Blog Tour: Warwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

Cover_Warwick's MermaidTitle: Warwick’s Mermaid

Author: Ellie Gray

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Having escaped an abusive relationship, Chloe MacGregor is determined to put the past behind her. The little cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful North Yorkshire town of Whitby is her safe haven, somewhere she is free to be herself.

When the arrival of her new neighbor and boss, Luke Warwick, threatens her peaceful, sheltered life, Chloe is forced to confront her past and to re-evaluate who she really is. Falling in love with Luke is not part of her plan but, to her surprise, Luke is falling for her too. The only thing preventing their happy ever after is Chloe herself. Will she ever truly learn to leave the past where it belongs?


Review:

fourstarsA quick read, I did enjoy Warwick’s Mermaid. I prefer characters with flaws in my romance, and even though there was an attraction between Luke and Chloe, her own past did make for a slow burn in terms of their relationship. The setting was absolutely gorgeous and made me want to go visit North Yorkshire, just to see the beach area. I would certainly look for other books by this author.


Excerpt:

Luke relaxed back in his chair, his body angled towards Chloe, one arm resting casually on the table, the other along the back of his chair. In stark contrast, she was sitting bolt upright, her hands clasped tightly in her lap, and his gaze narrowed thoughtfully as he watched her battling with some emotion. He had been taken by surprise when he saw her walk into the room with Lucie, recognising her instantly as the girl he had been captivated by on the beach below his cliff-top cottage. He remembered how her auburn curls, tumbling down to the base of her spine, had shone brightly in the sunlight as she collected shells along the shore, oblivious to his gaze. And now here she was again; except tonight she was tense and uneasy, whereas on the beach she had seemed relaxed, carefree, and somehow ethereal. 

“Red or white?” 

She looked up in surprise and Luke smiled faintly, gesturing to the wine bottles sitting on the table. 

“Do you drink red or white?” 

“Oh, er…white, please.” She briefly met his gaze before adding, “Can’t stand red.” 

As he reached forward to pour her a glass, she snapped around to face him. “This isn’t a blind date, is it?” 

He favoured her with a curious glance, taking his time with pouring himself a glass of water before settling back into his seat. “I’ve just moved to the area. A friend suggested the ball and put me in touch with Clive, and I couldn’t think of a good reason why not. He mentioned Lucie would be bringing a friend, but in answer to your question, no, I didn’t understand it to be a blind date.” 

Chloe nodded and sipped at her wine, clearly unconvinced. 

“I gather Lucie has persuaded you here under false pretences?” Aware that this was somehow a big deal for her, he frowned and leant forward. “Look, forget Lucie’s intentions, blind date or otherwise. Even if I hadn’t been invited as part of the group, you would still be sitting next to a stranger. Why don’t we start again as two people who happen to meet up at a ball, safe in the knowledge that, after this evening, we don’t have to see each other ever again if we don’t want to?” 

“Luke Warwick.” He reached out his hand, holding her gaze. 

After a brief hesitation, she took it, the tension visibly leaving her body as she smiled at him in relief. “Chloe MacGregor.”


Ellie Gray Author Profile PicAbout the Author:

I love to write heartwarming, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense novels, with characters I really want my readers to engage with. I live in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK and, although I work full-time in the public sector, my favourite pastime, when not writing, is wandering around old stately homes and castles, or sitting at a pavement café in the sun and watching the world go by – always on the lookout for something that might spark the idea for my next novel.

I enjoy engaging with both readers and other authors, and am a proud member of the Romantic Novelist Association. Feel free to contact me and chat about all things romance through my social media pages, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Warwicks-Mermaid-Ellie-Gray-ebook/dp/B096MS49HX

https://www.amazon.com/Warwicks-Mermaid-Ellie-Gray-ebook/dp/B096MS49HX

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/warwicks-mermaid-ellie-gray/1126986525

Social Media Links:

https://elliegrayauthor.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/elliegray58

Pinterest:  https://uk.pinterest.com/elliegray71/


Giveaway:

Ellie Gray will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blog Tour: ‘Tho I Be Mute by Heather Miller

Mute CoverTitle: ‘Tho I Be Mute

Author: Heather Miller

Blurb:

Home. Heritage. Legacy. Legend.

In 1818, Cherokee John Ridge seeks a young man’s education at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. While there, he is overcome with sickness yet finds solace and love with Sarah, the steward’s quiet daughter. Despite a two-year separation, family disapproval, defamatory editorials, and angry mobs, the couple marries in 1824.

