#Review#ANobleCunning #PatriciaBernstein #HFVBT

A Noble Cunning: The Countess and the Tower by Patricia Bernstein

Publication Date: March 7, 2023
History Through Fiction LLC

Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian

A thrilling tale, based on a true story, of one woman’s tremendous courage and incomparable wit in trying to rescue her husband from the Tower of London the night before he is to be executed.

The heroine of A Noble Cunning, Bethan Glentaggart, Countess of Clarencefield, a persecuted Catholic noblewoman, is determined to try every possible means of saving her husband’s life, with the help of a group of devoted women friends.

Amid the turbulence of the 1715 Rebellion against England’s first German king George I, Bethan faces down a mob attack on her home, travels alone from the Scottish Lowlands to London through one of the worst snowstorms in many years, and confronts a cruel king before his court to plead for mercy for her husband Gavin. As a last resort, Bethan and her friends must devise and put in motion a devilishly complex scheme featuring multiple disguises and even the judicious use of poison to try to free Gavin.

Though rich with historical gossip and pageantry, Bethan’s story also demonstrates the damage that politics and religious fanaticism can inflict on the lives of individuals.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


“A riveting tale of one woman’s courage and determination! Bernstein has crafted a dazzling heroine in Bethan Glentaggart. After enduring the religious fanaticism of Protestants, the vain heroics of Scottish lords, and the insipid insecurities of King George I, Bethan must devise and carry out a daring plan to rescue her husband from the Tower of London before his execution for treason. Her forceful personality makes A Noble Cunning a gripping page-turner!”

– David Blixt, author of What Girls Are Good For and Her Majesty’s Will

“I love a good historical novel about women with brains, heart, and courage. In A Noble Cunning, Patricia Bernstein’s finely-spun yarn of Jacobite sympathizer Countess of Clarencefield-inspired by the true adventures of Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale-the author brings both the Scottish Lowlands and Hanoverian London vividly to life with a keen eye for period detail and a heart-stopping denouement.”

– Leslie Carroll, author of Notorious Royal Marriages

“This is a riveting and largely unknown story, based on true events, about a remarkable woman’s strength, love and courage against formidable odds. Set amidst English and Scottish hostilities in the early 1700s, and the terrible religious persecution of the period, Patricia Bernstein brings the countess’s extraordinary tale to dramatic life.”

– Karen Brooks, International Best-selling Author of The Good Wife of Bath and The Locksmith’s Daughter

“Wow! This spellbinding historical novel captures the religious aspects of an intriguing and true story. I was especially taken by the extraordinary Countess, the unsung Catholic heroine in a time of unrelenting persecution of Catholics in England and Scotland. Her dedication to her Catholic faith and especially to the Virgin Mary, her unstoppable courage, unimaginable cunning, and unflappable determination exceeded most women of her day. I also loved that Bethan Glentaggart, based on the true story of Winifred Maxwell, performs her audacious feat with the help of a group of devoted and courageous women friends. Patricia Bernstein adds dramatic flair and suspense that capture you to the very end. It is a must-read.”

– Sister Jane Meyer, O.P., Former Head of St. Agnes Academy, Houston, an all-girl secondary school

“Patricia Bernstein’s sumptuously detailed historical novel, A Noble Cunning: The Countess and the Tower, is set in 18th century Scotland and is based on the remarkable true story of a fiercely courageous woman fighting tirelessly against political and religious tyranny to save her husband, imprisoned and condemned to die in the Tower of London.”

– Kathleen Kent, NY Times Bestselling author of The Heretic’s Daughter

“In A Noble Cunning, Patricia Bernstein paints a compelling and dramatic portrait of Scotland in the perilous time of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, seen through the eyes of the courageous Bethan Carlisle Glentaggart, Countess of a Clarencefield, a Catholic noblewoman who defies danger to undertake an ingenious plot to save her husband from a traitor’s terrible death. Fans of historical fiction will find much to enjoy in this immersive tale of adventure, rich with period detail.”

– Gillian Bagwell, author of The September Queen

Review From Coffee & Ink

Another great book that just blew me away, inspired by a true story. England in the 17th century is still torn apart by the legacy of Henry VIII—Protestants and Catholics constantly embattled in the cities and villages. Bethan Glentaggart, Countess of Clarencefield, and her companion Lucy, face down a mob of “Coventers,” men intent on finding a priest and other evidence of Catholic ritual in her home.

When the chance to return a Catholic Stuart to the throne comes, Bethan’s husband Gavin joins the Jacobite rebellion. When he is captured and held in the Tower of London, Bethan is determined to save him from execution.

This is a riveting novel that builds the suspense step by excruciating step. A terrible blizzard can’t stop Bethan. It’s never easy for her to beg and borrow money to give her husband simple comforts like food and warm blankets. But making friends and finding sympathizers is much easier than reconciling with her evil sister and petitioning an arrogant Hanover King.

The first-person point of view and the incredible writing made me feel like I was standing right there beside Bethan on the freezing cold road and in the Tower with her husband. Highly recommended historical fiction, excellent writing, and gifted storytelling.

About the Author

Native Texan Patricia Bernstein grew up in Dallas. After earning a Degree of Distinction in American Studies from Smith College, she founded her public relations agency in Houston. In 2018, her third book was named a Finalist for the Ramirez Family Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. The Austin American Statesman named the book to a list of 53 of the best books ever written about Texas. Patricia’s nonfiction was previously published by Simon & Schuster and Texas A&M University Press. Patricia lives in Houston with her husband, Alan Bernstein, where she pursues her other great artistic love, singing with Opera in the Heights and other organizations. She also basks in the glory of her three amazing daughters. A Noble Cunning is her debut novel. You can learn more about Patricia and her work at PatriciaBernstein.com.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 15
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, May 16
Review at A Potpourri of Opinions
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read

Wednesday, May 17
Review at Bookworlder
Review at Novels Alive

Thursday, May 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Saturday, May 20
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Review at Novel Nerd Blog
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, May 22
Review at Cover Lover Book Review

Tuesday, May 23
Review at Linda Ulleseit
Guest Post at Author M.K. McClintock

Wednesday, May 24
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, May 26
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books


Enter to win a copy of A Noble Cunning by Patricia Bernstein. We have 3 copies up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

A Noble Cunning

Book Blast: The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley

May 23, 2023 Book Blast


The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley

A magic mirror. An enchanted world. A mysterious missing mother. A suspicious package. An unexplained death. A community of strange, quirky people. A sassy cat and a hilarious, perpetually annoyed witch. Come visit Destiny Falls and escape to a great time.

