27 June 2022

A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen Book Tour and Review!

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  • Title: A Dress of Violet Taffeta: A Novel

  • Author: Tessa Arlen

  • Genre: Historical Fiction

  • Publisher: ‎Berkley (July 5, 2022)

  • Length: (352) pages

  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 

  • ISBN: 978-0593436851

  • Tour Dates: June 27-July 11, 2022

Tess Arlen is the author of In Royal Service to the Queen and she has a new book, A Dress of Violet  Taffeta.

The advance praise for A Dress of Violet Taffeta has been stellar, and I hope you will jump right in and explore the fascinating story of the life and career of Lucy, Lady Duff Gordan.

Book Description

Set in Edwardian England, when a woman’s opportunities outside the home were limited, Lucy is forced to reinvent herself to support herself and her young daughter after being abandoned by her husband. Determined to become a couture fashion designer, when few women had tried, she trailblazed through all the obstacles thrown at her, wins a messy public divorce, and survives the sinking of the Titanic. Her stunning, innovative fashions only mirror her meteoric life and career.

Tessa Arlen is the author of the critically acclaimed Lady Montfort mystery series—Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman and was a finalist for the 2016 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of Poppy Redfern: A Woman of World War II mystery series. And the author of the historical fiction; “In Royal Service to the Queen” and available July 5, 2022 “A Dress of Violet Taffeta.”

Tessa lives in the Southwest with her family and two corgis where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.


 Advance Praise

My Thoughts

This novel is about the Belle Epoque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon who was a talented clothing designer in late 1800s England. Forced to find a way to take care of her daughter and her mother after she divorces her husband who was a ne'er do well.  Unfaithful and an alcoholic. Married life with him was not what she hoped it would be. Divorce was frowned upon back then but it didn't matter to her.

She loved making dresses for her dolls as a child and thought to pursue that talent that she had. She became well known for her designs, particularly her tea gowns, and evening wear, and went on to design lingerie which was considered to be risque for some. She also was credited for training her professional models and having the 'catwalk'. Her clients were among the wealthiest in England and America. She also dressed actresses and dancers including Ziegfield Follies. Her company, Lucile Ltd, was one of the elite fashion houses and flourished from the turn of the century to the 1920s. 

She was the sister of Elinor Glyn who was a novelist and scriptwriter, very famous in her own right. Lucy married Sir Cosmos Duff-Gordon. They traveled quite a bit and were passengers on the fateful day the Titanic sunk. They survived but later were questioned in the inquiry in Britain. He was accused of paying bribes to get on a lifeboat which was not true as he wanted to help out the seven crew members that shared the lifeboat with him and his wife. He gave them each some money so they could replace what they lost. He was eventually exonerated but was depressed for the rest of his life because of it.

I really enjoyed this book, I love stories about strong women, especially women from this time period. Written with superb research, I think that the author definitely did Lucy justice.

I received a cop of the book for review purposes only.


Rogue by @tamstales32 Book Blitz and Giveaway! #TamDeRudderJackson #rogue #XpressoTours @XpressoTours


Tam DeRudder Jackson

(Talisman, #6)
Publication date: June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Baz Cormac never intended to be a rogue, but fate had other ideas.

Being forced to pledge loyalty to the evil Morrigan is its own kind of hell. So when Baz discovers the lie she’s used to keep him and his band of rogues under her power, he concocts a plan to force the goddess’s hand, which drops him in the center of a cosmic tug-o-war. No matter which way he leans, someone is going to lose—and it looks like that someone may be Baz.

A talisman fights her fate…and her fatal attraction.

Delaney Ferrell has spent her life trying to live down her uncle’s choice to turn rogue. As a warrior-talisman hybrid, she’d done her best to serve the warrior community as a protector. But a cryptic letter sends her to an abandoned home where she encounters a lone rogue with fighting skills no rogue should possess. Instead of killing her, he kidnaps her and takes her to his lair. He presents a terrible danger to the community, one she must neutralize.

So why does he have to be so damn charming?

Discovering Delaney is his fated mate throws all of Baz’s plans into chaos. And when the goddesses come calling, Baz has to choose between a rogue’s freedom and a talisman’s love.

Will they have a chance at love, or will they be torn apart?

