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Random Things Blog Tour – Book Review – A Moment on the Lips by J Taylor

“It is said that there are two types of people in this world: those who live to eat; and those who eat to live.”

Genre: Humour Fiction

Number of Pages: 336

Date of Publication: 4 November 2021

Publisher: Hecate

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A heart warming journey full of love, friendship and support.


By losing weight they gained each other.

From debut author J Taylor comes a laugh-out-loud, heartfelt story about friendship, self-acceptance and discovering how on earth one goes about losing an awful lot of weight…

Etta Wilson has vowed to make a change. At five foot three and a size twenty, she’s had enough. Honestly, this has absolutely nothing to do with seeing her ex, Robert Ward, strolling around town, smitten with a new slim girlfriend.

So, Etta’s chucked the calorific cakes, thrown the takeaway in the bin and committed to cardio. She’s got nothing to lose – well apart from a lot of weight – but how hard can that be?

Nearly impossible, it turns out. Etta soon realises she can’t do this alone. Thanks to her colleagues at the Elm Lodge Care Home, she won’t have to. With their help, will Etta reach her goals? Or does a moment on the lips really mean a lifetime on the hips?

Love, laughter, and lasting friendships are waiting for you with the A Moment on the Lips diet club… A perfect read for fans of Suzy Quinn, Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella, Nick Spalding and Kirsty Greenwood.

This hilarious read will brighten up a gloomy day and warm your heart this winter.


I wanted a light, chick lit read and when this one popped up on Random Things Tours I was thrilled to be given the chance to read it. It didn’t disappoint. It was a light, funny, comforting read and one that I will be recommending. 

The writing was excellent and held my interest throughout. There were many different techniques used which kept my interest and stopped the story from becoming stagnant. 

It was written from the point of view of the main character and every so often she would speak directly to you as the reader. This was an excellent way to really pull you in and make you feel involved with the story. 

In between Etta (the main character) narrating there were also WhatsApp messages and other character conversations. All of these things happened either around Etta or directly involved her so she was a fairly reliable narrator. 

The writing was humorous and light throughout, yet also managed to be profound and comforting at times. The last page of the book was particularly beautiful and I was left feeling very comforted.

What I also particularly enjoyed about the writing was the way that the characters spoke. One of the characters was Russian and so her conversation was written in broken English for example. In my opinion it added an extra layer to the story and made it more relatable. 

Every so often there would be a break in the story and we would focus on just Etta or just one or two characters. It was rarely everyone all at the same time so you didn’t get too overwhelmed with everyone’s story lines at any point. 

The book itself was split into 3 parts; starter, main and dessert then split into the different chapters. Some chapters were dated and had named places, whilst others just had a place or nothing at all. It was an interesting layout and one which gave it a good flow and pace. Chapters were often short, then very short, which helped with the pacing of the story and in turn keeping my interest. The chapters often ended on cliff hangers which encouraged me to carry on reading! If the chapter was slightly longer for any reason then it would be clearly split up. 

The characters were all excellent. Each one was slightly different, but all were relatable. What I loved most was the love and support they all had for each other. At the beginning of the book they were just work colleagues that didn’t really know each other, but by the end they were close friends that regarded each other as family. It was lovely to read. Throughout the book you got to know each character individually and watch how they all grew together as a group and consequently as individuals. The messages of friendship, love and support really shines throughout the book. 

Lastly the settings. There is a lovely mix of work, Etta’s beautiful home, her grandparent’s home, the other girls’ homes, the riding school, the hen do, the wedding, the list could go on. The settings were lightly described as it was the characters actions and conversations that we were focussed on. It was just enough to give us an idea of where they were and to give a good grounding as to what was happening with/to the characters. 

Overall I loved this book. It was such a lovely comforting read, full of messages of love and support. I shall certainly be recommending it!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

The Author

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Random Things Blog Tour – Book Review – The Mirror Game by Guy Gardner

“Lady Charlotte Carlise always took afternoon tea in Mayfair’s Cafe Boheme. She was currently sitting looking at a dead man.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 296

Date of Publication: 28 January 2022

Publisher: The BookGuild

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A fast paced story that kept me gripped from beginning to end.


London 1925.

When Adrian Harcourt, a politician and captain in the army believed dead with his company on the battlefield of Flanders, is sighted looking like he’s been living rough, Harry Lark, a war veteran and journalist, is enlisted by his friend and benefactor Lady Carlise to investigate.

As he becomes drawn further into the case and the deaths mount up, he can see that things don’t add up. Where has Adrian been for so many years? Why can’t he remember parts of his past?

Looking further into Adrian’s previous life, even as his own dark past and addiction to laudanum threatens to overwhelm him, Harry begins to fall for Lady Carlise’s beautiful daughter Freddy, who was also Adrian’s fiancé.

Chasing the leads as they continue to unravel, can Harry solve the mystery behind what really happened to Adrian before it’s too late?


I was taken in by the description of this book and was pleased when I managed to get a slot on the Random Things Blog Tour for it. I love a good mystery/thriller and the description certainly ticked all the boxes for me. There was also a bit of romance thrown in for good measure!

Once I started reading I was hooked. It opened with a quote from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which I thought was interesting. It wasn’t until I thought about it at the end that I understood why it was there!

