and the ambience and culture come through the characters and the setting. This is an emotional, quirky tale of discord, misunderstanding, loss and love. The time travellers are ordinary people, they want the opportunity to do something different, in the past. This makes them authentic and relatable, and the story engaging.

The rules of the unexpected time travel are fixed, and give a sense of reality, in a fantasy situation. I understood this world, and therefore enjoyed the story.

Enchanting and original, but strangely believable, because of the authentic characters and the contemporary urban setting.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The Cake Fairies Isabella May 3*#Review @IsabellaMayBks @rararesources #timeslip #magic #timetravel #romcom #1960s #2019 #TheCakeFaires #BlogTour #BookReview

1960’s Somerset is no fun for cousins Polly and Annabelle Williams. Mourning their non-existent love lives, and the mundanity of village life, their only pleasure is baking – until a chance encounter has them magically transported to the bright lights of London… in 2019!

Promised a chance of love, first they must teach the people of the future about the simpler pleasures of life by becoming Cake Fairies. Over the course of a year they set off on a delectable tour of the UK, dropping off cakes in the most unexpected of places and replacing the lure of technology with much sweeter temptations.

But will their philanthropical endeavours lead them to everlasting love? Or will they discover you can’t have your cake and eat it?

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#TheCakeFairies

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The iconic late 1960s meets technology-obsessed 2019 with cake. Bizzare? Well, only if you try to rationalise it. If you accept the fantasy, filled with magical time travel and enjoy Polly and Annabelle’s quest to get people talking face to face again, and stopping to smell the flowers, this story is fun.

The opening section, which outlines the women’s lives in 1960s Somerset is detailed and slows the pace, but the younger age group, this book is targeted at, may need the detail, to see why life in 2019, is so amazing and terrifying for the intrepid time travellers.

The gem of this story is Polly and Annabelle’s adventure in 2019 and the good they achieve there. The humour is plentiful, there are romance, cake and food in abundance. It’s the perfect book for romantic foodies, who have unending imaginations.

#IsabellaMay

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.

The Cake Fairies is her fifth novel.

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Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Saga

A Home From Home Veronica Henry 5* #Review @veronica_henry @orionbooks #Lifestyle #Relationships #Secrets #ContemporaryFiction #FamilyDrama #Saga #BookReview

#AHomeFromHome

Curl up with a heartwarming family drama of love, cider and family secrets…

Dragonfly Farm has been a home and a haven for generations of Melchiors – arch-rivals to the Culbones, the wealthy family who live on the other side of the river. Life there is dictated by the seasons and cider-making, and everyone falls under its spell.

For cousins Tabitha and Georgia, it has always been a home from home. When a tragedy befalls their beloved Great-Uncle Matthew, it seems the place where they’ve always belonged might now belong to them…

But the will reveals that a third of the farm has also been left to a Culbone. Gabriel has no idea why he’s been included, or what his connection to the farm – or the Melchiors – can be.

As the first apples start to fall for the cider harvest, will Dragonfly Farm begin to give up its secrets?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

You can almost smell the apples in the orchard, the descriptions are so real, in this lovely family saga set in Somerset.

The plot is layered and stretches across the generations, as the loves, losses, relationships and secrets of two warring families are revealed. Complex, relatable characters bring this story to life. The setting is rural and vividly described, and is interwoven with the history and the lives of the characters, it’s a character in itself.

The perfect read for a cold winter’s afternoon.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic

The Violinist's Apprentice Isabella Mancini 3 *#Review @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @AuthorMancini @IsabellaManci10 #TimeSlip #historical #fantasy #Italy #17thCentury #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs @rararesources


#TheViolinistsApprentice

A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

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#BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

#TheViolinistsApprentice Image Credit Isabella Mancini

My Thoughts…

An original plot that involves timeslip from the 21st-century present day to 17th century Italy. The story centres around Clementina, a young girl who is naive and impressionable. A fusion between timeslip and fantasy in a contemporary and historical setting, it does require you to open your mind, to magic, time travel.

It takes a while, to set the scene, as the book is mainly told from Clementina’s point of view. Some chapters introduce a strange mystical woman. In Clementina’s contemporary school there is a rather creepy man, who is instigating the quest for objects, from the seven wonders of the world. There is a tenuous connection with twenty-first-century environmental problems.

I like the story’s themes, and the timeslip into 17th century Italy, but the plot seems overly complex and it’s hard to follow all the elements, as written, even though you understand the reason for them. The writing is vivid and descriptive, but the author’s vision and fantasy world need to be clearer to the reader.

#IsabellaMancini

Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books.  She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:

An Englishwoman in America, From Paradis to Perdition, Pensioners in Paradis, The Mazurek Express, Lamplight, Vichyssoise, 3rd Degree Murder.

Twitter Facebook Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past Amazon page for Isabella Mancini Amazon page for Olga Swan

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of An Englishwoman in America (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the 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.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama

The Blossom Twins Carol Wyer 5* #Review @carolewyer @bookouture #crimefiction #PoliceProcedural #DetectiveNatalieWard #FamilyDrama #BookReview

#TheBlossomTwins

Their parents thought they were hiding…

One beautiful summer’s evening, thirteen-year-old twins Ivy and Erin Westmore snuggle down in a tent in their back garden, giggling and sharing secrets.

When their mother goes to wake the girls the next morning, their tent is empty.

The alarm is raised and Detective Natalie Ward is put onto the case. When the twins’ bodies are discovered on nearby marshland, covered with deep pink petals, an icy shiver travels down Natalie’s spine. Everything about the girls’ deaths reminds her of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career, which saw a killer of the worst kind placed behind bars.

The next day, that feeling is heightened when she receives a chilling note saying ‘I’m back’. Is this killer a copycat or did Natalie put the wrong person in prison all those years ago? In a small town, where no stranger goes unnoticed, what is Natalie missing?

Consumed by the case, determined to prevent more deaths, Natalie misses the fact that it is her attention the killer wants. And to get it, he has his sights set firmly on her precious daughter Leigh…

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An addictive mix of crime fiction and family drama makes the Detective Natalie Ward, series a must-read. for me. This one is particularly harrowing. Child abduction and murder are every persons’ nightmare, but you are immediately invested in the investigation and want the perpetrator to be found before anyone else goes missing or dies.

The story is immersive, from the first abduction to the journey into the past, and the return to the hell of the present. The emotions are close to the surface and so realistic. Natalie has lost part of herself, with every murder she’s investigated and solved, but these bring back guilty feelings from the past. Coupled with her dramatic home life, she is on the edge and struggles with the objectivity she needs to be effective.

The team of detectives are authentically written and familiar from past books. All the characters are complex and relatable. The plot undulates between high adrenaline, and slow-paced frustration, as the workload increases and the dead ends mount up.

The dramatic but plausible ending brings an emotionally draining story to a realistic, but shocking, unexpected conclusion.