Goodreads / Amazon


The low rumble of a pickup pulling into the house next door brought Baz out of the barn to investigate. He’d managed to convince Rory and Jaime to take a little vacation to Vegas, hit a couple of strip clubs and casinos he knew rogues liked to frequent, and see about adding some new recruits to their little band. They could consider their trip a working vacation.

In the month they’d been away, he’d put his construction skills to work with his supernatural speed and stamina. With the exception of leveling the gravel on the floor of the barn, he’d finished his project in record time. Or perhaps in the nick of time if someone was looking to move in next door. He’d kept a close eye on Ian McCloud’s place, but until today, he hadn’t seen any activity there. Not a family member, not a realtor, not a curious someone looking to take advantage of an empty house.

He made several forays over to McCloud’s in the dead of night, looking to see what it was about the man that had the goddess’s interest. As a fighter, Ian McCloud was unremarkable from other warriors Baz had met on the battlefield. He knew the man was a widower with a small child, and that wasn’t all that attention-grabbing either. So why had the goddess keyed on him? Nothing Baz found in or around McCloud’s house had given him a clue.

The truck’s engine revved once before the driver shut it off. Simultaneously with the slamming of the truck’s door, the hair all over his body stood at attention, like a shock of static electricity zinged over him. Whoever was visiting McCloud’s house on this soft twilight evening was a member of the warrior community. Baz summoned his claymore to his hand and soundlessly made his way around the back of the neighboring property to investigate.

Whoever was visiting knew the place well. A beauty of a three-quarter-ton crew-cab pickup with a gleaming forest green paint job was parked on the tarmac in front of the double door of the garage behind the house. Through the glass of the outer back door, he could see the heavy oak inner door was wide open. The visitor was someone who wasn’t worried about being caught inside.

He debated cornering the warrior inside the house, but decided to wait from his place of concealment in the trees bordering the backyard. Though he’d been inside the house himself on more than one occasion, chances were whoever was there knew the place better than he did. Safer to wait and see who and what the person was and determine the level of threat. That the visitor was a threat he had no doubt. The hairs on his forearms and the back of his neck had remained standing ever since he’d heard the man cut the engine to his truck.

The truck was a beauty. His eyes strayed to the back door, and he wondered how much time he had to check it out. Taking a chance, he sheathed his sword in its scabbard on his back and vaulted through time and space to land on the driver’s side. He ran his hand along the paint of the fender and appreciated the tread on the tires. Though the truck was immaculately clean, whoever owned it used it to work—or play. He squatted low and checked out the suspension, confirming his suspicions that the truck was someone’s toy.

A quick glance inside the cab had him doing a double-take. He chuckled to himself. As close as the driver’s seat was pulled to the steering wheel, it was obvious the warrior who owned this rig was trying to make up for something he lacked. Baz adjusted his own package, and grinned. At six feet three with a wingspan to match, he could easily outmaneuver a warrior who had some distance to make up to reach six feet.

A sound near the back door sobered him up quick. He scanned the area for cover, sighting no bushes or flower beds or other hiding places near the house. Before he could visualize himself back to his hiding place at the back of the yard, a woman stepped through the door and pushed a key into the lock. With a flick of her wrist, she tested the handle and nodded. And stilled.

Time moved in slow motion as Baz catalogued the woman’s features. Long waves of chestnut-colored hair flowed over her shoulders to the middle of her back. Her orange T-shirt showed off toned shoulders and arms and a nipped-in waist where it was tucked into her jeans. Her jeans covered the sweetest ass he’d ever seen, rounded and perfect. Athletic. His hands itched to touch her. The dark navy wash of her jeans made her legs appear endless, and he wondered how they would feel wrapped around him. Before he could appreciate more of her, he caught the flash of a claymore as she summoned it to her hand the second before she faced him.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

He’d expected a scream. Instead, the woman’s soft alto washed over him, momentarily disarming him. That and the intensity of dark chocolate eyes in a perfect heart-shaped face. The last of the sun’s rays slanted off her sword, bringing him back to himself. This gorgeous woman was a warrior, a serious threat.

“I could ask you the same question.”

Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Newsletter

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Lochland by Pax Sinclair Book Blitz and Giveaway! @paxsinclair #Lochlan #XpressoTours @XpressoTours⁣⁣⁣


Pax Sinclair

(The Scotsman’s Kilt, #1)
Publication date: June 6th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

An enemies-to-lovers, Scottish billionaire romance. A standalone story and book one of the Scotsman’s Kilt series.

Lochlan: It’s true. I’m the heir to the MacTavish Whiskey empire. The cold-hearted SOB who’s been on a drinking, drugging, womanizing binge that was splashed all over the Scottish tabloids for months, until the patriarch of our family exiled me to America to run a winery.

There are only a handful of people left in the Lochlan fan club who think I deserve redemption. Other than I’m worth a fortune, why would anyone want to save a soulless bastard like me when all I want is revenge?

Kenzie: It’s complicated. I’ve been given a challenge to seduce Lochlan MacTavish as part of an initiation into a club. The only way to reach him is through his Silicon Valley winery.

All I need is proof that we slept together and I’m in, but it’s not easy. First, I have to get past my aversion to overprivileged, billionaire Scottish men, and this one is an ass on his best days.

When I botch getting the proof I need, we make a bargain. I’ll be his fake girlfriend to convince his grandfather he’s now a responsible member of society, and I get my proof of a seduction. The problem is, neither of us banked on this growing, off-the-charts attraction between us.

This is another hot, sexy, twisty romance from PaxWorld. Did I mention there are men in kilts?

Goodreads / Purchase


Hunk alert!” screams a female, accompanied by the clanging of a large, obnoxious cowbell. She’s swaying dangerously on a stool next to the bar, holding the bell high above her head in one hand while egging her companions on with the other. She rings it again, the sound piercing the air like a scream. I can’t figure out where the damn bell came from, but the sound is splitting my skull.

I’m in the doorway watching about thirty fit young women, some huddled in clusters, while others are standing on black leather couches and chairs, giving a cheering response to the bell ringer.

Their raucous behavior is disturbing in this newly designed space of tarnished metal and aged wood. We use this place for private parties because it’s well away from the main MacTavish Cellars tasting room, which is packed to the rafters at the moment. I came back here to check on this group on my way to look over a shipment we received this morning in the barrel room. I realized something was wrong when I heard muffled shouting coming from the room.

The cowbell clangs again and I resist the urge to rush in and yank that thing away from her before I sustain permanent damage. The cowbell-wielding blonde sings out, “What do we want, sisters?” while motioning to the crowd to respond to her maniacal question. The women chant, “Hunk, hunk, hunk,” demanding a mob’s satisfaction.

Shaun, my server, is wild-eyed and backed against the front of the bar, two stools away from the blonde, fearing for the safety of his manhood. I will kill him for letting this hen party get out of hand. I do a quick search of these brash women. Where the hell is Preston? They both should be working this party, and Preston should be showing Shaun the ropes. Why did he leave a newbie alone with a room full of women?

I slip behind the bar, unseen at the moment by the blonde, to restore order to this chaos. The chant is getting louder. Shaun’s pleading gaze swings to me. I grab a bottle and glasses and lean toward him. “Find Preston and tell him to get his arse back in here. Get Geordie and Calum in here as well,” I say, trying to prevent my voice from carrying. He bobs his head before bolting away from the bar and through the crowd of women, their chants following him as he disappears through the doors.

I’m formulating how to deal with these female hooligans when I catch the attention of the bonny blonde with the cowbell. She’s staring down at me with a predatory grin, the tip of her tongue moving over plump red lips. The lass keeps her gaze on me while she stoops to place the bell on the bar, then casually jumps off the stool. She raises a hand toward the women, still staring at me, and the chanting fades to a dull murmur. Her obedient cult followers slowly remove themselves from the furniture. They’re talking among themselves but are keeping an eye on their leader. Blondie tosses her head back, sizing me up.

“You look like the real deal.” Her voice is sexy smoke and honey, unexpected for someone who looks like a sun-kissed beach girl. She drags her gaze down the length of my body. I’m not happy being judged as a piece of meat, but working here, you accept the attention. When she finishes her long scrutiny, her attention settles on my face. That’s right, look me in the eyes, I telegraph back to her, I’m not intimidated by your antics.

Her smirk says she’s enjoying her brash behavior. “A big strapping hottie like you and in a kilt to boot, but then again, all the men here are equally as hot and wearing kilts.”

Pax is a contemporary romance author who writes the kind of hot, twisty, drama-filled romances that she loves to read. Her novels are about biracial women in interracial relationships that will have you turning pages until the end.

Her current series, Love@work, takes you into the world of Silicon Valley’s billionaire tech moguls. These are powerful men and women who are driven by the changing landscape of business and their seductions in the bedroom.

Come along for a ride in Pax’s world, where it’s always steamy, captivating, and sometimes erotic.

Pax lives and works in Silicon Valley. She’s a California native.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub / Youtube / Amazon

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26 June 2022

And By Fire by Evie Hawtry Book Review! @Lit_Gal


Tempered by fire and separated by centuries, two extraordinary female detectives track a pair of murderous geniuses who will burn the world for their art in this mystery perfect for fans of Sarah Penner and Dan Brown.

Nigella Parker, Detective Inspector with the City Police, has a deeply rooted fear of fire and a talent for solving deadly arson cases. When a charred figure is found curled beside Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London, Nigella is dragged into a case pitting her against a murderous artist creating sculptures using burnt flesh.

Nigella partners with Colm O’Leary of Scotland Yard to track the arsonist across greater London. The pair are more than colleagues—they were lovers until O’Leary made the mistake of uttering three little words. Their past isn’t the only buried history as they race to connect the dots between an antique nail pulled from a dead man’s hands and a long-forgotten architect dwarfed by the life’s work of Sir Christopher Wren.

Wren, one of London’s most famous architects, is everywhere the pair turn. Digging into his legacy leads the DCIs into the coldest of cold cases: a search for a bookseller gone missing during the Great Fire of London. More than 350 years earlier, while looking for their friend, a second pair of detectives—a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and a royal fireworks maker—discovered foul play in the supposedly accidental destruction of St. Paul’s Cathedral…but did that same devilry lead to murder? And can these centuries-old crimes help catch a modern-day murderer?

As Nigella and O’Leary rush to decode clues, past and present, London’s killer-artist sets his sights on a member of the investigative team as the subject of his next fiery masterpiece.

Evie Hawtrey is an undeniably older, but not necessarily wiser, sister-in-spirt to her fierce and feminist detective, DI Nigella Parker. A Yank by birth, Evie hops the pond frequently, and can be found in York living in history, lingering over teas, and knocking around in pubs. Stateside, Evie lives in the DC metro area, where she loves frequenting the city’s theaters, restaurants and fantastic museums. She has a long-suffering, but appreciated husband, who is not fond of her cats (a dog guy) but puts up with them because marriage is about compromise. Evie’s office is a mess, but her library is meticulously organized. It’s all about priorities.

Evie is a member of both The Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

To learn more about Evie and her work, visit www.eviehawtrey.com


"Bones meets the Restoration Court in Evie Hawtrey's AND BY FIRE, a taut dual-timeline mystery that races along at the pace of an inferno! When London detective Nigella Parker teams up with her Scotland Yard ex-lover to solve a tricky arson case, she never imagines it will lead her to a centuries-old mystery...and another pair of unlikely sleuths from the court of Charles II. As Nigella and her partner race through 21st century London to find a serial killer who sculpts in fire-burned flesh, and a 17th century fireworks-maker and royal lady-in-waiting struggle to find the truth behind the destruction of St. Paul’s during the deadly Great Fire of London, all four lives will hang in the balance. Fresh, dynamic, and crisply researched, AND BY FIRE WILL appeal to histfic fans and mystery readers alike—I couldn't put this one down!"

—Kate Quinn, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Alice Network


"[R]eaders swept up in this double-barreled inferno will forget the history they know as they root for both heroines to bring the malefactors to book before things get even hotter."



"You’ll smell the smoke, taste the ashes, and feel the tension as you race through this exquisitely researched crime thriller. The plot twists and unforgettable images evoked by Evie Hawtrey’s And By Fire will linger long after you turn the last page!"

—Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times Bestselling author of The Orphan Collector


"VERDICT: Both story lines intensify, leading to unusual conclusions in Hawtrey’s debut mystery. The well-developed characters will appeal to fans of historical mysteries or police procedurals and to Anglophiles."

—The Library Journal


"Two determined women, separated by more than three centuries, struggle to uncover a deadly secret that burns at the heart of London. This is a  taut and suspenseful read, rich in history and human drama. You won't soon forget it!

—Nancy Bilyeau, Author of The Blue


"You'll burn through the pages of this time-twisty thriller!" 

Mindy McGinnis, Edgar Award Winning author of A Madness So Discreet


As it destroys, fire creates mysteries in Hawtrey’s past and present-day London . . . . Adding to the atmospheric, absorbing mystery is the depth of research Hawtrey has obviously done on both the Great Fire and St. Paul’s and its famous creator.

First Clue

Present Day London

Chapter 1

“Doesn’t it bother you that they got the spot wrong?”

“What?” O’Leary’s comment snapped Detective Inspector Nigella Parker’s focus back to the road. She slammed on the brakes and they screeched to a stop at a red light.

“The point of ignition for the Great Fire of London.” O’Leary wiped away the coffee splashed onto the lid of his Caffè Nero takeaway cup by the sudden stop, took a slug, and then grimaced. “Ever since 1666 when it burned the city end to end, historians insisted the fire started in Pudding Lane, and then some aging House of Common’s Clerk discovers it’s all wrong.”

“Not all wrong. The fire started two-hundred-and-two feet from Wren’s monument, exactly as years of history said—just sixty feet east of where everyone thought.” Nigella tapped the wheel impatiently. It was ridiculously early on a Sunday morning, the City was dead, but she was stuck at the light despite the lack of cross traffic. This was what came from using her own car: no siren, no free pass to blow through lights. Although honestly this one didn’t justify flashing lights.

A nuisance arson: why had the Detective Chief Inspector called her out for that? True everybody called her “the moth” because she had a special affinity for fire cases, but she wasn’t on the early worm. She was an off-duty DI in the Crime Investigation Directorate of the City of London Police summoned abruptly from an early breakfast; although no one would have guessed that given her crisp oxblood blazer and the perfect twist of dark hair pinned up neatly at the back of her head. Nigella thought longingly of the boiled egg she’d abandoned, with its yolk just the right amount of runny and hot buttered soldiers of toast waiting to be dipped in it. It’ll be fit for nothing but the bin when I get home.

“Sixty feet off is wrong enough,” O’Leary said.

She glanced at him sideways: red-gold stubble on his jaw, unmanageable hair sticking up over his forehead. Nigella had texted her counterpart with London’s Metropolitan Police because she owed him one after the Postman's Park murder case, and she knew he’d been assigned the Haringey fire. Her message had clearly found him in bed.

“Why should that bother me?”

“Because, Ni, you have to straighten your toothbrush if it isn’t precisely parallel to the edge of the basin.”
The light changed at last, and Nigella made a sharper-than-strictly-necessary turn onto Fish Street Hill, catching O’Leary off guard and jolting a bit of steaming coffee into his lap. He winced, then gave her the look—the one that said, “you just hate it when I’m right, Parker.”

Yeah, well, fuck him. No, she’d done that for a while, which might be part of the problem.

Ahead, odd portions of Christopher Wren’s monument to the Great Fire of London appeared—a sliver of the base, the top of its massive Doric column sitting like a hat on a commercial building obstructing her view. Rolling up to the curve where traffic from Fish Street Hill bent left onto Monument Street, Nigella slowed. The department had erected a lean-to against the west face of the monument. The wide-end of soot V” protruded above the upper edge of the tarp.

That’s the spot.

The right-hand section of Monument Street, generally off limits to traffic, was cordoned off and full of police cars. Lots of cops for a nuisance arson. A sergeant peered through her windscreen, then moved aside a cone and waved them in.

Parking, Nigella grabbed her bag out of the back. She’d only taken a few steps when DCI Evans swung in beside her. “What’s with the Yard?” He tilted his head in O’Leary’s direction.

“The Yard,” O’Leary responded, “thought this might be related to the arson last week that disrupted the East Coast Mainline.”

“Not.” Evans shook his head.

Nigella wondered how he could be so sure. Then they reached the tent and he lifted the flap. Scorch marks defaced stone, and at their base, on the pavement, a figure lay curled in a fetal position and entirely blackened.

“Holy Mary,” O’Leary breathed.

So, not a nuisance. Self-immolation . . . or murder. Nigella’s breath caught and her pulse raced. It felt as if her heart was rising upwards to meet the air trapped in her lungs. And in her head she heard a voice from her childhood whisper, you’re it Jelly.

 My Thoughts

And by Fire by Evie Hawtry, the pen name of Sophie Perinot, is the dual story, one of the Great London Fire of 1666, characters Margaret and Etienne, she a lady in waiting for the Queen of England and him, French fireworks maker. As the fire rages, they discover that a friend of theirs, Thomas, a bookseller, has perished in the fire. In their investigation, they realize that their friend was murdered. Now they have to find out who did it and why. Their investigation takes them to Sir Christopher Wren, the famous architect. Did he murder Thomas to further his career as speculated? Another architect did not receive the credit that he deserved until recently.

Present time, DI Nigella Parker, and her partner Colm O'Leary. They share a romantic history. Their current case involves the death by fire of several people. It is tasked to Nigella and Colm to investigate the case. As they investigate, they come across a volume that has scribbled notes done by Margaret describing their investigation of Wren. 

The chapters alternate in time from 1666 to the present time. Impeccable research tells a story about a time in England's history that wiped out a huge population. The story gets hairy when one of the detectives is put in danger by the killer. The story was very descriptive and well done. I have been a fan of Evie, Sophie since I read her first book. She is a wonderful historical fiction author and it is nice to see that she can branch out into the mystery genre and do it so seamlessly.

I give the book 5 stars and hope to see more from Evie Hawtry!

I was given a copy of the book for review purposes only.

Queen of Hearts Series: From Sappho, with Love, Book One by Elna Holst Release Blitz and Giveaway! @ninestarpress @indigomarketingdesign #LGBTQIA+

Title: Queen of Hearts

Series: From Sappho, with Love, Book One

Author: Elna Holst

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/21/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 18400

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, island holiday romance, family drama, bridge tournament, student, nightclub singer (performance arts), sexual awakening, age gap

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In the summer of 1972, twenty-one-year-old university undergrad Annette Thornton, aka Thorny Netty, finds herself on a coerced holiday with her younger sister Fiona, expected to spend two long sweltering weeks babysitting said sister on the island of Gran Canaria. To say she’s peeved would be an understatement. But when she catches a glimpse of a stranger on a balcony, impulses long buried begin to surface—impulses that sorely put Thorny Netty’s much-touted self-possession to the test.

From Sappho, with Love is a new series of standalone stories held together by a common theme: a chain of postcards sent from sapphic travellers across space and time.


Peering out across the glittering Atlantic, Annette Thornton—or Thorny Netty, as she had been called since childhood—forced herself to quit chewing her biro and return it, with the stamped and addressed postcard, to her drawstring bag. She had noticed a postbox outside a tourist shop on their short walk from the hotel to the beach and had made a mental note to post her card when she made her way back.

Which would be shortly. Even though she knew the only reason their elderly parents had finally caved in and permitted Fiona Thornton, their youngest daughter, aka Fin, to go off on a package holiday to the Canary Islands was that she would be in the company, or rather, under the supervision of her dependable older sister, Netty couldn’t be expected to spend every waking minute of her day babysitting her nineteen-year-old sister.

It was exhausting. They had landed at the aeropuerto two days ago and been at each other’s throats constantly since. Originally, Fin had wanted to go on this trip with Vicky-something-or-other, the latest in a long procession of best pals, a bar-hopper and pleasure-seeker to match Fiona’s own ‘fun-loving’ lifestyle. Netty, for her part, hadn’t wanted to go at all. Fin expected Netty to be grateful, as she was the one who paid for both their tickets out of her Mancunian ice-cream parlour waitress’s salary. As far as Thorny Netty was concerned, Fiona owed her, and then some, for agreeing to come and thereby making this whole escapade possible in the first place.

“You’re a bloody bore, you know that? You always were, and you always will be.” Tears had been glistening in Fin’s much-too-pretty baby blues as she passed her judgement—tears of anger, mainly, but of hurt as well, Netty had to admit to herself as she went back in her mind to the scene of last night when she had point-blank refused to go to another club, or bar, or—God help her—disco.