Sarah reconciles her new family’s spirituality and her foundational Christianity. Although, Sarah’s nature defies her new family’s indifference to slavery. She befriends Honey, half-Cherokee and half-African, who becomes Sarah’s voice during John’s extended absences.

Once arriving on Cherokee land, John argues to hold the land of the Cherokees and that of his Creek neighbors from encroaching Georgian settlers. His success hinges upon his ability to temper his Cherokee pride with his knowledge of American law. Justice is not guaranteed.

Rich with allusions to Cherokee legends, ‘Tho I Be Mute speaks aloud; some voices are heard, some are ignored, some do not speak at all, compelling readers to listen to the story of a couple who heard the pleas of the Cherokee.


Review:
fourstars
Although this novel had a bit of a slow start for me after the prologue, I was captivated by John and Sarah’s love story, as well as very interested in John’s work to try to make an agreement with the US government to allow his people to keep their land. I feel there were some parts that were rushed, but the writing is very beautiful and engaging, and the symbolism is lovely. Definitely worth the read for fans of American historical fiction.


Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link: https://books2read.com/u/mV6p5r

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tho-Be-Mute-Heather-Miller-ebook/dp/B08ZB276Y2

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tho-Be-Mute-Heather-Miller-ebook/dp/B08ZB276Y2

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Tho-Be-Mute-Heather-Miller-ebook/dp/B08ZB276Y2

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Tho-Be-Mute-Heather-Miller-ebook/dp/B08ZB276Y2


Heather MillerAbout the Author:

As an English educator, Heather Miller has spent twenty-three years teaching her students the author’s craft. Now, she is writing it herself, hearing voices from the past. 

Miller’s foundation began in the theatre, through performance storytelling. She can tap dance, stage-slap someone, and sing every note from Les Misérables. Her favorite role is that of a fireman’s wife and mom to three: a trumpet player, a future civil engineer, and a future RN. There is only one English major in her house. 

While researching, writing, and teaching, she is also working towards her M FA in Creative Writing. Heather’s corndog-shaped dachshund, Sadie, deserves an honorary degree.


Social Media Links:

Website: https://heathermillerauthor.com/home/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HMHFR

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-miller-896627208/

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

Pinterest: https://pin.it/26kOsvl

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/tho-i-be-mute-by-heather-miller


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Blog Tour: Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling by Zenobia Neil

ariadneebookcoverjpgTitle: Ariadne Unraveled: A Mythic Retelling

Author: Zenobia Neil

Genre: Mythic Retelling/Historical Romance

Blurb:

Ariadne, high priestess of Crete, grew up duty-bound to the goddess Artemis. If she takes a husband, she must sacrifice him to her goddess after no more than three years of marriage. For this reason, she refuses to love any man, until a mysterious stranger arrives on her island.

The stranger is Dionysus, the new god of wine who empowers women and breaks the rules of the old gods. He came to Crete seeking vengeance against Artemis. He never expected to fall in love.

Furious that Dionysus would dare meddle with her high priestess, Artemis threatens to kill Ariadne if Dionysus doesn’t abandon her. Heartbroken, the new god leaves Crete, vowing to become better than the Olympians.

From the bloody labyrinth and the shadows of Hades to the halls of Olympus, Dionysus must find a way to defy Artemis and unite with his true love. Forced to betray her people, Ariadne discovers her own power to choose between the goddess she pledged herself to and the god she loves.


Review:
fivestarsEvery now and then, it’s really lovely to harken back to my first love – Greek mythology. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The storytelling was beautifully done, with vivid description and characters I rooted for the whole way through, especially Thalia. This departs from the commonly told myths of Ariadne and Dionysus and results in an absolutely charming and captivating love story. Certainly well worth the read for anyone who enjoys mythic retellings coupled with romance.


Buy Links:

Universal Amazon Link: https://books2read.com/u/bwolxGAmazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09647R6CF

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09647R6CF


Zenobia Neil author pictureAbout the Author:

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes historical romance about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com

Social Media Links:

Website: www.zenobianeil.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZenobiaNeil

Facebook: www.facebook.com/zenobianeilauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zenobia.neil/?hl=en

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/zenobianeil 

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/zenobia-neil

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Zenobia-Neil/e/B01KY86Q46

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15661007.Zenobia_Neil


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Blog Tour: One Must Die by Mark Tilbury

onemustdieTitle: One Must Die

Author: Mark Tilbury

Blurb:

I have both your sons, Mr Levitt. One of them must die. You choose.

