Florence, 1473. An impossible murder. A bitter rivalry. A serpent in the ranks.
Florentine investigator Guid’Antonio Vespucci returns to Florence from a government mission to find his dreams of success shattered. Life is good—but then a wealthy merchant dies from mushroom poisoning at Guid’Antonio’s Saint John’s Day table, and Guid’Antonio’s servant is charged with murder. Convinced of the youth’s innocence and fearful the killer may strike again, Guid’Antonio launches a private investigation into the merchant’s death, unaware that at the same time powerful enemies are conspiring to overthrow the Florentine Republic—and him. A clever, richly evocative tale for lovers of medieval and renaissance mysteries everywhere, The Hearts of All on Fire is a timeless story of family relationships coupled with themes of love, loss, betrayal and, above all, hope in a challenging world.
Alana White’s passion for Renaissance Italy has taken her to Florence for research on the Vespucci and Medici families on numerous occasions. There along cobbled streets unchanged over the centuries, she traces their footsteps, listening to their imagined voices, including that of her protagonist, Guid’Antonio Vespucci and his friends, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Lorenzo de’ Medici.
Alana’s first short story featuring real-life fifteenth-century lawyer Guid’Antonio Vespucci and his favorite nephew, Amerigo Vespucci, was a Macavity Award finalist and led to the Guid’Antonio Vespucci Mystery Series featuring “The Sign of the Weeping Virgin” (Book I) and “The Hearts of All on Fire” (Book II).
She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association and the Historical Novel Society, among other organizations. She loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her at her website, www.alanawhite.com.
One hidden painting. Two women born centuries apart. A secret uncovered.
In 2019, Rachel is stuck in a rut when she discovers what appears to be a Canaletto painting in her grandmother’s loft along with a note addressed to Philippa in 1782. With help from Jake at the local art gallery, Rachel endeavours to find out if the painting is an original and uncovers a secret from the past.
In 1780, governess at Chipford Hall, Philippa is offered the role of mistress by Earl Rupert. She escapes to Venice as companion to bluestocking, Lady Cordelia who reveals a secret that changes both their lives. They do their best to keep the secret from Lady Cordelia’s social circle, but their nemesis is determined to reveal all and ruin them.
Anita Chapman enjoyed writing stories from a young age, and won a local writing competition when she was nine years old. Encouraged by this, she typed up a series of stories about a mouse on her mum’s typewriter and sent them to Ladybird. She received a polite rejection letter, her first.
Many of Anita’s summers growing up were spent with her family driving to Italy, and she went on to study French and Italian at university. As part of her degree, Anita lived in Siena for several months where she studied and au paired, and she spent a lot of time travelling around Italy in her twenties.
Anita likes to read journals and diaries from the past, and one of her favourite pastimes is visiting art galleries and country houses. Her first published novel, The Venice Secret is inspired by her mother taking her to see the Canalettos at The National Gallery in London as a child.
Since 2015, Anita has worked as a social media manager, training authors on social media, and helping to promote their books. She’s run several courses in London and York, and has worked as a tutor at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College.
GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS – VOLUME 2: Mysteries abound at London’s most fashionable Hell.
The Thief Who Stole Christmas – Amanda McCabe A man who has never broken the rules, and a woman who just might break his heart! But Christmas is always a time for second chances…
As one of Miss Greensley’s Girls, a member of the exclusive club la Sous Rose, and famous author Lady L, Victoria Lanford moves easily through Society ballrooms. Few people know how her unhappy childhood and anxiety led her to pickpocketing (yet, she did return the jewels)! When she comes face-to-face with old flame Rhys Neville, Earl of Hammond, she knows the kind-hearted, straight-laced, devilishly handsome lord is not for her—especially once the past comes back to haunt them. Why, then, can’t she stop thinking about their kisses?
The Kerse Who Saved Christmas – Kathy L Wheeler Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.
Gaming Hell Christmas Volume 2 starts out much like Volume 1 in the sense of setup. For example, we have our eight characters on the Isle of Wite as the young schoolmates from Miss Greensley’s School of Comportment for Young Women of Quality. The focus, however, is on the two main characters of the stories involved, i.e., Miss Victoria Leland and Lady Philomena Staunton. So, there are intricate details that let us see how these young women came to be the women they are. So, fun.
Phil brought her knees up, prepared to continue her reading on Ancient Greece, but caught a shift of movement in her peripheral vision. She turned her head, lifting her hand and shading her eyes, then groaned.