The writing of the story itself was clear, simple and beautifully descriptive. It was set at a fast pace, yet nothing felt rushed. In fact there were times when it was deliberately slowed down to make sure that everything was taken into account. I loved it! 

The chapters were all fairly short, with some being only a few pages long. It was well balanced between the longer and shorter chapters, which helped to move the story on, yet at the same time made sure that you had all of the information. Despite the complicated nature of the story, I never felt lost or confused.

What I particularly enjoyed about each of the chapters was the beautiful description of things. They would often start with a description of the setting, before focusing on the characters and their conversations and/or actions. This technique allowed you to take stock and to appreciate where the characters were. Smells and sounds were often described, which allowed you to better immerse yourself in the story. 

The characters were well written and had many layers. I think that the time period that these characters lived in was a hard one and that came through in their conversations and actions. People were trying to find their ‘new normal’ after the War which was tough and life changing for many. People had lost loved ones and even if loved ones came back they were changed.  The main characters were testament to this.

The characters were completely believable and even though I had my suspicions, it was still hard to take in when the whole story came out at the end! It was an emotional read at times, with the War being in the recent past, the current violence still taking place, and all the emotional fallout that that brings, but it all came together at the end. 

Lastly the settings. They were beautifully described and they lightened the story when things were hard for the characters. There was a good balance between the description of the setting and the action that was to take place. You were drawn in to each chapter individually, but together it made for an interesting whole story. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it those who love historical fiction, mystery and romance. 

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

The Author

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – A Death In Custody by T S Clayton

“For Delroy, it began as just another deal – business as usual on Brixton’s Railton Road on a July afternoon in the late 1990’s.”

Genre: Thriller

Number of Pages: 432

Date of Publication: 2 November 2021

Publisher: Matador

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A neat, well written story that really opened my eyes.


“Brixton in the late 1990s. Delroy Brown, a young black man being held in police custody, dies in a confrontation in his cell with a police officer.

The officer claims to have acted in self-defence but fails to give a satisfactory explanation for being in the dead man’s cell.

Chief Inspector Elliott conducts an investigation into Delroy’s death, but his enquiries are obstructed by a lack of co-operation from police officers, the activities of a corrupt private investigator – and the legal system itself.

Alison French, a young journalist, Neeta Patel, Delroy’s family’s solicitor, and Ben Weekes, a black youth worker, join forces to try and find out the truth about Delroy’s death, but find themselves in growing danger, as they are drawn into a murky world of violent criminals and police informants.”


I was excited to read this book when it came up on Random Things Tours because it was a subject that I had never read about before. I love Murder Mysteries, but I have never read about the Police Force, and how the Law is enforced. It certainly opened my eyes as to what could potentially happen. 

The story was very detailed and each chapter was subsequently very long. It was neatly and clearly set out with each chapter having a heading to inform you what you would be reading about next. The book had a lovely flow to it and although there was a lot of detail it didn’t confuse me or hinder me from enjoying the story. It was quite emotional at times, with some heavy political issues. You weren’t quite sure how the story was going to end. What I particularly appreciated, however, was that everything was neatly tied up at the end. 

In order to make this story what it was, it was reliant on what the characters were doing and thinking rather than what they were saying. I found this particularly interesting as I have found that a lot of books I have read recently are based on character’s conversations which can be a bit of an unreliable narrative. There was nothing unreliable in the way this was written. It felt well researched and authentic (as it would do given the author’s background!).

Another thing that was quite interesting was the fact that when a character was to become a major player in the story, you were told their life story and what events had lead them up to what was happening now. It made you feel quite on edge because you weren’t sure what role this character was about to play. 

The characters themselves were excellent. They were well written and believable. I really felt for them and could see the story from both sides. I could feel the difficulties that the characters had with their place in the story. It was an emotional read at times!

Lastly the settings. The settings were limited as the story was really about the people. What description there was of the setting was just enough to give you an idea of where the characters were. Some places in the book were given more attention as that was required for the story, but it was mainly character based. I would like to point out here that this was not a problem at all as you are so engrossed in everything else that was going on that I think describing the settings more would have detracted from the story. 

Overall I enjoyed this book. Whilst it was slow paced and fairly heavy on the details, my interest didn’t waiver. I would recommend it to people who are interested in reading a story based on Law and Justice.

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

The Author

Q and A with Tim Clayton

  1. What inspired you to write the book?
  2. What research did you do as the book felt very authentic and well researched – was it part of your background?

“I did not have to do much research for the book, as I worked for the branch of the Crown Prosecution Service covering the Brixton area for much of the 1990s – first as a Crown Prosecutor and then as a Senior Crown Prosecutor.  During this time, I became concerned about the apparent inability of the legal system to hold the police to account for the deaths of prisoners who died in their custody and also about the way in which the racism in society found expression in the work of the police and in the operation of the criminal justice system, and it was these concerns which inspired me to write this book.”

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Sunday Post

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Happy Sunday! Welcome to my Sunday post hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It has been another busy week with me being on a Blog Tour, signing up for other Tours and trying to squeeze in some reading!

My Posts:

Goodreads Monday

Random Things Tours – Book Review – The Bomb Man by Andy Greenaway

Top Ten Tuesday!

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros

WWW Wednesday!

Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday

Twinning Challenge!

Time Travel Thursday

What Books Are Best To Read In Winter?