…Hayden’s life was normal until she fell through a mirror and was thrust into an alternate, magical place. Destiny Falls is not on any map and is home to a family she never knew she had. The town is enchanted and charming, and the amazing mansion she lives in changes to meet the needs of the people who live there, including her! Every day she discovers a new enchantment.

But something is amiss. Hayden gets an ominous warning from a strange woman, who promises to tell her the town secrets and give her a package – if she’ll meet her at the mysterious ferry that lacks a published destination. The ferry visit is cancelled, but the package is delivered. Once it arrives, someone turns up dead. Then the suspicious episodes start, too many to call them coincidences. She and her family are targeted and in danger.

Who or what is causing the chaos? All signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother – way back when Hayden was just two days old. Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away? Can she learn more about the secrets kept for her lifetime? With the help of her sassy sidekick cat, and a host of new family and friends, Hayden finds herself surrounded with support as she solves the mystery of the death and learns secrets about herself.

Praise for The Disappearance of Emily:

‘Intriguing and totally unput-downable, it draws you in from the word go, and you will not want to leave until it chucks you at “The End.”‘
~ Carol, Goodreads

“Will blow you away!”
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Better Beginnings, Inc.
Publication Date: March 2021
Number of Pages: 208
Series: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series, Book 2
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


The mountain trail was tricky. I was moving slowly through the deep snow. I knew the lake had to be nearby. It was important to find it, but I could barely see ten feet in front of me due to the storm. The trail was steep and slippery, and I was making my way using trekking poles to assess where I should step next. My hands and feet were cold. I heard Latifa calling out to me. Where was she? What was she saying?

“Good morning, Sunshine!” Her lilting voice woke me from my dream. “Happy one-month-a-versary!”

It’s amazing how accustomed I’d grown to my cat’s telepathic voice in my head. I squinted at my fluffy Himalayan sidekick. She was sitting beside me on the bed. I stretched out my arms and gave an extra-loud yawn in her direction, hoping she’d get the hint that she had woken me up.

“Message received. Woke you up. So sorry. Got it.” She squinted at me and whispered, “Not sorry.”

I yawned at her again.

“Bet you forgot today is one month from the earth-shattering day we arrived in Destiny Falls.” Her big, baby blues were focused on me, and her whiskers were twitching. “I have appointed myself Keeper of Your Calendar. You can be so forgetful about celebratory dates.” She shook her furry head as if it were impossible to believe.

I gave another exaggerated stretch and reached over to the bedside table. With a flourish, I presented her with a small, gift-wrapped package.

“Squeeee! You remembered!” She head-butted my face and spun a little circle on the bed, then turned to tear open the package. There was more squealing as she discovered her new, feathered cat toy.

I patted my sidekick’s head and tossed my legs over the side of the bed. A glance at my phone confirmed that Latifa-the-alarm-clock was right on time. I needed to get changed and meet Axel downstairs for a morning jog into town. He was often too busy with work to join me in the morning, so it was a wonderful treat to have some extra time with my newfound brother.

My brother. How I loved the sound of that. After a lifetime as an only child in a tiny three-person family, finding out that I had siblings and a large hidden family was monumental. Add to that a mysterious, magical new world, and I was floating on cloud nine.

The only dark spot was missing my family and my best friend, Luna. I was still trying to figure out how to tell them about Destiny Falls. I’d have to sort this out soon, since my cover story of a working trip to Denmark was nearing its expiration. A month overseas was feasible, but as the timeline continued, I’d need to address my disappearance.

My Nana and Granana would be happy that I was happy. They’d been my biggest cheerleaders my entire life. They always said my happiness mattered most to them. Both my parents disappeared the week I was born, so my grandmother and great-grandmother jumped into raising me. They were dedicated to the job, with an enthusiasm that was a complete contrast to their tiny, delicate appearances. Luna and I referred to them as the Mighty Minis, which was an apt description.

Figuring out how to explain that I wasn’t really in Denmark, but in a magical, hidden town in an unknown location was a whole new ball of wax. Especially since the town was finicky about who it revealed itself to. Any e-mails or texts I attempted to send explaining my location, disappeared into the ether in a wisp of bounces— undeliverable, message not sent, connection lost. Even phone calls suddenly lost the signal. Maybe Axel, my brother—deep sigh of joy—could help me solve this problem.

I turned on the movie channel for Latifa, my furry little movie buff, tucked my ponytail through the back of my baseball cap, and headed out. I strolled slowly down the hallway, so I could absorb the beauty of this amazing home.

Hmm. That was odd. Where was the window seat? It was usually somewhere in my hallway, but it was oddly absent. There was a glorious swatch of sunlight, which is where it normally would be lounging. I snickered. Imagine that. A window seat that can lounge in the sun. Magic touched the Caldwell Crest home in the most interesting ways.

Caldwell Crest is a masterpiece of design. It could be described as a cozy, mansion-sized mountain cabin. I felt embraced by the sweeping staircase made of polished wood. I loved the plank wood floors and ceilings and the gorgeous but understated chandeliers. I adored the stone fireplaces that soared all the way up to the tall ceilings. The earthy colors of the décor were soothing. Even after a month, I was still adjusting to the fact that it was now where I lived.

The home was enchanting. I could almost believe the rumors that it was originally built as a castle back in the 1800s and magically remodeled many times. It’s difficult to understand Caldwell Crest and the mysterious place that was Destiny Falls, especially since the definition seemed to always be changing.

It had been a wild ride of a month since I’d been thrown through a portal and landed here.

Destiny Falls is different from any place I’ve ever known before. I had to let go of my preconceived notions of what defines a town. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that the town isn’t on any map and isn’t accessible by normal means.

You must be called here by either the home or the town. Then you whoosh through time and space, to the accompaniment of a flash of brilliant light, as you tumble through a mirror. It’s a one-way trip. Once you’re here, you are, well . . . “trapped” is a harsh word for such a lovely place. However, it’s accurate. I cannot choose to leave. Destiny Falls controls the comings and goings.

I feel a bit like Alice falling through the mirror into wonderland. Albeit a much nicer wonderland than Alice had to deal with.

I’ve figured out that’s it’s easier if I just go with the flow and don’t try to understand all the nuances of this place.


Excerpt from The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley. Copyright 2023 by Elizabeth Pantley. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Pantley. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents, published in over twenty languages.