“Tori,” she hissed. “I was under the impression you had promised to quit taking items that didn’t belong to you.”
Victoria Lanford’s auburn hair gleamed in the sunlight. Most people thought it unfashionable, but Phil envied her such a striking feature.
Her friend’s hand froze. She wrinkled her nose, and Tori pulled her hand back, tossing Phil a puckish grin. “I just don’t wish to lose what skills I’ve acquired and used my entire life up to now. That’s all.”
“Well, that’s Augusta’s pile,” Phil retorted. “I suggest moving the next one over. It wouldn’t bother me in the least for you to relieve Thom of her blasted locket. She carries that reprehensible miniature I abhor.”
Tori jumped up and sauntering over, dropped next to Phil on the warm sand. “Please, don’t say anything.”
“I won’t,” Phil told her begrudgingly. “Honestly, though, I detest that locket.” Her twin took every opportunity to flick it open and point out the differences between herself and Thom—difficult in most cases but for a dimple they each sported that mirrored one another’s. Phil’s was in her left cheek. “The artist didn’t care for me and painted me with a glum expression. I suppose I could hide the silly thing.”
“Sadly,” Tori informed her on a resigned sigh, “everyone would instantly believe that it was I who had filched it.”
Phil and Tori sat beneath the trees where a breeze lightly ruffled their braids, considering Tori’s fact. The sun, high and bright in the sky made it tempting to dash into the water, but Phil was deathly afraid of being swept out to sea.
“I suppose I shall just have to smash it in a fit of pique in front of Thom,” Phil said after a time.
Likely because everyone agreed Phil was the least temperamental of all their friends.
“There’s a fortune teller at the fair in Nettlestone,” Tori said, her eyes squinting into the sun. “We should visit.”
Phil’s spine straightened. How intriguing.
So, we learn three important things here:
Victoria is a thief
Phil fears water, and
Phil shows a piqued interest in fortune telling.
Then, of course, the hope is the reader is intrigued enough to dive into both stories and love them as much as we loved writing them.
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater (don’t ask how her how many times she’s seen Phantom of the Opera (12); or Wicked (7)), travel, (Europe, Grand Cayman, Mexico, All over the US), reading (practically a book a night), writing (35 books and counting) and karaoke (well….what can I say). She assists other authors in critiquing, formatting, and creating covers for their publishing dreams.
She writes contemporary and historical stories where the heroines save themselves and the heroes who honor their courage with suspense and humor.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest US with her musically talented, lawyer husband, and their adorable dog Angel (who lives up to her name…mostly).
It’s nearly Christmas, a time for peace and goodwill. Or maybe not.
First the house of a young Spanish family is burned down, and then a Dutch clog dancer is battered almost to death with his own footwear. On the night of the carol service, at which the Worldwide Friendship Club’s choir is singing, a Scottish bagpiper is found dead. By Martha, who has come across enough dead bodies already this year to last her a lifetime.
Convinced there’s a link to the choir, Martha and best friend Lottie set out on the trail of the murderer. Their unconventional sleuthing methods land one of them in rather a lot of trouble…
‘Dead In Tune’, the sequel to ‘Hate Bale’, is an entertaining, festive cosy mystery set in rural France.
Dead in Tune is a fun cosy Christmas crime that hits all the right notes (sorry: but it really does.) The story’s pacing is sound, and the light relief is very well placed so that even when there’s a bit of un-Christmas-like peril, the reader knows not to fear unnecessarily.
The two characters of Martha and Lottie bounce off one another very well. Both British ex-pats, both really quite nosy and yet with good hearts, for the most part. Members of the local choir, events start to veer away from the cosy Christmas they might have hoped for with an arson attack, a mugging and then the murder of the poor Scottish bag-pipe player.
This isn’t the first book featuring these characters. I’ve not read book one, and this Christmas-themed book works very well as a standalone. It is short and sweet and made me chuckle, and I really didn’t know who the murderer was until the big reveal.
A lot of fun and highly recommended for fans of cosy crime and those in need of a Christmas read.
Meet the Author
I’m an English immigrant living in France with my family, after many years in Ireland. We have a seventy-five acre farm with animals ranging from alpacas to zebra finches. I work part-time as a freelance editor. The rest of the time I’m helping to run our carp fishing lake business and inevitably cleaning up after some or other animal.