Thrifty Thursday

Bookish This Or That Challenge

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Publication Day! The Mirror Game by Guy Gardner

Friday Musings

Let’s Talk Bookish

Instagram/Bookstagram Achievement!

Books that I have been seeing all over Instagram this week…

4 Star Winter Reads Part 1 (December to January)

Weekend Reading – What are you reading this weekend?

What book should I read to my toddler? My toddler recommends…

Six For Sunday

Reading Habits Tag

Other Blogger’s Posts That I Have Enjoyed:

Bloggin’ ’bout books Top Ten Tuesday

Cindy’s Book Corner Top Ten Tuesday

My Book World 24Readathin

Pages UnboundTop 10 Romantic Novels in Classic Literature

Pages Unbound Let’s Talk Bookish

Frayed BooksLet’s Talk Bookish

Down The Rabbit HoleLet’s Talk Bookish

My plans for next week are to read my next Blog Tour book and to carry on with some of the books I got for Christmas! That pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller!

Hope you have had a good weekend and happy reading!

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Random Things Tours – Book Review – Turkish Delight by Barry Faulkner

“26 years ago. The Juvenile Court in the Southwark Crown Court building was in session.”

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Number of Pages: 345

Date of Publication: 5 March 2021

Publisher: BSA Publishing

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: So much seemed to happen in a short space of time. It was a gripping tale!


Ben Nevis gets a Contract to kill a lady client’s husband, then a few days later he receives another one from the husband asking him to kill his wife. Ben is very suspicious and ends up uncovering illegal international arms dealing!


I love a thriller and so when this came up on Random Things Blog Tour I was there! I haven’t read about arms and international dealings so this was a new and interesting storyline for me to read about.

This book was well written and made what is a complicated storyline involving politics and international dealings into a clear, understandable story for a novice of this type of genre like me. 

I was gripped from the beginning and liked the fact that so much seemed to happen in such a short space of time. From that respect it was well paced and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Firstly, the chapters were fairly short which meant that nothing lingered. There was just enough information to keep you engaged throughout. What I also particularly enjoyed was the level of detail. It was all there and yet somehow it didn’t overbear you. For example you were told what the characters were eating and yet it didn’t detract or slow down the telling of the story. 

I also liked the narrative of the story. It was told via the main character and at times he spoke directly to you as the reader. I have seen that before, but nothing quite as direct. I really enjoyed that and felt more immersed in the story. 

Next the characters. I loved them! I liked the introduction to Ben at the beginning and then how you were gradually introduced to Gold. It was clever in the way that her life was gradually told to you and then weaved in to meet up with Ben. Like Ben you felt safe when you knew she was in your life. She seemed to have everything sorted and to have every eventuality covered. Something which I really admired in her! Sometimes together their actions were a bit cold hearted, but you were so taken in by their way of thinking that you weren’t as horrified by their actions as you otherwise could have been.

Lastly the settings. I loved the political setting and travelling round Turkey, hitting the borders and traversing the international waters. It got a bit hairy at times, but I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked the descriptions of places and even though they were brief (because we were focussing on what Ben was doing at that particular moment in time) they were enough to create a good backdrop. 

Overall I loved this book and highly recommend it to fans of Thriller and Political genres. Definitely a 5 star plus from me!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

About the Author

An Amazon Best Selling Author of the DCS Palmer Detective books. Eight out, number nine coming soon.

Faulkner was born into a family of petty criminals in Herne Hill, South London, his father, uncle and elder brothers running with the notorious Richardson gang in the 60s-80s, and at this point we must point out that he did not follow in that family tradition although the characters he met and their escapades he witnessed have added a certain authenticity to his books. He attended the first ever comprehensive school in the UK, William Penn in Peckham and East Dulwich, where he attained no academic qualifications other than GCE ‘O’ level in Art and English and a Prefect’s badge (though some say he stole all three!)

His mother was a fashion model and had great theatrical aspirations for young Faulkner and pushed him into auditioning for the Morley Academy of Dramatic Art at the Elephant and Castle, where he was accepted but only lasted three months before being asked to leave as no visible talent had surfaced. Mind you, during his time at the Academy he was called to audition for the National Youth Theatre by Trevor Nunn – fifty years later, he’s still waiting for the call back!

His early writing career was as a copywriter with the major US advertising agency Erwin Wasey Ruthrauff & Ryan in Paddington during which time he got lucky with some light entertainment scripts sent to the BBC and Independent Television and became a script editor and writer on a freelance basis. He worked on most of the LE shows of the 1980-90s and as personal writer to Bob Monkhouse, Tom O’Connor and others. During that period, while living out of a suitcase in UK hotels for a lot of the time, he filled many notebooks with DCS Palmer case plots and in 2016 he finally found time to start putting them in order and into book form. Eight are finished and published so far, with number 9 at the editors.

Faulkner is a popular speaker and often to be found on Crime Panels at Literary Festivals which he embraces and supports wholeheartedly.

He has recently been seen on screen in the Channel 5 Narcos UK series, Episode 2 The London Gangs and his Palmer book ‘I’m With The Band’ has just been serialised in 16 parts by BBC Radio Bristol. He has been a subject of Corinium Radio’s Writer’s Room programme, Manchester FM’s Hannah Kate Book show, Hawkesbury Upton Lit. Festival ‘Best of British’ panel chairman, Evesham Festival of Words Crime Panel and Bristol Crime Fest Indie Author Panel amongst others.