Widower Sean Levitt receives the ominous message in the post a few days after his teenage boys go missing on their way to army cadets. As time progresses, the abductor makes increasingly horrific demands of Sean by sending him DVDs, and telling him to post videos online of the shocking assignments he sets him.

One Must Die is the story of one man’s fight to keep his sons alive, and the terrible lengths he must go to in order to do so.

Can Sean do what the police have failed to do and find his sons?

Or will the abductor achieve his twisted aim of destroying his entire family?


Review:
fivestars
Living up to the name ‘Twisted Tilbury’ has become quite a vocation for this author. It’s every parents’ worst nightmare: your children have been kidnapped. Adding on another layer of psychopathy to that is the killer is asking you which one lives and which one dies. Plot elements are expertly drip fed to the reader until we reach the point of revelation. Definitely one of the darker novels written by Mark Tilbury, thriller fans will love piecing together this twisted mystery.


2017 Author picAbout the Author:

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing and after being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and began self-publishing. Mark’s writing has earned him the name #TwistedTilbury due to the dark and twisted nature of his books. He’s published 10 thrillers, and an 11th is due out 24th June 2021.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.

Mark sends out e-mail newsletters once a month to keep readers updated with news and offering them chances to win exclusive prizes. You can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bNSvJn

Did you know that you can follow authors on Amazon? If you hit the ‘follow’ button on my author page, you’ll be kept updated of any price reductions and new publications.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Tilbury…


BLOG-TOUR

Blog Tour: The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney

The Cotillion Brigade coverTitle: The Cotillion Brigade 

(A Novel of the Civil War and the Most Famous Female Militia in American History)

Author: Glen Craney

Blurb:

Georgia burns.

Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.

Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?

Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is an epic novel of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood in devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

— John Jeter, The Plunder Room

  1. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and war against the homefront hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.


Review:
fivestars
A brilliant historical novel encapsulating a little-known part of American Civil War history. I was very engaged from the start, and really enjoyed learning about these brave women. I know women sacrificed much during the war, on both fronts. Well worth the read for anyone interested in this time period.


Buy Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08XJ4Z3DM

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-cotillion-brigade

IBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1555830477

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cotillion-brigade-glen-craney/1138906614


GlenAbout the Author:

A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California.


Connect with Glen:

Website: www.glencraney.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/glencraney

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gcraney5618/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1516207.Glen_Craney

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glen-Craney/e/B002C1VQZ8


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Blog Tour: Saving Grace by H D Coulter

Saving Grace coverTitle: Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption.

(The Ropewalk series, Book 2)

Author: H D Coulter

Blurb:

Beacon Hill, Boston. 1832.

“You are innocent. You are loved. You are mine.”

After surviving the brutal attack and barely escaping death at Lancaster Castle, Beatrice Mason attempts to build a new life with her husband Joshua across the Atlantic in Beacon Hill. But, as Beatrice struggles to cope with the pregnancy and vivid nightmares, she questions whether she is worthy of redemption.

Determined to put the past behind her after the birth of her daughter Grace, Bea embraces her newfound roles of motherhood and being a wife. Nevertheless, when she meets Sarah Bateman, their friendship draws Bea towards the underground railroad and the hidden abolitionist movement, despite the dangerous secrets it poses. Whilst concealed in the shadows, Captain Victor Hanley returns, obsessed with revenge and the desire to lay claim to what is his, exposes deceptions and doubts as he threatens their newly established happiness.

Now, Beatrice must find the strength to fight once more and save Grace, even if it costs her life.


Ropewalk; Rebellion. Love. Survival (The Ropewalk Series, Book 1) is only 0.99 on ebook during the tour. Here are the buy links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Universal Link to other bookshops: https://books2read.com/u/bxjlQd


Review:

Check out my review of the first book here!
fivestars
So, I don’t want to give away too much, since you really need to read the first book as well, but all I can say is, DAMN! When is book 3 coming? Cause it need it, like, yesterday! Amazing historical fiction. This is definitely an author to watch.


About the Author:

Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.

As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn’t until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.