I’ve written both fiction and non-fiction books, and plenty of them – somewhere around the fifty mark now! Originally I was published by two presses in Ireland, but more recently I’ve taken the self-publishing route. I’m a keen book blogger, and I also love knitting, natural dyeing, gardening and cycling.
Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…
1870 ~ Muireall Thompson has taken her duties seriously since her parents died on the family’s crossing from Scotland to America in 1854. As the eldest sibling, their death made her responsible for her family and left little time for a life of her own. But now her brothers and sisters are adults; even the youngest is nearly ready to face the world on his own. What will she do when she is alone, other than care for an elderly aunt and volunteer at the Sisters of Charity orphanage? Has the chance for a husband and children of her own passed her by?
Widower Anthony Marcus, formerly a captain in the Union Army, is a man scraping the bottom of his dignity and hanging on to his honor by the barest thread. Reduced to doing odd jobs to keep a roof over his dear daughter Ann’s head, he often leaves her with the Sisters of Charity while he is out seeking steady work with a decent salary that will allow him to move from their single-room living quarters.
After an initial meeting that finds Muireall and Anthony at odds, a tentative friendship forms as they bond over their mutual affection for Ann. As friendship leads to passion, can a wealthy spinster and a poor soldier overcome their differences in station to forge a future together? Just as Muireall finds the courage to reach for her own happiness, Anthony’s past rises up between them and an old enemy reemerges to bring the Thompson family down once and for all. Will the divide between them be insurmountable, or can they put aside pride and doubt for a love worth fighting for?
Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.
Elise Butler is a wildlife biologist who enjoys her stable (if somewhat predictable) job in finance at the World Wildlife Trust. However, when the veterinarian at Riverbend Animal Conservation Center goes missing, Elise offers to help the unlucky wildlife Conservation Center get back on its feet. Not only will the job in Riverbend, Indiana let her get back to her roots of working with animals, but it’s also a short drive from her sister’s workplace at Riverbend K-9 Academy, a training center for some of the FBI’s best explosive detection dogs.
FBI Special Agent Finn Cooper and his canine partner, Sedona, are chasing a well-funded animal trafficking ring. After an injury sidelines Finn from official FBI undercover work, he goes to work at Riverbend K-9 Academy to stay busy while he recovers…and to investigate his only remaining lead in the animal trafficking case.
Just as Elise begins to settle into life in Riverbend, her sister asks her to help the K-9 Academy by fostering one of their puppies. Finn is eager to keep Elise focused on training Zeke, the enthusiastic German shepherd puppy earmarked to become Riverbend’s first wildlife detection K-9, and keep her well away from his quiet animal trafficking investigation. Zeke quickly proves himself an expert both at chewing shoes and sniffing out clouded leopards. When Zeke starts finding scents where they don’t belong, Elise and Finn begin to realize that the Conservation Center may be more criminal than unlucky. And if Elise doesn’t keep her nose out of it, she might be the next target.
An Ear for Trouble is Book 2 in the Riverbend K-9 Series. All books in the Riverbend K-9 Series may be enjoyed as standalone novels or as a series.
An Ear For Trouble is an engaging cosy mystery involving a local conservation zoo and some strange shenanigans that causes a member of the WWF accountancy team to be called to help out after the unexpected disappearance and presumed death of not just their veterinarian but also one of their prized cubs.
What follows is an intriguing and well-developed story with all the hallmarks of a small-town mystery. The addition of the K-9s makes for often quite crowded scenes, and I was impressed that the author never once inadvertently forgot one of the animals:)
There’s a great deal of detail in the story about conservation work, alongside the mystery of what’s been happening. We’re not spared the details of spreadsheets and doggy training, but the two main characters of Finn and Elise. alongside their friends and dogs, means that the story never gets bogged down. It moves at a lovely pace – always advancing the storyline. On more than one occasion, I did think I’d worked out ‘who did it’ only to be proved wrong.
An Ear for Trouble is a lovely, easy-going story without too much peril and perfect for fans of wildlife, dogs and small-town mysteries. An enjoyable and rather lovely read.
Meet the author
K.T. Lee is a writer, mom, and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. She’s the author of multiple books, including those in the Riverbend K-9 Series and The Calculated Series.
Giveaway to Win 10 x e-copies of An Ear For Trouble (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Liopleurodon. Enjoy.