Faulkner is a member of ALLI (Alliance of Independent Authors) and publishes a blog about the ‘geezers’ of his youth, the criminals and their heists. It goes in depth about the Krays, Brinks Mat, Hatton Garden ‘Nipper’ Read and all the other major heists and who ‘dun ‘em’. Take a look at geezers2016.wordpress.com

He also speaks about that era in illustrated talks for social clubs, WI and others.

As a crime writer Faulkner is quite particular about ‘getting it right’ and as well as his own Facebook page he publishes a page called ‘UK Crime Readers and Writers Page’ which has lots of information about the forensic crime detection methods, police procedurals and other facts of use to both reader and writer of crime and detective books.

Faulkner now lives in the glorious Forest of Dean with his wife and three dogs.


Justin Palmer started off on the beat as a London policeman in 1964 and is now Detective Chief Superintendent Palmer running the Serial Murder Squad from New Scotland Yard.

Not one to pull punches or give a hoot for political correctness if it hinders his inquiries Palmer has gone as far as he will go in the Met. and he knows it. Master of the one line put down and slave to his sciatica he can be as nasty or as nice as he likes.

The mid 1990’s was a time of re-awakening for Palmer as the Information Technology revolution turned forensic science, communication and information gathering skills upside down. Realising the value of this revolution to crime solving Palmer co-opted Detective Sergeant Gheeta Singh, a British Asian WPC onto his team. DS Singh has a degree in IT and was given the go ahead to update Palmer’s IT with all the computer hard and software she needed to do the job. Most of which she wrote herself and some of which is, shall we say, of a grey area when it comes to privacy laws and accessing certain restricted databases!

Together with their small team of officers and Claire, a civilian computer clerk nicknamed ‘JCB’ by the team because she keeps on digging for clues, they take on the serial killers of the UK.

On the personal front Palmer has been married to his ‘princess’, or Mrs P. as she is known to everybody for nearly thirty years . The romance blossomed after the young DC Palmer arrested most of her family who were a bunch of South London petty villains in the 1960’s. They have four children and eight grandchildren, a nice house in Dulwich and a faithful dog called Daisy who Palmer dotes on. They also have a neighbour called Benji who Palmer doesn’t dote on. Benji is a gay retired advertising executive in his late 50’s with a big pension and nothing to do with it except take Cruises round the world and top up his fake tan. He has also taken over the mantle of the local WI ladies favourite from Palmer since arriving in the area. Palmer is not happy about that.

Gheeta Singh lives alone in a fourth floor Barbican apartment having arrived on these shores as part of a refugee family fleeing from Idi Amin’s Uganda. Her father and brothers have built up a good computer parts supply company in which it was assumed Gheeta would take an active role on graduating from University. She had other ideas on this, and also on the arranged marriage her mother and aunts still try to coerce her into. Gheeta has two loves, police work and technology, and thanks to Palmer she has her dream job.

Combining the old ‘coppers nose’ and ‘gut feelings’ of Palmer with the modern IT skills of DS Singh the two make an unlikely but successful team.

The books have been described as ‘NCIS meets the Sweeney’ which seems to sum them up well. All the cases involve multiple killings and twist and turn through red herrings and hidden clues alike keeping the reader in suspense until the very end. All this is lightened by Palmer’s ‘no nonsense’ jibes and put-downs. The books are set in the current era.


With his father, elder siblings and uncle playing a part in that scene his is well versed to know the inside story and tells it with no holds barred.

His talk takes you through the early post war criminals who spurned the Krays and the Richardsons, the inter ‘firm’ warfare, the characters, the murders, who did what and why. The Brinks Mat heist through to the Hatton Garden robbery and the present day criminal families. Where is the missing gold from Brinks Mat, where is Lord Lucan, who shot John Palmer and why?

Faulkner’s talks are always laced with humour and light hearted.

                         CONTACT DETAILS

By email (preferred option as immediate response)
By Facebook (use message option)
Barry Faulkner
By twitter (only checked occasionally)
By Skype
Books On Amazon
blog geezers2016.wordpress.com

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Random Things Tour Blog Tour – Kill Me Goodbye by A K Reynolds

“My mind was focused on Sarina as I entered the alley, which is why it came as a shock to find I wasn’t alone when I unlocked my car.”

Genre: Thriller

Number of Pages: 232 pages

Date of Publication: 4 January 2022

Publisher: Dark Edge Press

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A dramatic story that had me gripped from beginning to end.


Jo Finnegan is attacked while leaving work one evening by criminals threatening her more harm if she does not provide them with information she doesn’t have.

When she gets home, Jo finds her sister dead in her front room, and her wife missing. When the police arrive and arrest her, while she is still in shock from the events of the night, Jo realises she’s been framed for her sister’s murder. But that’s only the beginning of her nightmare.


I saw this book come up on Random Things Tours and I had to put my name down for it. I am so glad that I did. I loved this book. It was full of drama, suspense and tension, basically everything you could possibly ask for in a mystery thriller. There was nothing I didn’t like about it. For me it was a 5 star plus rating!

I will start with the writing style. It was clear, concise and had an easy timeline to follow. I was gripped from the beginning and was willing for a happy ending after everything that Jo, the main character, had been through.

The chapters were short and occasionally labelled with the day. This meant that I was able to keep track of where I was and it also added a sense of realism to the tale. With the chapters being short it added to the suspense and I was desperate to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next to the main character! 