Social Media Links:

Website: https://hdcoulter.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/coulter_hd

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hd.coulter/?hl=en

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

Sign up to Hayley’s newsletter between now and May 30th to be placed into a giveaway raffle for a personalised BookBox, including a signed copy of Ropewalk and Saving Grace.

http://eepurl.com/hjgxYf


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Blog Tour: Of Love and Vengeance by Louise Lyndon

BookCover_ Of Love and Vengeance KDPTitle: Of Love and Vengeance

Author: Louise Lyndon

Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephews survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

FREE for the duration of the tour!
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/Of-LoveandVengeance


Review:
fourstars
This historical romance fondly reminded me of ones I had read when I first started delving into the genre, especially A Year and a Day by Virginia Henley. I liked the characters, even though they did things a bit backwards from the traditional romances. I very much enjoyed Laila as a character and Aymon had redeeming qualities. Some of the historical elements were a bit stretched and there were a few editing/proofreading niggles that pulled me a bit away from the narrative at times, but the love story was still very beautiful.


Excerpt:

Laila swallowed hard, hoping to choke down the words which threatened to hurtle from her mouth in defense of her home. She inhaled deeply. And when she was sure she was not going to blurt the words she so desperately wanted to shout, she said simply, “Only three serfs remain, and they are hunting. They will return shortly,” she lied.

“They dare leave the Lady of the manor unprotected?”

Laila would have been deaf not to hear the derision in his voice. “Although, you hardly need protecting, do you? And your husband? Where is he? Is he hunting, too?”

“I do not have a husband.”

He nodded his head in understanding. She was unwed; a lone woman with no one to protect her. She was at his complete mercy. She knew it. He knew it.

The rasp of his strong fingers against his day old stubble filled the silent great hall. With his mind seemingly made up, he strode toward the door. “It’s too late to do anything about it today, but be ready first thing on the morrow.”

Laila followed close on his heels. “Ready for what?”

Without missing a step, he threw over his shoulder, “Our wedding.”


author imageAbout the Author:

Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

Her obsession with all things medieval continued upon her return and shortly after settling back in to Aussie life she wrote the first of the two Warriors In Love novels – Of Love and Vengeance (book 1), and Of Love and Betrayal (book 2).

Louise temporarily re-joined the 21st century with a soon to be released new series – Justice Served. Book 1 – Nowhere to Hide is scheduled for release in 2021.

Not yet ready to leave modern times Louise has started work on a new series, Shame Defy about rock gods and their journey to finding “the one”. Book one is scheduled for release in 2022.


Connect with Louise via:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005458125421 

Email – louiselyndonauthor@gmail.com 

Website – http://www.LouiseLyndon.net


GIVEAWAY:

Louise Lyndon will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blog Tour: The Shadow of Versailles by Cathie Dunn

Shadows of Versailles smallestTitle: The Shadows of Versailles

(An Affair of the Poisons Book One)

Author: Cathie Dunn

Blurb:

Dazzled by Versailles. Broken by tragedy. Consumed by revenge.

When Fleur de La Fontaine attends the court of King Louis XIV for the first time, she is soon besotted with handsome courtier, Philippe de Mortain. She dreams of married life away from her uncaring mother, but Philippe keeps a secret from her.

Nine months later, after the boy she has given birth to in a convent is whisked away, she flees to Paris where she mends gowns in the brothel of Madame Claudette, a woman who helps ‘fallen’ girls back on their feet.

Jacques de Montagnac investigates a spate of abducted children when his path crosses Fleur’s. He searches for her son, but the trail leads to a dead end – and a dreadful realisation.

Her boy’s suspected fate too much to bear, Fleur decides to avenge him. She visits the famous midwife, La Voisin, but it’s not the woman’s skills in childbirth that Fleur seeks.

La Voisin dabbles in poisons.

Will Fleur see her plan through? Or can she save herself from a tragic fate?

Delve into The Shadows of Versailles and enter the sinister world of potions, poisoners and black masses during the Affairs of the Poisons, a real event that stunned the court of the Sun King!


Buy Links:

Is your book on Kindle Unlimited? – Yes.

Universal Link (if you have it): Amazon:  https://mybook.to/ShadowsVersailles  

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08LHC27F7/ 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LHC27F7/ 

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08LHC27F7/ 

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B08LHC27F7/


Review:
fivestars
Certainly one of the most intriguing periods in history, The Shadow of Versailles takes the reader directly into Louis XIV’s dazzling and dangerous court. Jacques de Montagnac is faced with uncovering a mysterious string of poisonings and disappearing infants, but will someone he holds dear be at the center of it all?

