Delighted to be a part of the #BlogTour for #TheWitchesofMoonshyneManor by Bianca Marais #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

The Blurb

A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.

Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation.

But the mob is only the start of their troubles. One man is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy he claims was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. Then things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle instead of the solution to all their problems.

The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of help from Persephone, a feisty ‘TikToker’ eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.

The Blog Tour

My thoughts…

This is a story of witches, in particular: a clairvoyant witch, a seductress, a botanist, one agoraphobe and an inventor… oh, there’s a missing witch as well, who’s rather outlandish – and so ‘The Witches of Moonshyne Manor’ begins… and with a rather abrupt start to the day. It’s this abrupt knocking that starts the battle for the Manor against an angry mob and man determined to regain his perceived inheritance.

Firstly, this book is littered with delightful and entertaining witches’ recipes from ‘Ivy’s Elixir of Life, Smoothies for Seniors’ to ‘Jezebel’s Full Bush Care’ – lol! They serve as great little break-up moments interspersed throughout the narrative and are very entertaining.

‘The Witches of Moonshyne Manor’ was written during once of the pandemic lock downs, in a ‘cold and dark’ Toronto and the author states that spending time with the Moonshine Manor Sisterhood was like ‘holding my hands up to a roaring fire’ and the sense of warmth does permeate in this book. What also strongly resonates is the issue of aging – and as I approach my 50th year, it’s certainly often in my thoughts… how can this be! Particularly as I’m still 18 in my mind – lol! Aging also releases the ‘I don’t give a ***k’ and this is another theme throughout the book and how women unite together to survive the ups and downs of the aging process! A friend told me recently that I’m too preoccupied with getting older, and I’ve thought a lot about that. He was right, I absolutely do and after reading this book, I’m going to focus more on living and laughing.

So, ‘The Witches of Moonshyne Manor’ actually seemed a very long book and I did drift at times, but the fun dialogue and witches’ shenanigans kept me coming back for more – it’s coming into the perfect time for this book, as nights draw in darker and fires are lit. There are links to Salem, secrets to unfold and a battle to be won by midnight on All Hallow’s Eve.

With themes of ageism, female empowerment, and the special nature of female friendship, do check out ‘The Witches of Moonshyne Manor’.

Please buy from Independents if you can xx

The Author – Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais is the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh (Putnam, 2017 and 2019). She teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies where she was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing in 2021.
A believer in the power of storytelling in advancing social justice, Marais runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative to empower young Black women in Africa to write and publish their own stories, and is
constantly fundraising to assist grandmothers in Soweto with caring for children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In 2020, Marais started the popular podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, which is aimed at helping emerging writers become published.

It’s my turn on the #BlogTour for #KeepingaChristmasPromise by Jo Thomas – with thanks to @PenguinUKBooks @TransworldBooks @jo_thomas01 and #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Published 13th October 2022

The Blurb

A Christmas to remember for a friend they’ll never forget

Four friends

Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise

Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure

They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?

The Blog Tour

My thoughts

Firstly, the setting for ‘Keeping a Christmas Promise is so atmospheric and it was great to disappear into the pages and escape into remote Iceland. Nordic, culture, food, community, grief and friendship are at the heart of this delightful and emotional winter read. A setting that perfectly holds up the dramas of this thoroughly enjoyable Christmas themed book. Yes, I know… I mentioned the Christmas word in December 😉

There are some great hooks as a group of friends make an emotive trip to see the Northern Lights and honour their lost friend on her 40th birthday. This is another aspect of ‘Keeping a Christmas Promise’ I loved – the balance and a heartfelt depth that can sometimes be missing in these reads.

As you spend the bulk of this book in a cold, isolated setting – you might want to consider sitting by an open fire, if you can. I certainly lit my first fire of the year and poured a hot chocolate for a bit of a mood read. At the heart of this isolated community is a great host of minor characters that make up this Icelandic community and our male-interest Petur is at the heart of our community focus and builds in the customs, farming life and, well perspective.

I’d happily recommend this book, it’s emotional at times, but also draws our attention on the important things in life… about taking a breath and seizing opportunities, being brave, accepting, letting go and taking risks.

Listen to our hearts‘ resonates after you close the final page.

A slightly late #blogtour post for Marion Lane & the Deadly Rose by T.A. Willberg @orionbooks #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n with thanks.

Blurb

The second installment in the Marion Lane mysteries series.

The envelope was tied with three delicate silk ribbons: “One of the new recruits is not to be trusted…”

It’s 1959 and a new killer haunts the streets of London, having baffled Scotland Yard. The newspapers call him The Florist because of the rose he brands on his victims. The police have turned yet again to the Inquirers at Miss Brickett’s for assistance, and second year Marion Lane is assigned the case.