Sighing, Netty brushed the itchy, sticky sand off her irritated skin. She was sweating like a pig. She was annoyed, uncomfortable, sore-eyed, and sleep-deprived. She was not enjoying herself. And she still had twelve days to go.

Hoisting her bag onto her shoulder, Netty stood and scanned the area of the beach for a certain eye-catching shade of peroxide blonde, coupled with a petite yet shapely form in a shockingly revealing spaghetti-strapped bikini. How Fiona had sneaked that particular enhancement to her outrageous travel wardrobe past their mother was beyond Netty. But—as she was well aware—her sister had her ways.

“Fin!” she hollered as she spotted her, deep in conversation with a particularly tan and well-oiled specimen of young, ultra-masculine male. Netty swore under her breath. Trust Fiona. Wherever she bloody well went.

Her baby sister glanced over her shoulder at her but made no move to break away from her new, already fawning admirer. Netty thrust her feet into her sandals and placed the straw hat she had snapped up at a roadside market stall on her head.

“I’m going back to the hotel,” she shouted. “See you back there for lunch, yeah?”

Fin rolled her eyes and waved her away. Mr Macho grinned—spitefully, lasciviously? From this distance, Netty couldn’t tell. She’d had it, though. Kicking at a mound of sand—an infantile gesture, she realised even as she was doing it—she turned and traced her way back to the non-descript block of concrete, the third in a row of dizzyingly similar edifices, that was their base for the upcoming two weeks. Fin could suit herself. See if Thorny Netty cared.

Purchase at NineStar Press

Meet the Author

Often quirky, always queer, Elna Holst is an unapologetic genre-bender who writes anything from stories of sapphic lust and love to the odd existentialist horror piece, reads Tolstoy, and plays contract bridge. Find her on Instagram or Goodreads.

Website | Goodreads | Instagram


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25 June 2022

When We Return: A Novel by Eliana Tobias Book Tour and Giveaway!

When We Return: A Novel by Eliana Tobias

About When We Return

When We Return: A Novel 

Multicultural Fiction River 

Grove Books (May 17, 2022) 

Print length ‏ : ‎ 297 pages 

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09ZBN14ML 

Who should be held responsible for public wrongs?

By 2008, it finally seems that the Peruvian government is ready to make amends to its citizens following the violent guerilla movement of the last three decades.

Otilia and Salvador, a mother and son torn apart during the conflict and separated for twenty years, are eager for the government to acknowledge he their pain and suffering, but they hit a roadblock when the government denies responsibility in their legal case.

Things begin to look up when Otilia meets Jerry, a kind man and the son of Jewish parents who escaped the Holocaust. Grappling with his own upbringing and the psychological struggles his parents endured, Jerry is just the person to empathize with Otilia's situation. Together, Otilia, Jerry, and Salvador must support one another through the turbulent journey that is healing from historical trauma, and through it, they must find the courage to rebuild their lives and open themselves up to love and companionship.

Artfully weaving together different timelines and countries, Tobias examines the nuanced topic of grief a community endures after a collective tragedy. In this exploration of the culture of remembrance following displacement and loss, we discover what happens when our past calls us back to what we must do to achieve justice and reconciliation when we return.


“Eliana Tobias has managed in this moving and intelligent novel to show us two characters who, coming from very different worlds, at the end are telling the same story. The story of disarray, discrimination, and injustice. Showing us as well that hate is everywhere and the only antidote we have is memory and love.” —Carla Guelfenbein, Alfaguara-award winner and internationally recognized author of eight novels including In the Distance With You

Eliana Tobias was born in Santiago, Chile, to immigrant parents who had escaped the Holocaust. She graduated from the University of Chile and later completed graduate degrees in the US and Canada. After working in the field of education in various capacities, including teaching at the National University in Trujillo, Peru, she discovered her love of writing.

Eliana’s rich experience of political turmoil—listening to stories of the Holocaust when Jewish communities in Europe had been shattered, losing family in Chile under military dictatorship, and living in Peru during a time of intense civil conflict—fueled her passion to write about the ways people caught in devastation find to rebuild their lives. Eliana’s first novel, In the Belly of the Horse, received an award from the International Latino Book Awards in 2018 and was also nominated for the Latino Book Into Movies Awards. Eliana splits her time between California and British Columbia.

Author Website - https://elianatobias.com/

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play


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