Personally, I thought Jacques should have featured more heavily in the blurb, because he is the main character of this series. Fleur is a sympathetic character, driven by revenge and subject to the burdens of women at the time. I felt deeply for her plight and immense sadness at her fate. I would be very keen to continue reading about Jacques and his further investigations of the poisonings at Versailles and I look forward to the next book in the series. This will appeal to historical mystery lovers with a penchant for reading novels set at the time of the Sun King.


Cathie DunnAbout the Author:

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing, with a focus on novel writing, which she now teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

Her stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

After nearly two decades in Scotland, she now lives in the historic city of Carcassonne in the south of France with her husband, two cats and a rescue dog. 


Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.cathiedunn.com 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cathiedunn 

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.fr/cathiedunnwrites/ 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cathie-dunn 

Amazon Author Page: https://author.to/CathieDunn  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5066224.Cathie_Dunn


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Blog Tour: Wired by the FBI by Glenn Painter

Cover_Wired by the FBITitle: Wired by the F.B.I.

Author: Glenn Painter 

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense, Thriller

Blurb:

Christian Romano lives his life as a con-artist, burglar, drug dealer, and a ladies’ man, using his good looks to con wealthy women out of jewels and money. When he is arrested and jailed in one of the most violent jails in the U.S. (Cook County in Chicago), a steamy affair begins with a nympho female jail guard. When he loses control of the romance, Christian must end the affair by reporting her to Internal Affairs. It turns out that she is already under suspicion for supplying drugs to various gang members inside the jail. He has to decide if he is “rogue” enough to help set her up for arrest. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to recruit Christian to gather information against a sadist ex-cop, Scott Mason, who has been arrested for murder. The risk? Christian must wear a wire and testify. The reward? Witness protection for Christian and his girlfriend and a modification of his prison sentence. Will Christian risk his life for a chance at freedom? Will the female sheriff “get even” with him? Or will his life end at the hands of the jail’s drug lords or a lunatic former cop?


Review:
fourstars
Not normally a book I would pick up on my own, however, I was pleasantly intrigued by the story, once I started to get into it. Based on true events, Wired by the FBI takes us into the mindset of Christian Romano as he’s jerked this way and that by the legal system and law enforcement. Christian’s straight-forward way of talking reminded me of the film, Blow, with Johnny Depp, in terms of his covert drug empire. The flow of the novel took some getting used to, and this is one for the long-haul readers, covering Romano’s life from beginning to now. I would say that there were a few proofing issues that did take me out of the story occasionally, and missing quotation marks at places, but they were easy enough to decipher based on the dialogue. This is definitely one for true crime fans, and I found myself looking up some of the case information about the man on which the main character is based. A solid four star read.


Excerpt:

U.S.S. Just Kill Me Now

Once we were through that charade, Smith began to explain how it all worked.

“This is a Swiss-made Nagra recorder. It’s a little heavy, but it gets the clearest recording of any machine we have ever used. Once you turn the machine on, you must let it run until the two hours expire, then take the tape out and exchange it with another. We will come by every couple day to bring new tapes and pick up the ones you have recorded. Do you understand everything so far?”

I could feel my mouth go dry as I stared into the case and wondered, What the f*** have I gotten myself into?

Then, the sound of Smith’s voice snapped me back to attention, “Here, get a feel for it.”

I took the silver-cased recorder from him and thought to myself, It’s too heavy and clunky to ever be concealed. The recorder was the size as a Sony Walkman cassette player, but three times heavier. Two wires, four feet each, ran from the machine with white plastic heads attached to each end. I had a bad feeling about the size and shape of this thing. It would be a real concern later.

Then Rogers said, “Because the heads on this machine are so sensitive, we will tape the recorder to your upper thigh and run the wires around your leg until the heads sit directly under the waistband of your underwear.”

Out of frustration, I said, “Great, if I have to piss and someone saddles up next to me and happens to look over at my manhood, they’re gonna get an eyeful of recorder wiring. Chances are I will be beaten to death after that miscue.”

My mind kept going back to the obvious lack of insight these square, fed boys had toward the real life within a jail.

“I’m about to go back to a jail with zero airflow and 100-degree heat. We walk around in our boxers all day.”

It was crystal clear that neither of these agents gave a rat’s ass about my safety.

Smith said, “We’ll just have to tape it higher up your thigh.”

“No, how about we strap it up your ass and let you go up there face-to-face with your boy.”