She simultaneously writes the well-loved Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series and the new Magical Mystery Book Club series.

Elizabeth lives in the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous inspiration for the setting in many of her books.

Catch Up With Elizabeth Pantley:
BookBub – @DestinyFalls
Instagram – @destinyfallsmystery
Facebook – @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic

Tour Participants:

It’s a blog hop so visit these other great hosts on this tour for more giveaway entries!


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Elizabeth Pantley. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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#TheCourtesansDaughter #SusanneDunlap #HFVBT

The Courtesan’s Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Atmosphere Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

What happens when a daughter’s dream and a mother’s sordid past collide?

New York, 1910. Seventeen-year-old Sylvie and her French-immigrant mother Justine eke out a living doing piecework in a tenement on the Lower East Side, while Sylvie attends school so that she can escape their life of poverty by becoming a teacher.

At least, that’s what her mother believes should happen. Sylvie, though, has a different dream. She wants to be a star in the new moving pictures, just like the beautiful Vitagraph Girl. When she meets a dangerously handsome Italian boy at church one Sunday and he encourages her ambitions, she begins secretly taking steps toward the career she knows her mother won’t approve of.

But Sylvie isn’t the only one with secrets. Justine has kept her sordid past from Sylvie ever since they came to New York fifteen years before, stitching together a fabric of lies along with the shirtwaists she finishes every day, doing everything in her power to keep the truth from her daughter-that she fled Paris as a courtesan after committing a crime that could still get her arrested, or worse.

When Justine’s past catches up with her in a single act of brutality, Sylvie witnesses what she thinks is her mother’s betrayal and runs away during a freak blizzard, putting them both in grave danger.

Ambition, survival, and unexpected alliances combine in this mother-daughter story that proves love can conquer all-at a price.

“A blisteringly smart novel of resilience and the pursuit of one’s dreams. The Courtesan’s Daughter draws readers in from the first page with its beguiling beginning. As it hurtles ahead, it holds you rapt up to the last page. Undoubtedly, this story is a tour de force from an author with absolute command of the genre.” – Chanticleer Book Reviews

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Review from Coffee&Ink

I’ve read and reviewed a few of Susan Dunlap’s books. I greatly admire the level of detail she achieves, a totally immersive experience for each book.

The color and drama of the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn in the early 20th century comes alive. Both Sylvie and her mother are tailors, and you can practically feel the texture of the fabrics described in the story.

Justine and her daughter Sylvie live in NYC, sewing shirtwaists to pay the rent and feed themselves. For Sylvie, this is a coming-of-age story where she learns to trust herself and her skills, but sometimes at a great cost. Justine is fleeing a dark past that catches up and returns her to the desperate woman she used to be, so much so her daughter Sylvie flees from her. Slowly each of these women pulls themselves from the tangle they’ve made to a deeply satisfying redemption for both.

Highly recommended for lovers of literary historical fiction and the immigrant experience.

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of twelve works of historical fiction for adults and teens, as well as an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. Her love of historical fiction arose partly from her studies in music history at Yale University (PhD, 1999), partly from her lifelong interest in women in the arts as a pianist and non-profit performing arts executive. Her novel The Paris Affair won first place in its category in the CIBA Dante Rossetti awards for Young Adult Fiction. The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Utah Book Award and the Missouri Gateway Reader’s Prize. In the Shadow of the Lamp was an Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award nominee. Susanne earned her BA and an MA (musicology) from Smith College, and lives in Biddeford, ME, with her little dog Betty.

For more information, please visit Susanne Dunlap’s website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 25
Review at Book Reviews and More
Review at A Potpourri of Opinions

Friday, April 28
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, May 1
Review at Adventures in Lit

Wednesday, May 3
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, May 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Monday, May 8
Review at Cover Lover Book Review

Thursday, May 11
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 16
Excerpt at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, May 19
Review at Coffee and Ink


Enter to win a copy of The Courtesan’s Daughter by Susanne Dunlap.

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Courtesan’s Daughter

Review: If I Had A Hammer by Teresa Trent

If I Had a Hammer by Teresa Trent Banner

If I Had a Hammer

by Teresa Trent

May 1-26, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


If I Had a Hammer by Teresa Trent

A new job, a brutal murder, and Camelot has ended.

In 1963, Dot Morgan’s life was changed forever. She witnessed the assassination of John F Kennedy through the lens of her boxy Kodak Instamatic camera, bringing traumatic aftereffects of the brutality that happened as they stood on the parade route in Dallas.

She starts her first real secretarial job with a boss who has no sympathy for her trauma. When Dot’s only work friend has a mysterious accident at a demolition site, she digs around on her own only to find very little love between two brothers and no one hammering out justice to find a murderer.

The suspects are all around Dot and as she tries to sift through their motives, her cousin Ellie is going through PTSD on her own, losing interest in work, and her fiancé all the while quoting some of JFK’s finest speeches.

With so much change in her world, can Dot still tell the difference between good and evil?

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 230
ISBN: 978-1685123017
Series: The Swinging Sixties Mystery Series, Book 2 | Each is a stand alone
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Ellie screamed, making the driver jump. “Right here! Stop here,” Ellie said as she passed bills from the back seat to the front.

I looked up over a light brown building with straight white letters reading Texas School Book Depository. Above it was an ad for Hertz Rent-a-Car with a clock attached to it. It was straight up noon. The crowd was thickening as people found places to stand in a grassy area next to the street. It was almost as if the original landscaper had known this historic day would take place and designed the gradual slope along the road. According to the newspaper, Kennedy’s motorcade would arrive soon, and I felt the excitement building as we prepared to join the crowd. I pulled my arms through my sweater.

Ellie extended a hand to help me out of the yellow Checker cab. “Are you ready?”

“Oh yes. Let’s go over there.” I pointed to one of the few open spots next to the curb. “Hurry, before someone else gets it. I just hope we can hold the spot. There are some pretty big guys who might want to stand in front of us.”

Ellie smirked. “You know what I always say. ‘Knee them in the crotch and they sing a new song.’”

“Seriously, Ellie. I’m not attacking some poor man just so I can stand in front.”

“You’re right. I was trying to sound sophisticated Maybe not here but remember that. It may come in handy someday.”

I had decided to wear a new pair of black heels and felt them wobbling. We crossed the street and grabbed our spot just in time, causing another viewer to crowd in next to us. The smell of cigarette smoke circled us as people fiddled with cameras and readjusted black-rimmed glasses.