Whilst the chapters were short they still had just enough detail to give you a good picture of what was happening without being too overbearing, for example, we were told what the main character was eating and wearing and what her surroundings were, whilst all the time wondering whether or not she would get caught. 

Each chapter seemed to add more and more to the puzzle and you wondered what the end would be and whether the main character would actually make it! There were times when I thought the outcome wasn’t looking too good. Just as I was getting into the chapter it would suddenly end with a cliff hanger. 

Next the characters. They were amazing. You just didn’t know who to trust. At one point I was even questioning whether I could trust the main character! There were so many twists and turns that it kept me on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole way through. 

I enjoyed the fact that I was on a journey with the main character, Jo, and you got to see her thought processes. It allowed you to see why things were happening the way they were and even though I sometimes doubted her, I always got to see the reasoning behind what she was doing. 

Lastly the settings. I loved the attention to detail. You could really feel yourself in the characters’ world and could easily picture the storyline happening. I think that added to the tension and the sense of realism.  

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I would highly recommend to fans of mystery thrillers!

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

About The Author

A K Reynolds is the pen name used by husband and wife writing team Andy and Kath Reynolds.

Kath provides the ideas for their stories and writes the thought processes of their fictional characters. Andy does most of the plotting and writes the action scenes.

Kath has worked in a women’s refuge and latterly as a consultant; Andy is a former lawyer.

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Blog Tour Book Review – R&R Book Tours – Scattered Legacy Murder in Southern Italy by Marlene M Bell

Welcome to the book tour for Scattered Legacy by Marlene M. Bell! Read on for details and the fantastic giveaway at the end!

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Number of Pages: 352

Date of Publication: 4 November 2021

Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing

Rated: 4/5

My Review Summary: A detailed murder mystery that really made me feel like I was travelling to and from Italy!


To outsiders, the relationship between Manhattan antiquities assessor Annalisse Drury and sports car magnate Alec Zavos must look carefree and glamorous. In reality, it’s a love affair regularly punctuated by treasure hunting, action-packed adventure, and the occasional dead body.

When Alec schedules an overseas trip to show Annalisse his mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy, he squeezes in the high-stakes business of divesting his family’s international corporation. But things go terribly wrong as murder makes its familiar reappearance in their lives – and this time it’s Alec’s disgraced former CFO who’s the main suspect.

Accompanied by friend and detective Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father – linking him to embezzlement, extortion, and the dirty business of the Sicilian Mafia. The search for the truth

sends the trio straight into riddles, secrets, and an historic set of rosary beads. Annalisse leads Alec toward a discovery that is unthinkable, and events that will change their futures forever.

Scattered Legacy is the third in Marlene M. Bell’s thrilling Annalisse series, which weaves romance, crime, and historical mystery into addictive tales to instantly captivate fans of TV show Bones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.


“The reception area is completely empty, and there’s a smell like metal in damp dirt circulating overhead. Farther in, the ceiling fan is hovering on high speed, and the windows are open.

A dead body inside a warm office leaves an unmistakable odor behind, as did the body Ethan found inside the stall at Walker Farm. Decomp is one smell that sticks with you forever. Adding to the office creepiness, who chose the interior’s decor? We’re surrounded by limestone walls painted an ugly shade of ochre, slightly more yellow and definitely more unappealing than the building’s exterior. The rooms will need another coat of fresh paint to cover a harsh stench known to stick to the walls like cigarette tar does.

No one is nearby, not even the receptionist.

The office cubicles are silent but for a few flapping papers. Not a single desk phone is ringing. It’s like the office decided to have a fire drill midday, and the employees left their computers on and didn’t bother to close folders—open to anyone passing by. Frames holding pictures of sweethearts and children stand by as guardians for the people who are absent from their high-back swivel chairs.

Officer Raffa returns and mutters in heavy Italian brogue, “Il signore is waiting for his… avvocato difensore.” He points to the room with a closed door. “Come, Mr. Zavos. Your friends stay here.”

“Josh is in there waiting for his defense attorney. Back soon.” Alec touches my arm and looks at Bill, sending him a private message.

Alec’s led to a side office, and the solid door closes behind them.

“Is Alec signing autographs, or should I even worry about what’s going on in that room? Has Josh been here the entire time messing with evidence?” I ask Bill.

“Alec’s prepared for all contingencies. I’m surprised they haven’t taken Jennings down to the station by now.”

A few minutes later, Alec emerges by himself. “They weren’t going to allow us to talk to Josh, but I persuaded him. It shouldn’t be much longer.”

For what feels like an eternity, we sit in ladderback pine chairs with brown cushions while Alec keeps adjusting his watch. I don’t know what Alec had to promise the officer. Autographs are fine with me, but if he had to pay him off, I’d rather not know.

“I hope Brad is parked in the shade somewhere.” Alec looks at his watch for the eighth time in twenty minutes and turns to me. “Now that we’re here, they seem to be in no hurry to get rid of us. I’m sorry, Anna. Hold on a little longer.” His smile is an honest one full of regret.

I’ve heard the sentiment from him so often it doesn’t even register with my brain anymore. We both have a lot of work to do in the I-promise-to-do-better department.

The closed door at the back wall opens, and a guy pokes his head out, surveying the room. He’s fiftyish and, with his reading glasses, reminds me of Gen’s studious accountant.