Scene 4: Luke reflects while waiting for the Liopleurodon to arrive for the monster’s first battle with the protagonists.
Luke watched the sunrise on the Sea Otter’s deck as the sky became an evolving painting, shifting from black to pink to orange to blue. Nature’s beauty was a lifelong source of excitement. He should get up early every morning—with Kelsey beside him. It was free entertainment, as captivating as any work of art ever crafted by man because this was crafted by God. The sky’s progression was only the beginning. Beyond it waited the universe, infinite in scale, majesty, and power. Who knew what was out there, what marvels existed to be adored? Stars, planets, other species, all going through their own cycles of life and death. He resented being stuck on Earth. Though the Earth had its own untapped universe to explore, one that was closer and more meaningful. Luke glanced at the ocean’s surface. Beneath was another world, virtually none of which man had yet seen. Incredible creatures—predator and prey, monster and magnificent—all part of the same planet, from the same hand as the colors drawn across the sky. That included the ancient monster—evolution’s most dangerous creation—that Luke knew was on its way.
Anxiety bubbled below the surface of Luke’s mind. He sought to impose calm, but his consciousness struggled to put its pants on as his subconscious darted ahead. Panic surged every few moments, not derived from thoughts, but from his intuition of what was coming and what was at stake if the Navy failed. What if too many poisoned bullets and harpoons missed? What if the Liopleurodon killed everyone on the patrol boats? What if the Germans captured it? What would they do with it? Could it affect the outcome of a future war? Would the Kaiser rule the world? Luke tried taking his mind off his fear. He thought of Kelsey. Her blonde hair. Her embrace. Yes. Think of that. Another surge. Kelsey’s image faded. Tainted. Next he thought of his father. A legacy redeemed. If only he’d known. He didn’t have to die. Didn’t have to leave Luke and his mother. Another surge. Damnit. Think of the sea, where he was more comfortable than he was on land. Of being a great fish. A being of power and grace. No issues of status or love to think of. Just swimming. And eating. And reproduction. And not being killed by sharks. Or the Liopleurodon. Another surge.
Luke shook his head and snorted. He looked at the others. Maybe getting out of his musings would distract him. Professor Harris was nearby. Like Luke, Harris wore a float vest and a belt that clipped to a canister full of putrescine. Harris looked away from the water, staring blankly, focusing on his breathing to stay calm. Luke looked at Colonel Roosevelt and General Wood, sitting together on the other side of the deck, facing opposite the Paulding and the concoction zone. Roosevelt’s forearms rested on his knees, his hands dangling between his stretched legs. He wore khaki trousers and a blue flannel shirt with yellow suspenders. Atop his head sat a brown felt hat with a blue and white bandanna tied around it. It was the same outfit he’d worn when he rode up Kettle Hill.
Roosevelt noticed Luke staring at him.
Here’s the blurb:
From M. B. Zucker, award-winning author of “The Eisenhower Chronicles”
Liopleurodon ferox was the deadliest sea predator of all time, the king of the Jurassic ocean. This whale-sized reptile’s return to the early twentieth century triggers a geopolitical crisis in this new historical science fiction thriller. Former President Theodore Roosevelt foresees the threat the Liopleurodon would pose if it falls into the wrong hands. The race is on as Roosevelt leads the American effort to destroy it before the Kaiser’s Germany can turn it into a weapon.
Fans of Jurassic Park and Steve Alten’s Meg series will not want to miss this adventure filled with action, political intrigue, and characters that readers will remember long after finishing this novel.
Advance Praise for Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep
“The storyline itself was superb —- A Jaws/Jurassic Park thriller and a bit of a spy novel all in one – and compelling.”– The Historical Fiction Company
My Spanish Romance: Falling For My Brother’s Best Friend…
Dating her brother’s best friend is against the rules.
But some rules are meant to be broken…
After discovering her cheating ex’s plans to move into her building, accountant Lily jets off on a sabbatical to Marbella.
When she unexpectedly bumps into her brother’s best friend, hot Spanish DJ Carlos—the guy she’s had a crush on since forever—sparks fly.
But Carlos promised Lily’s brother he’d never mess with his little sister. Breaking the bro code would end their friendship.
Lily knows that Casanova Carlos doesn’t do relationships, so all he could offer is a steamy holiday fling. And after wanting him for so long, if they spent the night together, Lily’s heart and body might never recover.