“Jack Kennedy is so handsome.” Ellie placed her hand over her heart, popping it on her chest like a heartbeat. “Too bad he’s already taken.”

“Stop.” I laughed. “I believe you’re already taken as well. Didn’t I hear something about you and Al getting married next June?”

Ellie gave a sweet smile as her eyes drifted upward. “I can’t believe that either. June. That’s just a little more than six months away.”

“Well, you deserve the happiness coming your way.” I patted my cousin’s shoulder. Ellie was in her thirties, practically spinsterhood in 1963. Finding Al, the electrician, had been the best thing for her. Love and marriage. It filled me with warmth. We were all living the American dream just like the characters in our favorite movies at the Rialto theater. The lyrics of “Young at Heart” drifted through my mind.

I sang a few lines from the song.

Ellie linked her arm with mine as she watched the street. A few cars drove by, but none that looked like a presidential motorcade. The breeze drifted across my exposed knees. A longer skirt would have shielded my knees, but I would endure the shivers for the sake of fashion.

“Ellie, did you see that picture of Jackie in the paper? She’s gorgeous. I saw her tour of the White House on TV. She’s so classy and looks beautiful in everything she wears.”

“Except she talks funny,” Ellie said, her Texas drawl turning “talks” into “tawks.”

“That’s because she’s from the East. She can’t help it. I’ll bet she thinks Texans talk funny. I’m sure they hear a lot of Texas twang coming from LBJ and Ladybird.”

“But that’s just music to anyone’s ears,” Ellie said. “Be serious.”

I glanced up and down the parade route. “Ben said he was going to be here. Maybe he’s farther down the street.” I pulled out my new Kodak Instamatic and hooked the leather strap around my neck. I raised the camera up to my eyes. “I hope I can get a clear picture of Jackie and John.”

“Listen to you. You talk like you know them,” Ellie laughed. “Jackie and John.”

“Well, in a way, I feel like I do. They’re America’s perfect family. I love them all. Jackie, John, Caroline, John-John.”

Ellie sighed and then drew in an excited breath with her hands clenched in front of her. “This is so exciting.” People continued to crowd up to the curb. A tall man in a brown plaid sport coat, holding binoculars up to his black boxy glasses, elbowed me to move over. I could feel tension in the air that comes when people anticipate witnessing something spectacular.

Just then, a line of shiny black cars came into view, ambling down the street in our direction. The breeze turned into a slight wind. I leaned forward and squinted, trying to identify who was in each vehicle. I felt my heart race as I recognized John and Jackie Kennedy sitting in the back seat as the car was surrounded by men on motorcycles. She was stunning in a pink wool suit and matching hat. I felt special knowing Jackie and I had worn the same color on this memorable day. She, of course, looked so much better. John had a healthy tan and a wide smile on his face.

I raised my camera and willed the man in the brown plaid coat not to step in front of me. This was a moment I was sure we would always remember. I hoped I could wind the film cartridge fast enough to take several pictures. Maybe they would want to use them in the Camden Courier? I wanted a good one of John, and another of Jackie. Just like real people, I thought but really, they looked like royalty, sitting in the open top limousine with policemen on motorcycles riding silently alongside—sort of a mobile palace guard. When the hood of the limousine was directly in front of me, I brought the Instamatic up and clicked to take a picture. I rolled the film to the next frame, took another, and repeated the process. Suddenly, I heard a popping sound somewhere behind me. I rolled the film lever with my thumb, now an automatic action, then turned toward the sound, only to see people scrambling and running to higher ground. The sound I heard wasn’t a pop. It was a gunshot. I looked back toward the motorcade and stood in horror as a man crawled over the back of the open convertible and the thing that caught my attention was the splotches of red invading Jackie’s beautiful pink suit. John Kennedy no longer sat smiling in front of me but was down in the seat on Jackie’s lap.


Excerpt from If I Had a Hammer by Teresa Trent. Copyright 2023 by Teresa Trent. Reproduced with permission from Teresa Trent. All rights reserved.

Review from Coffee&Ink

An excellent mystery novel that winds tighter and tighter around the main character, Dot, as the mystery escalates. It’s Texas in 1963. Dot is fresh out of secretarial school working for a construction company trying to do her job while enduring the toxic masculinity of the time. But Kennedy’s assassination has changed Dot’s outlook on the world and when a friend is murdered, Dot is determined to find out why. Dot is an interesting, conflicted character, and it’s fascinating to watch her shed her innocence and become a wiser human being. The plot twists kept me turning the pages and the answer to the murder mystery was very satisfying. The setting is strong and authentic feeling–definitely Small Town, Texas. Dot is young and, despite the constant disparagements from the men around her, solves the mystery. She is a character to cheer for.

Highly recommended for mid-century historical mystery lovers.

Author Bio:

Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent is the author of over 15 books. She started writing cozy mysteries with the Pecan Bayou and Piney Woods Mystery Series. She sets her stories in different geographical areas of Texas and The Swinging Sixties historical series is set just north of Dallas, starting in 1962. You might think with so many books set in the Lone Star state, she was born there, but no. She has lived all over the world, thanks to her father’s career in the army. After living in Texas for twenty-five years, she’s finally put down roots.

Teresa is a hybrid author, self-publishing early in her career, which led her to traditional publishing with Level Best Books and Camel Press. She is the author of several short stories that have appeared in a host of anthologies. Teresa publishes the blog and podcast, Books to the Ceiling at https://teresatrent.blog where she loves to read the book excerpts of other writers and share in the writing community.

Teresa is a member of Sisters in Crime and lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son.

Catch Up With Teresa:
Books to the Ceiling Podcast
BookBub – @TeresaTrent
Instagram – @teresatrent_cozymys
Twitter – @ttrent_cozymys
Facebook – @teresatrentmysterywriter

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!

05/01 Review @ Im Into Books
05/04 Showcase @ The Mystery Section
05/07 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
05/09 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
05/10 Guest post @ Fredas Voice
05/11 Interview @ Hott Books
05/11 Review @ Carstairs Considers
05/13 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
05/15 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/16 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/17 Review @ 5 Minutes for Books
05/18 Review @ Coffee and Ink
05/18 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/22 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
05/26 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
05/27 Review @ Confessions of the Perfect Mom


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Teresa Trent. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

Review: Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver

Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver Banner

Covert in Cairo

by Kelly Oliver

April 24 – May 19, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver

1917 Cairo.

Ancient mummies aren’t the only bodies buried in the tombs of Cairo.