Alec pivots, and his earlier smile vanishes.

“That’s Jennings,” Bill says quietly.

“Yes.” Alec waves to draw the man’s attention.

A confused Josh looks at us and then the floor as if he’s embarrassed. Eventually he settles his eyes on Alec. “I wasn’t sure you’d come. My attorney should be here soon. Come back to the conference room.”

Bill asks Alec, “Is it okay to go on ahead?”

Alec must have compensated the officer well to allow us entry this close to the crime scene.

“Let’s get this over with.” Alec seems queasy.

The three of us move through the aisle between desks and toward the room with a door left open for us. Josh has already gone inside. For someone who wants Alec’s help, he sure doesn’t appear happy or grateful for his effort. A huge effort. This had better not be Josh’s way of buying himself out of the woman’s death. The disgrace of being fired from Signorile after Pearce’s tragedy has to hurt his pride.

There’s news of a deadly virus moving through Europe, and the typical handshake is no longer being used between business execs.

Bill lifts his arm and catches himself. “Mr. Jennings? My name is Bill Drake, an associate of Mr. Zavos. You’ve asked to see him, and we also have some questions for you on another matter.”

“Wonderful.” The man in a sweaty, slept-in polo isn’t thrilled with us staring him down. There’s frost in the room as testosterone flies between glances. No one wants to be the first to break the sheet of ice forming around the presumed blue-eyed killer. Alec hasn’t made any assumptions yet until we talk to him, but Josh’s cool facade feels calculated to me. A superior to Alec, or something like that. For an innocent, I don’t like his peculiar behavior in the presence of a man who’s here to keep his neck from a noose.

“I asked to see Alec. Who are the rest of you?”

He’s behind a chair, using it as a shield to save himself from a CEO who wants to take his livelihood from him again. Or is it because he’s guilty of ending a woman’s life?

Alec pulls out the chair for me, and we all sit at the long conference table with a fancy letter F embellished in the center.

Josh’s temples bead with sweat, and he’s wringing his hands next to a wool felt fedora hat with a band. They seem to be popular in Italy. The guy’s bloodshot eyes and dark circles are sure signs of insomnia and stressing to the max. Wet ovals hang beneath the armpits of his beige shirt.

Alec’s unshakable gaze lands on Jennings, who abruptly turns away.

This meeting isn’t opening well.

Bill addresses Josh. “We don’t have a lot of time. Authorities aren’t thrilled with us questioning you, but they were… let’s say, swayed. Tell us what happened here?”

“She was tied and tortured in my office after I left night before last. I opened the building in the morning at seven and found her lying on her side, strapped to a chair and wrapped in wire near my desk. Lots of blood.” Josh holds a paper towel over his mouth, then uses it to wipe away perspiration. “When I left the building, she was in the conference room. I have no idea how she ended up in the office. Maybe the cat went in there.” He slides the fedora into his lap.

“Who is she?” Alec asks.

“Benita Alvarez.””


I saw this on R&R Book Tours and had to put my name down for it! I love a murder mystery and when I saw that it was for fans of the Da Vinci Code I was sold!

Whilst I did enjoy it, it wasn’t quite as standalone as I thought it would be. There were a lot of references to previous books that I didn’t think necessarily added to the story. Despite the references to previous books, the style of writing was clear and I was able to keep up with what was happening in the book. The detail was excellent and really took me into the characters’ world. 

The story was split into fairly long chapters which meant that you weren’t flipping from place to place or person to person too much. Each chapter slowly built up the story by pulling in different bits of information and eventually tying them together.

My interest was kept by the balance of being given just enough information to keep you going, yet still leaving little bits for you to follow. As the reader you were privileged to know little titbits of information before the characters, but without giving the game away too early.  

I loved the characters themselves. Whilst they were clearly well off, they still seemed grounded and personable. I actually felt sorry for them having to live their lives looking over their shoulders! They all obviously have back stories that we only lightly touch upon in this book and that added to the suspense and the mistrust. The historical fiction aspect of this book was cleverly woven in to one of the main character’s back story and that added a sense of realism.

I thought that the way that the characters handled themselves in certain situations was very descriptive and obviously a lot of thought and research had gone into this. An example of this being the surveillance technique Bill used to gather the information he needed as well as some of the situations that Annalise found herself in.

Lastly I have to mention the settings. I loved them! Who wouldn’t want to be transported to Italy? The descriptions were brilliant and it was the little details brought the whole thing to life. One particular example of this was the description of a thirsty plant in the corner of a room. In addition smells were also described (and not always pleasant ones!). Sometimes books just concentrate on the characters and rely on their conversations to bring the story to life, but this book takes you on a sensory journey! 

Overall an enjoyable read and one that I would recommend to people who like historical fiction and mystery.

⭐Rated 4/5⭐

About the Author

“Mystery at a killing pace”

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and sheep breeder who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines.

The third book in the Annalisse Series releases in 2021. Scattered Legacy is an international mystery with light touches of romance. Stolen Obsession and Spent Identity, books one and two, received numerous awards including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery in 2020. Her mysteries can be found at marlenembell.com.

Marlene also writes children’s books. Her first children’s picture book, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! is based on true events with Natalie from the Bell’s ranch. It’s a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Mia and Nattie is honored to be a Mom’s Choice Gold Award winner.