That was all they wanted to hear of my sarcasm and all hell broke loose as we tried to figure out how this was ever gonna work. The real logistical nightmare hit when I finally dropped my jail uniform pants and pulled up my boxers to see how it would fit on my inner thigh. After several years of martial arts and weightlifting, my thighs were far too big to fit the recorder under my boxers. Two agents played with the leg of my underwear, as they slid the fabric up and down with no success in figuring out how to get the damn machine up under my nut sack. Finally, I had had enough.

I asked, “Does anyone here have a knife with them?” They all stared at me in stunned silence.

Rogers finally spoke up. “I have a pocketknife,” he said as he handed it to me.

I jerked my boxers off and stood there with my dick dangling in the wind for all to admire. I measured the boxers to see where this heavy sack of metal was going to be placed. I began cutting a crude square hole in the upper right leg of my underwear. I was pretty certain the recorder would fit snugly in the hole. I slid my boxers back on and held the recorder where I had just cut the hole. The fit was very good, but now there was a different problem.

The recorder showed, so I had to come up with another way to cover the hole. I decided that if I was gonna pull this off, I would have to wear a second pair of boxers over the first pair. The outer ones had to hang lower on my torso and loosely enough to cover the recorder where it stuck out of my underwear. The hope was that the inner pair would hold the recorder in place well enough so it wouldn’t slip around. If this worked, I might be able to get away with it.

In my mind, I was thinking, what a cluster f*** this operation is. This would soon prove to be the way the F.B.I. does everything. So long as they are getting what they want, all else be damned. But at the moment, I had to wear this heavy chunk of metal under my nuts and hope that it stayed put and didn’t fall from my boxers like the anchor of the U.S.S. Just Kill Me Now.

Rogers wrapped the recorder with the ACE bandage he had brought and stepped back long enough for me to give it a light tug. I tugged on it ever so gently and knew immediately that it was too heavy.

“This thing is not gonna stay on my leg while I spend several hours walking up and down the tier. Are you trying to get me killed?” I asked. “Did either of you think to bring duct tape?”

Barry Smith had the audacity to respond by saying, “I didn’t want to bring any because I did not want to take the chance of it being considered contraband here at the jail.”

“You thought to bring my suicide machine, but you thought duct tape would set off alarms?” I shot back.

By now, Williamson had heard enough and walked back to his office. He reappeared a few moments later with some heavy, clear packing tape. We used that over the ACE bandage that the feds had brought to hold the recorder up. I gave the new configuration another slightly harder tug and everything seemed better. We then moved on to the next logistical nightmare, the swapping out of the tapes. It was actually Walsh that brought it up.

“How can the tapes be retrieved from Christian without stirring up attention?”

I had seen a movie once where a thick book was carved out and contraband was kept in the hollowed-out hole inside.

“Hey, I have one of those super thick books by Michener. I think it is about ancient Israel. I could take a razor blade out when it is time to shave and cut a hole in the center pages of the book to make a cavity large enough for the tapes. What do you guys think?” I asked.

Everyone was nodding their heads in agreement.

“I can put the book in my bars on the rear side toward the catwalk where no one will notice anything different. I have about four or five books back there now. What I can do is reverse this book so that the title faces out. When Sergeant Walsh walks around the tier, that will be his cue to grab that particular book, take the tape out and replace it with a new one.” I suggested.

They all agreed with the plan, so with the tape swap seemingly figured out, I was feeling a little better. I stood up to see how the recorder looked under my pants; and to my surprise, I could not see it through the clothing. I felt ready to go back to the jail and put the second pair of shorts over the first.

Barry Smith handed me a piece of paper and said, “This is a private phone number to our office that we call the ‘Hello’ line.

“When it rings through, it will be at a central desk where all the agents can pick it up. They will only answer by saying ‘Hello.’ When the jail recording announces that it is a collect call, everyone knows to accept the charges. You will then be speaking to one of the agents in our office. If it is after hours, the answering machine will come on, so speak to it as if you were leaving a message for me or Agent Rogers.”

It both surprised and impressed me that he was willing to give me a direct line in case of an emergency. For the first time, I felt a little less like a disposable piece of trash to these people. I took a pen from Buchan and rewrote the number in code so that if it were ever found, no one could access the actual number. When I was done, I stuffed the paper in my sock for safekeeping.

I looked at the two F.B.I. agents and asked, “Am I supposed to steer the conversation toward any certain topics?”