The notorious Fredrick Fredricks has lured Fiona to Egypt with a cryptic threat on the Suez Canal.

But when a cheeky French archeologist is murdered, and an undercover British agent goes missing, the threat moves closer to home.

Is the notorious Fredrick Fredricks behind the murders? Or is the plot even more sinister?

Competing excavators, jealous husbands, secret lovers, and belligerent spies are the leading suspects.

As they dig deeper, soon Fiona and Kitty are up to their donkeys in dead bodies.

If they can’t unwind the clues and catch the killer, they might end up sharing a sarcophagus with Nefertiti.

With humor as dry as the Arabian desert, and pacing as fast as a spitting camel, Fiona and Kitty are back in another sparkling adventure, this time in WW1 Egypt.


“Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Maisie Dobbs.”

“Tantalizing and riveting with a good dose of humor while keeping the heartbreaking reality of war in the mix.”
The Los Angeles Post

“A clever mix of humor and espionage that will keep you turning the pages and laughing all the way!”
Dianne Freeman, author the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.

“A perfect blend of wit, fun, and intrigue.”
Debra Goldstein, Author of the Sarah Blair Cozy Mysteries

“The perfect wartime spy: Fiona Figg. Smart, sneaky, and full of surprises… A fun whodunit that will keep you turning the pages!”
Cathi Stoler, author of The Murder On The Rocks Mysteries

“Fun, easy-to-read, witty mystery that had me happily turning the pages.”
Melissa’s Bookshelf

“Humor, action, and intrigue. I found myself thoroughly entertained.”
Urban Book Reviews

Review from Coffee&Ink

A very good cozy historical mystery set during World War I in the city of Cairo.

Fiona Figg, ostensibly a lowly file clerk at the British Intelligence office, is in Cairo in pursuit of a man suspected of plotting to blow up the Suez Canal. She’s taken along her lockpicks, spy lipstick, and her new friend Kitty Lane, beloved mother of Poppy the Pekinese and owner of an impressive skill set including hand to hand fighting and knife throwing. Also along on this trip is Captain Clifford Douglas, a rather hapless person serving as chaperone/bodyguard. Fellow spies all.

This is a fast-paced story immersed in the city and culture of Cairo during a time when the Germans and the British were fighting over its future. There are plenty of fictional and actual characters to keep the story moving from suspect to suspect amongst the pyramids of Egypt and the desert. Comedic moments with camels and masquerade balls make this story a “cozy.” Recommended for lovers of cozies and historical mysteries with a touch of romance.

Covert in Cairo Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: April 2023
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: Coming Soon
Series: A Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mystery, 2 (These are Stand-Alone Mysteries)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

This bloody war had taught me nothing was black and white… except perhaps a strong cup of tea with milk, when you could get it.

My mouth was parched, and my bottom bounced on the hard wooden bench I shared with Captain Clifford Douglas, my glorified chaperone. I glanced over at our carriage companions, Miss Kitty Lane—whom I’d known until a week ago as Eliza Baker—and a stranger who leaned against the wooden armrest, reading.

The Egyptian railway carriages were white wooden trollies. Nothing like the black iron horses back home. Deuced hot, too. The soot flooding in through the window was the same, though. British or Egyptian. It didn’t matter. We all choked on the same smoke.

As the carriage clacked along the tracks through the desert from Alexandria to Cairo, I distracted myself with Annie Pirie’s The Pyramids of Giza. Book in one hand, I held a lavender-scented handkerchief to my nose with the other.

Annie Pirie claimed it was under one of these grand pyramids that she’d met her future husband while they were both laid up with food poisoning. Having nursed soldiers suffering from that very same affliction back at Charing Cross Hospital, I didn’t find anything romantic about the squalls of salmonella.

Still, there was nothing like the vulnerability of the body to move the soul.

Why not fall in love over a bedpan?

After all, I’d met Archie Somersby when he was convalescing with a shot-up arm. He’d asked me to help him write a letter to his mother. So sweet. Writing to his mum.

My cheeks burned. Oh, Archie. Would I ever see him again? Did I want to see him again, now that I knew he was a government-sponsored assassin? When I closed my eyes, I could still smell his citrus cologne mixed with the lingering scent of Kenilworth cigarettes.

I dropped The Pyramids of Giza on the seat next to me and withdrew a fan from my purse. Even with the windows open, it was beastly hot, and the desert seemed to go on forever. Winter in Egypt was a far cry from the chilly dampness of London or the snow in New York.

No. I couldn’t allow myself to think of Archie. Dead or alive.

Instead, I looked out of the window.

Oblivious to the carriage’s shaking and clattering, with her legs stretched across the bench seat, Kitty had her nose buried in the latest issue of Vogue fashion magazine. Wearing dark glasses, a flowing pink chiffon skirt dotted with tiny roses, a white blouse with pearl buttons, and an adorable sailor hat, she looked the part of a fashion model herself.

Poppy, the girl’s Pekingese, had a pink ribbon in her topknot that matched her owner’s outfit perfectly. The furry nuisance sprawled across Clifford’s lap, her outstretched paw touching my knee. Only because the animal had rescued me from imprisonment in a loo on my last mission did I indulge her encroachment on my person.

Clifford was another matter. Indulging him often tried my patience. Captain Clifford Douglas had been sent along by the War Office to chaperone us, despite the fact I’d already completed four missions. And Kitty, well, for all I knew, she was an assassin in petticoats.

While engrossed in his hunting magazine and fantasies of killing, at least Clifford was quiet for a change.

“I say!” Clifford looked up from his magazine.

Blast. I knew it was too good to be true.

“Gezira Sporting Club has fox hunts with English hounds.” Clifford beamed. “Do you ladies fancy a hunt?”

My eyes met Kitty’s and we both laughed.

“We’re not in Arabia for sports.” I scolded him. “Hunting.” I gestured from Clifford to Kitty. “Fashion… You’d think we were on holiday instead of…” I glanced over at the stranger in our compartment. “Instead of on business.”

If it hadn’t been for the stranger sharing our compartment, I would have chastised my companions. While I was busy preparing for our mission by studying guidebooks, they were faffing about with pretty dresses, gruesome blood sports, and fussing over a spoiled little dog.

“You can tell our priorities by our reading material.” I held up my book. “Mine is written by a scholar and a lady explorer.” I nodded for emphasis. “She—”

“If you want to get to know a people,” the stranger interrupted, “study their poetry.”

I sat blinking at him. His English was heavily accented, but I didn’t recognize the accent. And yet there was something familiar about his voice.

“You must read Hafez Ibrahim, poet of the Nile.” The stranger opened both his hands in offering. He clasped his hands together in prayer.

“Do I know you, sir?” Clifford dislodged the pipe from his mouth.

There was something uncanny about the man. I too had the uneasy sense of déjà vu.

“You don’t even know yourself,” the stranger scoffed. “If you English can’t make yourselves welcome with arrogant promises of freedom, you resort to armored tanks and Vickers machine guns.” His mustaches quivered.

“Well, I say,” Clifford huffed. “No need to be rude.” He tugged on the bottom of his jacket. Good old reliable Clifford. Quick to defend king and country… and any women within a twenty-mile radius.

“Those hunting hounds were brought here to fulfill your countrymen’s desire to turn every place into their homeland.” When the stranger waved his arms, the loose sleeve of his jacket danced a frenetic jig. “They died from the heat.” His dark eyes flashed. “Let that be a lesson to you.”

“Look here, whoever you are.” Clifford stood up. “This is no way to talk in front of the ladies.”

Good heavens. I hoped Clifford didn’t do something stupid like challenge this fellow to a duel or punch him in the nose.

The carriage swayed and Clifford fell back onto the seat, nearly landing in my lap.

“Now, now.” I patted Clifford’s arm. “The ladies can defend themselves, thank you.”

The stranger held up his book. “Here, you must learn Arabic if you want to do anything but see yourselves reflected in a mirror of your own hubris.” He stood up. “Since Egypt was occupied by the French before the English, you’ll get by passably well with French.” He opened the door to the compartment. “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I, too, have work in Cairo.”

As he crossed the threshold, a folded paper fell out of his book.

I reached down and picked it up. The paper was heavy and thick.

“You dropped something,” I said to the closed door.

The stranger had vanished.

“What is it?” Kitty said.

“I say.” Clifford snatched it from my hands and snapped it open. “Why, it’s a map!”

“Heavens.” I gazed down at it. “Not just any map.” I grabbed it back.

A map of the Suez Canal. Marked with a big black X. 


Excerpt from Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver. Copyright 2023 by Kelly Oliver. Reproduced with permission from Kelly Oliver. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade kids’ series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries, inspired by those trips to the Green Hills Library.

Currently, Kelly is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime.

When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to:
BookBub – @KellyOliverBook
Instagram – @kellyoliverbook
Twitter – @kellyoliverbook
Facebook – @kellyoliverauthor

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!

04/25 Review @ Its All About the Book
04/26 Showcase @ Im Into Books
04/27 Review @ Novels Alive
04/27 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/02 Interview @ Hott Books
05/06 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/07 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
05/09 Showcase @ The Mystery Section
05/10 Podcast interview @ Blog Talk Radio
05/10 Review @ Just Reviews
05/11 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/12 Review @ Cozy Up With Kathy
05/13 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
05/14 Review @ Urban Book Reviews
05/15 Review @ Coffee and Ink
05/16 Review @ sunny island breezes
05/17 Review @ reviewsbyrudra
05/18 Review @ melissas_bookshelf
05/18 Review @ Review Thick & Thin
05/19 Review @ Novel Nerd Blog


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Kelly Oliver. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

Review: No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby

(From Amazon)

Expected to be the most joyful book of 2023, No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby (releasing May 9 from Head of Zeus) is a delightfully quirky debut set in 1896 that follows Violet Hamilton, a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated. . .

This delightfully quirky and clever book club read, is perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.  

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?


Praise for No Life For a Lady:
‘A GORGEOUS historical romcom with lashings of mystery… Joyful!’ Sophie Irwin, author, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting

‘Charming, exhilarating, fabulously funny and so full of heart – Violet is the heroine I’ve been waiting for.’ Daisy Buchanan, author, Careering

‘A glorious send-up of Victorian values, it’s funny from the start. Dolby’s wry authorial voice reminded me of the great Laurie Graham’ – Daily Mail

‘This delightfully quirky novel will be a book club pleaser, I believe. It is joyful, original and it will help you bounce exuberantly into Spring.’ – Adele Parks

‘A cosmo book of the month’ – Cosmopolitan

‘A charming, humorous and glorious read’ –Woman’s Weekly

Review from Coffee&Ink

What I truly loved about this novel is that not only is it mystery aimed at solving the death and/or disappearance of Violet’s mother, but all the smaller mysteries she solves on the way to the plot’s completion.

The story opens with the last time Violet saw her mother. Now gone for a decade, Violet is determined to find out what happened to her. Her life has pretty much stopped because of this, and she just can’t go on unknowing. Her father “helps” by putting suitors in her way, but she manages to scare them off every time. What she really wants is a job and more than that, to be A Lady Detective.

There are two detectives in town, but one is retired and running a second-hand furniture store. Violet immediately regrets hiring Frank Knight who appears resolute but is very off-putting. Because she is A Very Determined Young Lady, she manages to get Benjamin, the retired detective, to hire her by borrowing his typewriter and selling some furniture when he’s out of the store. She also leads him out of retirement with her antics about town and finally draws him into what’s become a very dangerous search for her mother.

I pretty much read this book with a smile on my face, as the prose is wry, witty, and charming. I actually opened the book a little too soon before the review was due and had to force myself not to read it. I never forgot the opening and how easily the author drew me into the story.

This standout novel is highly recommended for lovers of historical mysteries and strong, funny heroines.

About the Author

Hannah Dolby‘s first job was in the circus and she has aimed to keep life as interesting since. She trained as a journalist in Hastings and has worked in PR for many years, promoting museums, galleries, palaces, gardens and even Dolly the sheep. She completed the Curtis Brown selective three-month novel writing course, and she won runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Awards for this novel with the prize of a place on an MA in Comedy Writing at the University of Falmouth. She currently lives in London. You can follow Hannah on Twitter @LadyDolby

Review: Clytemnestra by Constanza Casati

(from Amazon)

“Fans of Circe and Elektra should pick up this powerful Greek myth retelling.” —Cosmopolitan

For fans of Madeline Miller, a stunning debut following Clytemnestra, the most notorious villainess of the ancient world and the events that forged her into the legendary queen.

As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best…

You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.

But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.

Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.

If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.