But she’s already dealing with a mystery of her own, having received an unsigned letter warning her that one of the three new recruits should not be trusted. She dismisses the letter at first, focusing on The Florist case, but her informer seems to be one step ahead, predicting what will happen before it does. But when a fellow second-year Inquirer is murdered, Marion takes matters into her own hands and must come face-to-face with her informer-who predicted the murder-to find out everything they know. Until then, no one at Miss Brickett’s is safe and everyone is a suspect.

With brilliant twists and endless suspense, all set within the dazzling walls and hidden passageways of Miss Brickett’s, Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose is a deliciously fun new historical mystery you won’t be able to put down.

My thoughts

This was my first outing with Marion Lane – I’m not sure how I missed the debut of the series, ‘Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder’, but I’ve definitely got it on my future reading list after the fantastic sleuthing adventure of ‘Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose’.

Firstly, a fantastic cover design lures you to the blurb, which promises the thrilling hunt for The Florist – a new killer at large in Lane’s 1959 historical/steampunk crime world. London is the setting and Lane is assigned the case via Miss Brickett’s Inquiry Agency.

I absolutely love the vibe of the setting, the drama – both plotting and relationships. It’s such a fun read, a mystery that keeps you guessing with a vibrant protagonist to really hook yourself to.

I’d certainly recommend this book for those readers looking for a zesty murder mystery. It’s layered, cosy and twisty – perfect escapism and jolly good fun! Oh, and a dash of romance to top it all off.

Out now 🙂

Please do buy from independents if you can xx

It’s my turn on the #blogtour for #HalfaSoul #TenThousandStitches and #LongShadow – a Regency Faerie Tales series by @OliviaAtwater2 with thanks to @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be a part of the Regency Faerie Tales series, consisting of a trilogy of novels: ‘Half A Soul’, ‘Ten Thousand Stitches’ and ‘Long Shadow’. With thanks to @Tr4cyF3nt0n at Compulsive Readers for the invite and @orbitbooks for the review copies.

Do keep scrolling for the blurbs and some bookish chat…

Regency Faerie Tales by Olivia Atwater

The Blurbs

HALF A SOUL

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

TEN THOUSAND STITCHES

Faerie godfathers are supposed to help young ladies find love. Unfortunately, no one told Lord Blackthorn that.

Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.

Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is.

LONG SHADOW

Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians – but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.

The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved – but while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believe that she is capable of doing so.

Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail to unravel the mystery. But while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well pose an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.

My thoughts…

HALF A SOUL

This is the first book in a Regency Faeries fantasy series by Olivia Atwater – each book is a stand-a-lone set in Regency England, but one where faeries and magic exists. So, imagine Jane Austen merged with the fae folk who live at the bottom of your garden 😉

In ‘Half A Soul’ our protagonist, Dora, has a problem – and that problem began when a faerie came to claim her soul as a young girl. Fortunately, her sister was on hand with a pair of iron scissors, although a little late – in the nick of time to avoid complete disaster. The outcome: Dora lives her life with half of her soul missing; it’s the half where her emotions come from, so that does have its drawbacks. Regency society, as always, demands young ladies find husbands and this has proven challenging for Dora but not her delightful sister.

In the wider world England is protected by the Lord Socier – who happens to be rather brooding, but with hidden depth and feelings. His role is challenging enough but when children begin to be afflicted by an unusual plague, the role of protector becomes even more difficult, and this is how our love interests meet.

‘Half a Soul’ is a charming, fun read that dives you into a world of faerie escapism set within the popular literary Regency period, I’d recommend ‘Half a Soul’ simply because it’s lots of fun and enables you to escape reality for a few hours. It’s also my favourite of the three reads.

TEN THOUSAND STITCHES

This book follows the life of Effie, who is suffering from ‘Insta Love’ for the dashing Mr. Benedict Ashbrooke. Effie is a great character, who’s a skilled at stitching and embroidering, but socially has a problem with finding love with Mr. Ashbrooke – she’s a maid. So, here sets up the dilemma for the book – mixed into this is the delightful Lord Blackthorn from the faerie realm, who embroils Effie in the fae world, of selling souls and mischievous business – who generally tries to help in the only way he knows. It’s fun, light-hearted and a gentle read with some depth in terms of themes – the poor, servant classes and workhouses.

LONG SHADOW

This book opens with yet another problem – this one’s rather a big drama, as young, marriageable ladies in England are mysteriously dying! The books ties in more to ‘Half a Soul’, as our protagonist is Abigail – the daughter of Lord Sorcier and Dora. The problem seems routed in the court of Lord Longshadow.

Abigail soon finds an ally to help her investigate these dark events, it’s a young woman called Mercy – who’s a ‘street rat’ and a self-taught magician’. The pair set out and work together to find out what’s going on and who’s to blame. Along the wat Abigail and Mercy find out that they are falling for each other too.

This book has some great themes and world building, although a slower pace than the first two, it’s still fun to read with some more serious themes pushing through.

The tour closes today with my post but do check out all the fabulous bloggers on this tour and more bookish chat. Please buy from Independents if you can XX