Marlene shares her life with her husband and a few dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.

How the Annalisse Mystery Series Came About

During my teenage years, a set of historical romance novels transported me to a time hundreds of years ago. I read a long series by husband and wife team, Serge and Anne Golon. They wrote the Angelique Series in 1959 through the 1960s as a duo, referring to themselves as a single writer, Sergeanne Golon. Their work fascinated me. King Louis XIV, his queens and dastardly villains were woven in and out of their books that took place during 17th century France and England. I have no idea if any of their stories were based upon actual events or completely fictional, but the eight-year-old Baron’s daughter, Angelique, left quite an impression on my young mind. Her dangerous romps through womanhood over numerous books were hard to leave behind. I’ve never forgotten her.

I dabbled with writing my first work of non-fiction in 2007 and published Among the Sheep (no longer in print) in 2009, based on my story— raising sheep. I loved that writing experience, even in a book riddled with newbie mistakes. So much so, that I decided to jump into fiction as my next adventure. A crazy, insane adventure to be sure!

When I began to think about writing my own novel, the main character had to have a memorable first name. I settled on Annalisse easily. Eerily similar to my favorite heroine in those books from my teens. Naming her was the easy part. Writing fiction is far more difficult than anything in my imagination. Who Annalisse was, her job and circumstances changed over many manuscripts.

The first book in my Annalisse Series, Stolen Obsession, went through eight drafts and took ten long years to complete. Along the way, I learned the craft of writing fiction with the help of online classes, agent tutorials, and reading tons of books. Not only craft books on the subject of writing, but I made it a rule to read at least one new book by another author each week. Reading improves a writer’s style.

Spent Identity, and Scattered Legacy Annalisse book two and three— each took six months to write and another six to edit and publish. Writing modern-day Annalisse Drury mysteries flow more easily, thanks to an awesome fictional character born in 1640.

Marlene M. Bell | Facebook | Twitter

Book Tour Schedule

December 20th

R&R Book Tours (Spotlight) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Books, Rambling, and Tea (Spotlight) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

@librarybookmum_budgettales (Review) https://www.instagram.com/librarybookmum_budgettales/

Bunny’s Book Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

December 21st

Carrie’s Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://carriesbookreviews.com/

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

@books_inthecity (Review) https://www.instagram.com/books_inthecity/

December 22nd

Gina Rae Mitchell (Spotlight) https://ginaraemitchell.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

December 23rd

@louturnspages (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/louturnspages/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

@efatuatedreadings (Review) https://www.instagram.com/efatuatedreadings/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

December 24th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Lisa’s Everyday Reads (Spotlight) https://lisaevrydayread.wordpress.com/

@lisaeverydaylife (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/lisaeverydaylife/

Giveaway US Only:

A Signed Copy of Scattered Legacy – The Annalisse Series

Annalisse Series Flashlight (red)

Biking in Tuscany Wooden Puzzle

Tessilechiti Italian Designer Throw Blanket (51×67 inches) Made in Italy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour Organised By:

#bookstagram #instabook #bookphotography #igbooks #ilovereading #bookhaul #bookhoarder #bookaddiction #bookstoread #whattoread #fortheloveofbooks #bookblogging #bookpics #weekendreads #bookrecs #booknerdproblems #bookpictures #bookstagram #amreading #booksbooksbooks #instablog #booknerds #bookphotos #bibliophile #rrbooktours

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”,”recommended”, “easy read”, “don’t miss out”, “christmas”,”mystery”, “romance, “reading slump”, “what should I read next”, “what book do you recommend”, “R&R Book Tours”

WWW Wednesday!

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It’s W W W Wednesday! Hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, here are my 3 Ws (Currently Reading, Just Finished Reading and Future Reading):

What am I currently reading?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is legacy-murder-in-southern-italy.jpg

Scattered Legacy Murder in Southern Italy by Marlene M Bell

My Blog Tour Book for 20 December

Book Description From Goodreads:

“To outsiders, the relationship between Manhattan antiquities assessor Annalisse Drury and sports car magnate Alec Zavos must look carefree and glamorous. In reality, it’s a love affair regularly punctuated by treasure hunting, action-packed adventure, and the occasional dead body.

When Alec schedules an overseas trip to show Annalisse his mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy, he squeezes in the high-stakes business of divesting his family’s international corporation. But things go terribly wrong as murder makes its familiar reappearance in their lives – and this time it’s Alec’s disgraced former CFO who’s the main suspect.

Accompanied by friend and detective Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father – linking him to embezzlement, extortion, and the dirty business of the Sicilian Mafia. The search for the truth sends the trio straight into riddles, secrets, and an historic set of rosary beads. Annalisse leads Alec toward a discovery that is unthinkable, and events that will change their futures forever.

Scattered Legacy is the third in Marlene M. Bell’s thrilling Annalisse series, which weaves romance, crime, and historical mystery into addictive tales to instantly captivate fans of TV show Bones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Book Description From Goodreads:

A classic mystery for the festive season: mulled wine, mince pies…and murder.

Mordecai Tremaine, former tobacconist and perennial lover of romance novels, has been invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame.

Arriving on Christmas Eve, he finds that the revelries are in full flow – but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests.

Midnight strikes and the party-goers discover that it’s not just presents nestling under the tree…there’s a dead body too. A dead body that bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas.

With the snow falling and the suspicions flying, it’s up to Mordecai to sniff out the culprit – and prevent someone else from getting murder for Christmas.”

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Book Description From Goodreads:

“Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…”

What have I finished reading?

Blog Tour Book Review – R&R Book Tours – Last Blue Christmas by Rose Prendeville – Available 1 December 2021

Book Review – Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

Book Review – Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley

Book Review – The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop by Caroline Roberts

What am I going to read next?

Kill Me Goodbye by A K Reynolds

Blog Tour 10 January 2022

Book Description From Goodreads:

“Jo Finnegan is attacked while leaving work one evening by criminals threatening her more harm if she does not provide them with information she doesn’t have.

When she gets home, Jo finds her sister dead in her front room, and her wife missing. When the police arrive and arrest her, while she is still in shock from the events of the night, Jo realises she’s been framed for her sister’s murder. But that’s only the beginning of her nightmare.”

What are you reading?

#wwwwednesday #readingchallenge #currentlyreading #bookstagram #bibliophile #igreads #currentlyreading #bookreview #instaread #lovetoread #booksarelife #readingisfundamental #whatimreading #bookreviewer #bookaddicts #bookpost #tbrpile #justread #bookishphotography #whattoreadnext #readallday #bookworms #booksofinstagram #bookwormproblems #bookaholic #bookpic #newreads #booknerd

“book”, “read”, “book blog”, “easy read”, “don’t miss out”, “fiction”, “fantasy”, “currently reading”, “entertaining”, “what should I read next”, “reading slump”, “christmas books”

Blog Tour Book Review – The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee – Available November 2021

Genre: Fantasy Thriller

Number of Pages: 268

Date of Publication: November 2021

Publisher: Inspired Quill

Rated: 5/5

My Review Summary: A gripping Christmas read which is full of suspense.


A long-dead child.An artist who paints the fae.An ancient estate on a blood-filled land.
The commission was close to Amelia’s dream: a cosy cottage in Donegal over Christmas and the chance to paint the beautiful Glenveagh estate. But when the weather closes in and the country shuts down, a ritual begins – one that traps Amelia in its circles of magic.

Stranded in a place where iron is power, her heart can no longer be trusted and the land itself is a weapon, Amelia’s survival depends on unravelling the truth of a decades-old death. Even if it draws the same ancient danger to herself.


I loved this book. I was after something Christmassy to read, but not the typical romance/see the error of your ways type storyline, and this book popped up on Random Things Tours as a December Tour. I jumped at the chance to read it and I am glad that I did.

The writing had me gripped right from the start. It was easy to read and pulled me in straight away. It was quite a scary read at times, full of suspense and with cliff hangers at the end of every chapter!

The chapters interestingly had titles which gave you an idea of what the next part of the story was going to entail.  I think that this added to the suspense and the tension as whilst you were forewarned, you still didn’t quite know where the chapter was going to take you!

Each chapter was short and focussed on either an individual character or a couple of characters to get their view on what was happening to them in that moment. It was an excellent way to gradually piece together the story, whilst creating the little cliff hangers which eventually all came together at the end of the book. It made you want to keep reading and I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next! 

I liked the characters and the way that you couldn’t quite trust any of them. At some points during the book you were on their side then something happened to make you question them! All of them had their own secrets, which as they gradually unfolded you weren’t sure who to trust. At the end of the book I was still left puzzled over Robert and his true intentions. 

The settings in this book were brilliant, Christmassy and scary all at the same time. I loved the way that the weather echoed what was going on and really added to the fear that the characters (and subsequently you as the reader) felt! What was also clever was that the settings were only lightly described, and it was actually the conversation and actions of the characters in that setting that truly immersed you and really brought the story to life.

At the end of the story was an epilogue so you got to have a sneak peek into what their future held. I sometimes feel that a story isn’t quite finished without one so this was a nice bonus to end the story on.

Overall I loved the suspense, the characters, the settings and the way that it was written. I highly recommend reading this book especially if you are a fan of fantasy and thriller.

⭐Rated 5/5⭐

#bookstagram #bibliophile #igreads #currentlyreading #bookreview #instaread #lovetoread #booksarelife #readingisfundamental #whatimreading #bookreviewer #bookaddicts #bookpost #tbrpile #justread #bookishphotography #whattoreadnext #readallday #bookworms #booksofinstagram #bookwormproblems #bookaholic #bookpic #newreads #booknerd #blogtour #randomthingsbooktours #thewildesthunt #jozebadee

“book”, “read”, “book review”, “book blog”,”recommended”, “easy read”, “don’t miss out”, “christmas”,”thriller”, “fantasy”, “reading slump”, “what should I read next”, “what book do you recommend”

Blog Tour 7 December – The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

#bookstagram #bibliophile #igreads #currentlyreading #bookreview #instaread #lovetoread #booksarelife #readingisfundamental #whatimreading #bookreviewer #bookaddicts #bookpost #tbrpile #justread #bookishphotography #whattoreadnext #readallday #bookworms #booksofinstagram #bookwormproblems #bookaholic #bookpic #newreads #booknerd #blogtour #randomthingstours #christmas #thewildesthunt #jozebedee

“book”, “read”,”book blog”, “recommended”, “easy read”, “don’t miss out”, “fiction”, “reading slump” “entertaining”, “what should I read next”