Goodreads’ Buzziest Debuts of 2023

POPSUGAR’s Best Historical Fiction of 2023

The Nerd Daily’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023

“Propulsive…richly drawn and lovingly rendered, Casati’s Clystemnestra is a brilliant, fierce woman placed, again and again, in untenable circumstances. Readers who are enjoying the current plethora of mythological retellings won’t want to miss this absorbing examination of a complicated queen.” ― Booklist, STARRED review

“A great literary achievement that gives voice to characters who, due to their genders, have been vilified and silenced throughout the millennia…Clytemnestra is a literary tour de force―a novel of passion and vengeance set in Ancient Greece.” ― Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

“Casati makes this grim tale feel fresh through vivid imagery and nuanced characterizations. It’s sure to please fans of the revisionist genre.” ― Publishers Weekly

“A dazzling portrait of Clytemnestra…an outstanding portrait in humanity, motherhood, sisterhood, grief, loss and revenge.” ― Historical Novel Society

“Her rendition of this lost-to-history female figure is a fiercely intelligent and brave warrior queen that you’ll find yourself rooting for regardless of whether you’re usually into classical mythology or not.” ― Savvymom

“In Casati’s strong and immersive debut there are no gods, no heroes, no monsters. There are just humans, driven by their passions and frailties.” ― The Times

“Casati’s imagery was so expansive and imaginative. It utterly swept me into the story, conjuring the poetic epics of the original myths. The writing is lush and immersive, allowing you to lose yourself in this ancient world…. I was so deeply invested in these rich, nuanced characters that I will not be forgetting any time soon.” ― The Nerd Daily

“Crackles with vivid fury, passion, and strength.” Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Elektra and Ariadne

Review by Coffee&Ink

By the time I finished reading this excellent novel, Clytemnestra had branded my soul. It’s one of those books I’m reaching for the moment I open my eyes in the morning to get a little more reading time in before work, after work, all the reading times in between. Could not put it down. The writing is excellent and the unfolding of the plot, all the awful atrocities committed by the men in power while the women can only stand by and become, step by bloody step, twisted by their circumstances, is pure art. At the end of it all, I felt devastated and uplifted at the same time; well, throughout the story, this is how I felt, but the writing and the story kept me reading.

Lots of books come along. Few books hold this kind of power over me.

Costanza Casati

Costanza was born in Texas in 1995, grew up in a village in Northern Italy and lived in the UK for five years. Before moving to London, she attended a classical Liceo in Italy, where she studied Ancient Greek, and Ancient Greek literature, for five years. Costanza is a graduate of the Warwick Writing MA programme, where she studied under Sarah Moss, and currently works as a freelance journalist and screenwriter. She is passionate about ancient history and wants to make its heroines accessible to the present.

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and follow her bookstagram page @youngpeopleread.

Professional Reader thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

#IWSG Wednesday

When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

Inspiration is a big part of the process, a cup of something good that constantly needs refilling. Since there are a lot of moving parts when writing a story or novel, I go to different sources for inspiration. Recently I took a couple of classes at Savvy Writers. One was the April bootcamp and the other a plotting class. I’m in a weird place, apparently moving from pantser to plotter and needed some new direction. Research inspires me, whether it’s books or podcasts. Listening to deep dark cellos, sad arias, and John Dowland inspire me. Plots come to me in dreams, although sometimes these are joke plots, as my brain seems to think it’s hilarious to hand me nonsense because it knows when we dream, we think it’s real. Historical people inspire me. Recently I made a mood board for the first time and seeing the story in this form really helped me feel the story beyond words.

It’s work to stay constantly inspired to get the words down, a labor of love. The story itself, once it begins to take shape outside of my head, say at about 30,000 words, this is a sweet spot for me. There’s an ebb and flow to the creative process, and the writing itself, when it’s going well, is pure inspiration to me.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

#Blog Tour: The Golden Manuscripts by Evy Journey

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Clarissa Martinez, a biracial young woman, has lived in seven different countries by the time she turns twenty. She thinks it’s time to settle in a place she could call home. But where?

She joins a quest for the provenance of stolen illuminated manuscripts, a medieval art form that languished with the fifteenth century invention of the printing press. For her, these ancient manuscripts elicit cherished memories of children’s picture books her mother read to her, nourishing a passion for art.

Though immersed in art, she’s naïve about life. She’s disheartened and disillusioned by the machinations the quest reveals of an esoteric, sometimes unscrupulous art world. What compels individuals to steal artworks, and conquerors to plunder them from the vanquished? Why do collectors buy artworks for hundreds of millions of dollars? Who decides the value of an art piece and how?

And she wonders—will this quest reward her with a sense of belonging, a sense of home?

Author Bio:

Evy Journeywrites. Stories and blog posts. Novels that tend to cross genres. She’s also a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse.

Evy studied psychology (M.A., University of Hawaii; Ph.D. University of Illinois). So her fiction spins tales about nuanced characters dealing with contemporary life issues and problems. She believes in love and its many faces.

Her one ungranted wish: To live in Paris where art is everywhere and people have honed aimless roaming to an art form. She has visited and stayed a few months at a time.


How long have you been writing?

At least 50% of my time in previous jobs was devoted to writing proposals and reports. Before that, I wrote short stories for a school paper, term papers, a thesis, a dissertation. If you include those, then I’d say I’ve been writing a long time. As far as published fiction is concerned—twelve years.

What is your next project?

How about a novel on Edouard Manet (“father” of modern art, Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe) and Berthe Morisot, one of very few female Impressionist painters? Were they more than friends, or was he just a mentor/painter to her student/muse? She eventually married his brother. If I find enough intrigue in what’s been written about them, I’ll be sorely tempted.

What genre do you write and why?

The freedom self-publishing gives me is that I can mix genres—a little mystery, a little romance, women’s issues, family life—all in one novel. So I say I write literary because it can accommodate all those, and it lets you probe into the inner lives of characters. Lately, I’ve woven well-researched real events into my fiction that I hope would raise a question or two in readers’ minds.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

It’s still Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, which I read in 2015. I’ve read a number of good books since, including Doerr’s latest, but this to me is still tops.

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

My research taught me a lot; entertained me, too. Both are big pluses. The challenge was taking care not to get mired in facts that would bore readers and disrupt the flow of the narrative. I also wanted believable, relatable characters with issues of their own other than the search for who stole the manuscripts.

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Relatively easy, because I‘ve self-published, and there are plentiful beta readers and editors who help in the process.

Which authors inspired you to write?

Austen and Dostoevsky—writers from my youth whose books I’ve read several times.  Ms. Austen might be an obvious inspiration. Dostoevsky nurtures my characters’ existential angst, as well as mine.

What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

The chapter before the Epilogue was supposed to show the male character, in his POV, disclosing his feelings for Clarissa, and what happens  after she kisses him. More intimate and a bit sexy, it’s part emotional hook/part deeper characterization, but I decided it would distract from the story’s main themes and is out of sync with the story presentation. And why not leave something for the reader’s imagination? So, I excised it before I sent my draft to the editor.

Where do you write?

Usually, on a long window seat with a laptop on a lap tray. I can get a relaxing view while thinking through the scene I’m writing.

What is your writing schedule?

I tend to write in the dead of night. I’m a nocturnal animal who doesn’t get to bed until two a.m. when I’m working on a novel.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I have, but rarely. I’ve been wedded to a computer since grad school.

Favorite travel spot?

That’s easy: Paris.

Favorite dessert?


If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See; and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?

I was in an accident that killed three people. An oncoming drunk driver on Highway 12 (going to the Napa Valley) veered into our lane and struck the two cars in front of me. I stepped on my brakes as I watched the first car flip up in the air. Braking just in time, I still hit the second car, but only had fender damage. I got PTSD and had to go into therapy for a few weeks.

Any hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I do art—from portraits to still life in different media, though lately, I’m hooked on digital “painting.”

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

Writing, art, and music helped me survive being alone and lonely, at least during the early days of the pandemic when I had to isolate from everyone. Now, being alone doesn’t feel so bad.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Lupin, about a charismatic thief. This French series is a take-off on an early 1900s set of novels featuring Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief, written by Maurice LeBlanc. I’m waiting for the third season.

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

Not a song, but a particular classical piece: Krystian Zimerman’s rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2, maybe because it was one of my husband’s favorites, and I’ve played it countless times.

Tell us about your longest friendship.

My husband’s. We were good friends before we were lovers and continued to be, as partners in marriage.

Any encounters with celebrities?

I talked (kind of) to Francis Ford Coppola, dapper in a light brown linen suit, sitting by himself outside a café next to the short-stay apartment we were renting in Paris. I wrote about the encounter on my author website.

Teensy excerpts: “Polite in that guarded celebrity way, he doesn’t encourage much interaction, but doesn’t shrink from it, either.

Hero-worship shining in my eyes, I say, “I think you’re the best director America has seen in a while. I love your movies, especially Apocalypse Now.”

He smiles patiently, mumbles something nice and inconsequential. After a few more inane remarks, we realize we must leave him in peace so he can enjoy pretending he’s like everyone else who visits Paris.”

Website: https://evyjourney.net

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eveonalimb2/

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:

Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3zQUFT4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/123271846-the-golden-manuscripts

#Review: The Good Time Girls by KT Blakemore


Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Sycamore Creek Press

Genre: Historical Fiction/Western
Series: Wild-Willed Women of the West

A novel of wild women, the bonds of friendship, a harrowing road trip, and help found in the least likely places.

In 1905 Kansas, ex-dancehall girl and outlaw Ruby Calhoun has settled into a (mostly) quiet and (mostly) lawful life. But out of the blue her past comes hustling into town when her ex-friend and ex-dancehall partner, Pip, shows up with a grim message and dangerous mission: Cullen Wilder, an old enemy with a long memory, wants them dead and the only way to survive is to kill him first.

With Cullen’s henchman hot on their heels, Ruby and Pip hightail into the hinterlands of Kansas to save another friend from Cullen’s vengeance. Unprepared for the journey, their trip is filled with mishaps and mayhem, blunders and bounders, con artists and the circling noose of the law.

Through it all, Ruby is tormented by the memories of her life years ago in Arizona Territory, when the upstairs girls at the Paradise Saloon and Dancehall kept her safe, and the dreadful day when it all went wrong.

Will Ruby have the guts to face her turbulent past, or will she cut and run like a coward one more time?



“Magnificently written, Good Time Girls is a tough, gritty and often humorous wild ride of danger, death, narrow escapes and yes, love. K.T. Blakemore owns the time period as if she had lived through it, and the characters as if she knew them personally. Open up the book, but hang onto your hat.” – James Robert Daniels, bestselling author of The Comanche Kid

“The Good Time Girls is an expertly crafted tale of two women whose endearing friendship aids them in conquering their fears and the men who made them. Told in humorous, and sometimes touching, McMurtry-esque prose, this book will keep you entertained and glued to your chair far into the night. If you like bold women and stories of the West, you will love this literary adventure!” – Kari Bovee, award-winning author of the Annie Oakley Mystery Series and the Grace Michelle Mysteries


Ruby Calhoun is very unhappy and a little bit glad when her old friend Pip shows up in her cigar store. Until she learns why Pip is there, since they parted on terrible terms. Ruby has robbed, been beaten up, and gone to jail for her once good friend, and Pip has arrived needing her help once more.

So. Times were never all that good for Ruby and Pip, despite the title. Their reputation bestows the term “good time girls” on them, but there is a far deeper story in the making here for the dance hall girls, prostitutes, and friends. This is a very good Dickensian tale of the West at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. 

I especially love the chapter titles. The story unfolds in alternating chapters of the present and the past as the adventure steams along like a freight train. I found it hard to put down, also because the writing is clever, reminding me very much of the stubborn narrator in “True Grit.”

Highly recommended if you like Westerns, road trips, great voice, and female friendship stories. I’m very much looking forward to the sequel!

About the Author

K.T. Blakemore grew up in the west and never left. Her novel THE GOOD TIME GIRLS is the first in the Wild-Willed Women of the West Series, featuring women who take no prisoners and succeed through sheer grit, determination, and a parcel of luck.

She also writes award-winning historical suspense and young adult historical fiction under the pen name Kim Taylor Blakemore. Awards have included a Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, Tucson Festival of Book Literary Award, and a WILLA Award for Best YA Fiction.

Memberships include Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West.

She has hung her hat in California, Colorado, and currently the Pacific Northwest. The rain does not deter her research whether it be train timetables from 1905 or the best way to catch a loose horse.

K.T. also runs the Novelitics ranch, providing developmental editing, workshops, and a writing community for novelists.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 4
Guest Post at Author MK McClintock Blog

Thursday, April 6
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, April 7
Feature at Dive Into a Good Book

Tuesday, April 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, April 12
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, April 14
Feature at Cover Lover Book Reviews

Sunday, April 16
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, April 17
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 19
Review at Tammy Reads

Thursday, April 20
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Friday, April 21
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Monday, April 24
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Coffee and Ink