Smith spoke for them. “Since the conversation seems to come out of Mason’s mouth so frequently, just let him go, and see what happens.”

Barry Smith then handed me a second tape to have as a backup for the one that was already in the machine. After stuffing it into my other sock, I walked out with the heavy recorder strapped under my balls.

When I arrived back to my tier, Scott was talking on the phone. I walked past him and headed to my cell to get out of the jail clothes. I stripped down to my boxers to beat the crazy heat that hung over the unit like napalm. I stuck my head out of my cell to make sure the hallway was clear and slipped the second pair of boxers over the first. After pulling the outer pair down a few inches, they seemed to cover the protruding recorder just enough. I looked down and couldn’t tell where the recorder was. Just to be on the safe side, I put on an oversized shirt and let it billow out as I walked; this looked natural for the surroundings. It wasn’t five minutes and Scott was at the bars of my cell.

“You go to the hospital?” he asked.

“Yeah, I had to wait for the MRI machine to empty before I could go in. The radiologist was taking a smoke break between every MRI.”

I walked out of my cell and turned left, away from the guard post and began the ritual of walking from one end of the long hallway to the other.

When I walked away from my cell, I could feel Scott place his hand on my back. I tried not to freeze out of panic, but he had never touched me like that before. I had to wonder, Is he cleverly checking for a recording device? I tried to push the paranoia out of my mind, but it was tough with the stakes this high.


Author PHotoAbout the Author:

Glenn Painter is single and lives in Central Florida.  He became interested in writing at an early age but did not make it his career until 2014 when he published his first book, Beyond the Sentence.

Glenn has written this story from the notes by the man who actually lived it.  However, extensive research was also require in order to make the story factual.

Glenn has also founded a company, ‘Prisoner Civil Right Services.’  He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.  He is in constant contact with these individuals, their families and the council.  Most of his stories are inspired by ‘factual events’ that have happened to these individuals.  This makes his stories both fiction and non-fiction.

Glenn says that writing is very challenging, and you must love the trials and tribulations that come with it.  He believes that patience, perseverance and determination are required essentials to see a book through to being published.  The journey is just as important as the destination.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.gapainter.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Painter/e/B00NETNKU6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9875593.Glenn_Painter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author2663

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Blog Tour: Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton

jConfidential- Cover Under the Light of the Italian MoonTitle: Under the Light of the Italian Moon

Author: Jennifer Anton

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever
Fonzaso, Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.


Review:

(I had reviewed this novel previously for Readers’ Favorite. While I am unable to post my review on Goodreads or Amazon, due to their reviewer guidelines, I’m happy to present it here.)

Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a beautiful historical fiction novel about the life of Nina Argenta. Growing up in a small village in Italy, Nina’s mother is the local midwife, a strong woman who has delivered many babies and overcome many hardships. As Nina grows, Adalaisa, her mother, asks her to stay in the village after her brother goes off to American. Young, at the time, Nina agrees, but then she falls in love with Pietro Pante. He decides America is the future for him, so he leaves, but then ends up returning to marry Nina. Nina, however, knows she must remain for her mother. This, at times heart breaking and hopeful novel spans the course of two world wars as Nina and Pietro struggle with their lives apart, and through many tragedies.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton kept me captivated from the first page. Like a slow burning candle, the story of Nina and Pietro is told with skillful prose and historical accuracy to the time. I really loved how Miss Anton presents a realistic narrative, as well as showing how different generations deal with the hardships of war and maintaining relationships from a great distance. My favorite character was Nina and Pietro’s daughter, Laisa. I found her courage and steadfastness a good contrast to Nina’s sometimes instability with all the tragedy befalling her. I would definitely recommend this novel to someone who appreciates a carefully woven story, without rushing to a quick ending.


Buy Links:

Amazon: getbook.at/JAnton

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3n1nDqC​ 

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/under-the-light-of-the-italian-moon/jennifer-anton//9789493231009

Bookshop.org (U.S. only): https://bit.ly/3ofS39T

I am Books Boston: https://bit.ly/2Z0mWUO


Jennifer AntonAbout the Author:

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.


Social Media Links:

Website: www.boldwomanwriting.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/boldwomanwrites

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferantonauthorpage

Instagram: www.instagram.com/boldwomanwriting

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/janton1468/_created/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-anton

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Anton/e/B08RL6HBDN%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2XsHt3F

Youtube: https://bit.ly/3i9XvZA


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