She tries to suppress her feelings, but when Carlos takes Lily to his favourite places in Spain, the attraction becomes harder to resist. With her brother hundreds of miles away, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt, right?
Should Lily throw caution to the wind and risk heartbreak by enjoying a sizzling Spanish romance? And if she does, will it lead to long-term love?
Order this fun, steamy, brother’s-best-friend, forbidden love romcom now and join Lily in Spain to find out!
Read as a standalone novel or as part of the My Ten-Year Crush series.
Olivia Spring is a British, London-based writer of contemporary women’s fiction, sexy chick lit and romantic comedy. Her uplifting debut novel The Middle-Aged Virgin, which was released in 2018, deals with being newly single in your thirties and beyond, dating, relationships, love, sex and living life to the full.
In addition to The Middle-Aged Virgin, Olivia has published The Middle-Aged Virgin in Italy, Love Offline, Losing My Inhibitions, Only When It’s Love and the sequel When’s The Wedding?
My Ten-Year Crush, Olivia’s seventh novel, marked the start of a new series in 2021. My Lucky Night and My Paris Romance followed soon afterwards and book four, My Spanish Romance will be published in January 2023.
When she’s not writing, Olivia can be found enjoying cupcakes and cocktails and of course, seeking inspiration for her next book!
Gemma Lamb is ready for an uneventful term at St Bride’s, she’s had enough of dastardly deeds and sinister strangers.
However, she’s barely back at school before:
Unlucky in love Oriana is sneaking around at odd hours
Handsome Joe is keeping secrets
Militant Mavis feels a scandal is brewing
It’s all a bit much, but when a stranger appears Gemma thinks she’s had enough. But this stranger isn’t so sinister, instead he looks rather too familiar. If Gemma can’t get him away from the school the whispers and scandal his presence could unleash may just close St Bride’s doors for good.
The St Bride’s books are rapidly becoming one of my favourite series.
Wicked Whispers at St Bride’s takes place during the half term after the Christmas holidays. While the girls are all learning how to play games with the teachers, Cluedo, Chess, and a touch of poker, Gemma finds herself wondering what’s going on between Joe and Oriana, which leads her to make a rather impromptu decision when a stranger appears at the doors of St Bride’s.
What follows is a series of misunderstandings, a somewhat unexpected fire alarm, and not one, not two, not three, but four trips out for afternoon tea, during which two more mysteries are solved.
I really do enjoy this series featuring the staff and students of St Bride’s. They’re just the right sort of cosy to fill a couple of hours with feel-good reading. I’m hoping there’ll be a book 4 soon.
Meet the Author
Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries. She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing. She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.
Is the Wedding Between Sir Hewitt Willoughby-Franklin’s Step-Daughter and Billionaire’s Son Off?
Rumours are that the recent death of Kelley Lindsell (29), the personal chef of tycoon Rudy (68) and Sheri Trotman (65) at Sir Hewitt’s Fawstead Manor country estate in Fenshire, has spooked Sybil Bransgrove (36) so badly she’s considering cancelling her nuptials.
Meanwhile the bride and her mother, Lady Grace (61), are being supported by family friend Lady Beatrice (36), the Countess of Rossex, who, alongside her business partner Perry Juke, is currently managing the project to refurbish the Manor House and Lodge on the estate.
Not again! Now that Lady Grace has asked Lady Beatrice to liaise with the police during the investigation into Kelley’s death, she’ll have to cooperate with boorish Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam whether she likes it or not. Her only relief will be solving the murder with the help of her friends Perry and Simon and her dog Daisy to get rid of him faster. But with so many wedding party guests staying on-site, any one of them could be the killer. Can they find out who it is before Sybil calls off the wedding…
For Richer, For Deader is the second in the Right Royal Cozy investigations series, and the series is a bit of a delight.
Lady Beatrice, once more engaged on one of her interior design projects, finds herself at the centre of another strange mystery, with threatening notes, an over-anxious bride, and an even more over-anxious mother-of-the-bride, and that’s before the murder even takes place.
The same cast are here, Perry, Simon, and Daisy the dog, as well as Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam, and that pesky online rag, the Society Page Online stirring up problems.
The mystery is well put together, and again, I didn’t decipher the true culprit thanks to the liberal dosing of red-herrings. And it was a really enjoyable cozy mystery. I’m looking forward to book 3, Not Mushroom for Murder. Check out my review for book 1, Spruced up for Murder.
Meet the author
Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.
I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.
It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes