All posts by Melanie


It’s publication day for WHISPERS THROUGH TIME! Yay!

Here’s a look at the cover.



A historic Canadian property becomes the canvas for a tale that spans generations. In 1914, a tragedy unfolded, leaving scars that linger far beyond the passage of time.

In 1947, a visionary purchases the haunted remnants, seeking a new beginning for his family, but his young daughter senses a ghost from the far past.

In the present, urban explorers unlock the secrets of the past while running a web design company. Photographs and sketches capture the essence of the property, documenting the whispers of spirits from another era.

As the explorers navigate the abandoned corridors and forgotten chambers, the photographs unveil subtle anomalies until supernatural phenomena manifest that defy explanation.

Amidst the subtle changes in decor and the flickering candle flames frozen in time, the explorers find themselves entangled in a mystery transcending the boundaries of the living and the dead, forcing the urban explorers to confront the unresolved secrets that echo through the corridors of time.

Is a structure just that, or can it house remnants of horror, pain and sin? The urban explorers find they must confront the unresolved secrets that echo through the corridors of time.

Buy Link

You can buy WHISPERS THROUGH TIME from your favourite online bookstore at this link:  Books2Read.


The Perfect Couple by Jane McLoughlin

I’m happy to host Jane McLoughlin and her debut adult novel, The Perfect Couple, here on Celtic Connexions.

Perfect Couple

Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple Blurb

It was meant to be the perfect year abroad.

Rob assures me it will be an adventure for us: a year in England living in a gothic mansion. He has a new job and, as his wife, I’ll support him. It will be good for our marriage.

But as soon as we arrive at the house it starts.

The noises.

The voices.

Why can no one else hear anything?

The boy.

Why can no one else see him?

And now Rob is acting strangely. Distant. Dismissive. When I raise it he gets angry. He tells me it’s all in my head. But I can hear the bells in the woods. I can see the boy.

I make friends but I feel they know more than they tell me. Worst of all, they freeze when I tell them where I’m from. Who I am.

I feel myself unravelling. I’m not wrong. There is a secret here that everyone knows. Everyone except me.

This trip of a lifetime is turning into a perfect nightmare.

Book Links

Goodreads –
Buy Links –

My Review

Jacey and her husband (a University professor) relocated to the UK from America so he could teach in England for one year. The school owns the manor house they moved into, and visiting teachers make their home in it. Malin House is reputedly haunted.

Secrets and ties to Nana Ivy, who grew up in Cambridgeshire, and other strange things happen to Jacey. One recurring phenomenon is the vision of a little boy in summer clothes that only she can see. Who is he?

I enjoyed Jane McLoughlin’s writing style. I’m sure I’ll be looking for more of her books in the future.

About the Author

Perfect Couple

Jane McLoughlin was born and raised in the USA, but has spent most of her adult life in the UK. A former teacher, she has previously published novels for young people, which were nominated for various awards, including the Carnegie Award and the Branford Boase Prize. She has two grown up children, and lives in Brighton. The Perfect Couple is her debut novel for adults.





The Dress by Minnette Meador #bookblitz

Today, at Celtic Connexions, I’m featuring a new release from an author new to me, Minnette Meador. So, without any further ado, shall we check out this book?

Minnette Meador


THE DRESS, a comedy of oddities

an urban fantasy by Minnette Meador

Finnigan Harshmiere (Fin to her friends), was odd. Not in the normal sense of the word, but actually, truly, unbelievably odd. So when she is invited to her senior prom, her oddity not only gets her into trouble but creates a miracle she never saw coming. Comedy

“Finnigan Harshmiere (Fin to her friends), was odd. Not in the normal sense of the word, but actually, truly, unbelievably odd.

Dropped on her head as a baby by a stunned doctor, she came out of her mother quietly, with only a small yawn and blinking eyes to greet him. He smacked her twice to make sure, but all she did was scowl at him. Thus the dropping.

As she grew, “like a weed in the garden” as Grandmo used to say, the oddness grew as well.

She liked to stack her toys to play with them, and not just blocks; dolls, books, gizmos, gadgets, everything went into a perfectly straight tower with nary a crook or lean. Fin would spend hours as a child admiring her work and laughing and laughing.”

Buy Link


About the Author

Minnette Meador


Somewhere between thirty and dust…red hair, blue eyes…six kids, one slightly used husband, and any number of pets from time to time… wanttabe hippy… wanttheirmoney yuppie… pro musician and actress for 20 Years… native Oregonian… lover of music, beauty, and all things green. Willing slave to the venerable muse. Minnette currently resides in Lincoln City, Oregon with her husband, having replaced the children with two cats. The cats pretty much run the show. Her novels include:


Starsight, Volume I, II, epic fantasy, (Amazon)

The Centurion & The Queen, Book I in the Centurion Series, historical romance (Amazon)

The Edge of Honor, historical romance, Book II in the Centurion Series (Amazon)

The Gladiator Prince, historical romance, Book III in the Centurion Series (Amazon)

A Ghost of a Chance, paranormal romantic comedy, Book I in the Ghost Series (Amazon)

The Belle Stalker, urban fantasy thriller (Amazon)

Nogero, alternate universe fantasy (Amazon)

Phantom Hearts, paranormal romantic comedy, a Ghost Series Book

Writers’ Tips, Tricks, & Traumas, a book of writing tools (Amazon)

The Dress, a comedy of oddities, Novella (Amazon)

A Boy & His Wizards, a children’s read-aloud book as M.A. Smith (Amazon)


The Pirate Prince, historical romance, Book IV (Amazon) 2024

Arpeggios in the Dark, sci-fi 2024

Wy’East, Book II, Urban Fantasy Thriller 2024

Haunted Hearts, Book II in the Ghost Series, paranormal romantic comedy (Amazon) 2025

Starsight, The God Wars (prequel), epic fantasy – 2025

Starsight, The Restless Seed (sequel), epic fantasy – 2025


Val Penny brings us Hunter’s Christmas and other stories


I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour of short stories penned by Val Penny. New and old characters are found between the pages. The first story, Hunter’s Christmas, is a tie-in to her DI Hunter Crime Series.
Val Penny


Val Penny


DI Hunter Wilson is looking forward to spending a holiday in India with his girlfriend Dr Meera Sharma, away from the cold, wet winter of Edinburgh. He looks to share his happiness with others when he is attacked by Santa Claus, he says.

His team swing into action to catch his attackers but then receive information about an elf found dead in a car park and a car stolen by Mrs Claus.

Are the crimes by these Christmas characters connected?

Can Hunter’s team restore peace and good will to Christmas?

Hunter’s Christmas and Other Stories includes tales about DI Hunter Wilson and DS Jane Renwick along with those about new and different characters in this gripping collection of short stories especially for crime fiction readers.

My Review

I found this collection of short stories most entertaining. I admit I was partial to the stories with characters from Val’s DI Hunter Wilson series, and its spin-off series featuring Jane Renwick and Rachael.

I loved the tie-in with Hunter’s Christmas to the sixth book in the series, Hunter’s Rules. Not sure if that classifies as a spoiler or not, but you can read the short story without having read the book or vice versa with no compromise.

Entertaining shorts. Just what a body needs after the Christmas holidays.

Book Links

About Val Penny

Val Penny

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats.

She has a Llb from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer.

However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, The DI Hunter Wilson and Jane Renwick Thrillers, are published by SpellBound Books.

Author Links

Website –

Amazon Author Page –

Author Facebook Page –

Author Twitter Page –  @valeriepenny

Author Instagram Page –

Starting 2024 out on the right foot

I’m uber thrilled to say that not just one, but both of my books that I entered in the Author Shout 2024 Reader Ready Awards received a silver “Recommended” Read badge! How’s that for starting 2024 out on the right foot? Isn’t it pretty?

Starting 2024


It Happened at Percé Rock – Book 3 of my It Happened series…

Beaches meets Born on the 4th of July

Starting 2024

When Melissa Scott flees to the village of Percé, she’s determined to leave her painful memories behind her.

Gareth Young, a soldier with the Canadian Forces, never got over losing his friend in the war in Afghanistan. Nowadays, he’s happier in his own company than that of others, until she enters his life.

Despite her recent breakup and knowing rebound relationships don’t work, Melissa falls head over feet for the handsome military man, only to discover he comes with enough baggage to fill an army cargo plane.

Will the couple be able to work through their issues and achieve a happy ending together?

Should you wish to buy a copy of It Happened at Percé Rock, you can do so at this link:

It Happened at Percé Rock features Melissa, the youngest member of the Scott family.

It Happened at Lake Louise – Book 4 of my It Happened series

Only the Brave meets Fallen Angel

Starting 2024


A new name. A new look. A new identity. But is it enough?

Lori Brownlee, a victim of childhood sex abuse, has relocated to Calgary to try to put the sordid past and its unpleasant memories behind her. Although it’s been years, specific triggers bring the past roaring back.

Christopher Scott has also suffered a painful past. He currently works in the Oil Sands and, when he’s at work, entrusts the care of his Great Dane to his neighbour.

While Christopher is at work, the nightmare of the distant wildfires becomes a reality. During the mandatory evacuation on May 3, 2016, the dog runs away. With no time to spare searching for the animal, the family flees for their own safety.

Lori, an animal lover, spots the Great Dane on the news. She drops everything and rushes to Fort McMurray to rescue him.

She connects with Christopher Scott through social media, and they agree to meet near the Chateau Lake Louise so she can reunite him with his pet.

Can Christopher move beyond his pain and form a meaningful relationship with Lori? Will Lori’s past come back to haunt her?

The buy link for this book is at this link: books2read

It Happened at Lake Louise features Christopher, the eldest Scott sibling.

I’m definitely starting 2024 out on the right foot, and it hasn’t even arrived yet! I’m hoping that it’s a good omen.




Her Mother’s Daughter by Brian O’Rourke

I’m pleased to be part of the book tour for Her Mother’s Daughter by Brian O’Rourke.
mother's daughter




mother's daughter

Amanda writes dark fiction. Now one fan is bringing her work to life.

Amanda is enjoying her life – she’s a successful author who has finally managed to give up her day job.

But then an ex-colleague is murdered in an exact reenactment of a killing from one of Amanda’s books. Even worse, Amanda had publicly quarreled with the dead woman and now finds herself a person of interest to the police.

Then it happens a second time. Another person with whom Amanda had publicly fought is murdered. And again, the method used to kill is lifted straight from the pages of one of her books.

It’s clear that someone is out to get Amanda. But who? And why?

With the police seeing her as the prime suspect, Amanda is desperate to discover the person behind these grisly killings.

As she digs for the truth, Amanda is forced to look into her own family’s troubled past, where she uncovers a web of secrets and lies far more shocking than anything she has ever written…

Her Mother’s Daughter – the chilling psychological thriller from the best-selling author of The New Husband and The Only Son.

My Review

This book hooked me on page one and didn’t let go. Amanda, a crime novelist, has a painful past. Her mother has been running for years to avoid being captured and tried for murder. Now, people known to Amanda are being murdered and posed to match scenes in her crime novels. The murderer could be almost anyone. Her neighbour/best friend? Her fugitive mother? Her ex-boyfriend? The list of suspects is long, and the author kept me guessing right until he was ready to reveal who was behind these bizarre murders.

This is the first book I’ve read by Brian O’Rourke, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Book Links

Goodreads –

Buy Links –

About the Author

mother's daughter
Brian R. O’Rourke has been writing stories since he was eight years old. A lifelong, avid reader, Brian believes that fiction has the power to change the world. He enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, playing the violin, and golfing.

This is his third psychological thriller with Inkubator Books.

You can follow Brian on Instagram –

Vengeance is in her Heart by Cassius Cox #review

Today, I’m happy to be hosting Vengeance is in Her Heart by Cassius Cox.



As a girl Catherine Hart loses the person she loved most, her father. In his absence she is subjected to abuse of the worst kind.

In her late teens she finds the strength to fight back, to be the girl her father trained her to be.

As a woman she escapes her dark thoughts by caring for others, until once again life reminds her how disgustingly unfair it can be when her best friend is subjected to a devastating brutal attack.

Catherine’s choice is justice or revenge.

With vengeance in her heart, she reigns down terror and violence upon those she deems guilty.

But in doing so, has she denied herself any chance of being loved again?

Being loved is all she wanted, it’s what we all want…isn’t it?


Book Links


Buy Links:

My Review

Catherine, aka Cat, vows revenge on the men who attacked her friend, Hayley. It’s either justice or revenge, and she doesn’t put much faith in the justice system.>
Her father died when she was young, and after that, she was subjected to abuse. Still, in her late teens, she picks herself up and vows to be what her father trained her to be.

Cat is complicated. She has baggage and lots of it. She’s seeing a therapist to work through her problems and depression. Still, she works in a care home and enjoys her job working with the elderly.

Even the secondary characters, Bill and Betty, are great! They play off each other well.

The book was well-written and fast-paced. I likely would have finished it in one sitting, but ‘life’ happens and interrupted my reading.

About the Author


Born in Dorking, Surrey England.

I love stories, whether it be in film, book, or music. If it moves me emotionally, then I am sold. As a child I used books or films to escape reality, in fact I probably still do. My happy place is the cinema.

My favourite genre is psychological thriller, I prefer a story that is emotionally driven, the darker the better. But I am happy to be recommended a good book in any genre. My favourite work of fiction is One Day by David Nicholls and my favourite non-fiction is Stephen King’s On Writing.

I’ve suffered with depression since I was in my early teens, I’d rather not have it as it’s a daily battle to keep going, but when it comes to my writing I would say it’s a strength.

I am a huge sports fan. I love boxing, MMA and football. These days I am coaching kids football rather than playing. I love watching live sport, you might see me at the Meadowbank stadium watching my local team Dorking Wanderers, or at The London Stadium watching West Ham or even at Wembley watching England.

Favourite holiday destinations are Woolacombe in Devon, Centre Parcs, Florida, Vegas and Thailand.

I enjoy going jogging or going to the gym, but I also like a drink and a takeaway so the two probably count each other out. I’m far from perfect. Who is?

You can follow Cassius at these links:





Topaz by Richard Robinson ~ #review #SpellBoundBooks




It’s the summer of 1995. The US Peace Envoy, Fred Martinson, begins to broker a peace deal for Northern Ireland. The world holds its breath as the first tentative steps are taken. Jones, an 18-year-old from suburban England, has stumbled through education and yearns to be a football reporter. He is offered a place at Milton College, a former secretarial school with a clandestine partnership with GCHQ in seeking the communication stars of the future.

Before he knows it, Jones has been recruited, paired with Jenny Richmond, who is every bit his equal, and sent to Northern Ireland to undertake skills development and resilience testing with the Young Communicators Unit (YCU).Training becomes a matter of life and death when a group of trainee spies learning on the job are betrayed to their death, and their most promising member, Isadora Brown, is taken hostage. MI5 and YCU are sent a video of her reading demands by a mysterious organisation called Red Line.What if a group of young trainees were forced onto the frontline to deal with one of the most sensitive issues in UK history? What if political relations were so sensitive at the end of The Cold War, that only a group of deniable students could change history and keep super powers from ruining the first steps of a peace deal in Northern Ireland?It’s a race against the clock to find and free Isadora, and make sure the US peace talks aren’t sent up in flames.But who, exactly, is betraying who?


PROLOGUE THE SOUND OF RUPTURED METAL FROM THE PARKING BAY GAVE WAY TO a horrific explosion as the Fiat burst through the hydraulic doors and its fuel tank spectacularly detonated. The flames burst high into the rafters of the warehouse and the press and terrified MI5 agent sprinted to the back of the room. The double doors leading to the main room were then kicked open and standing there was a single gunman in a paramilitary balaclava. He held a pistol and in one shot killed the policeman, who was already prostrate on the “oor from the impact of the car explod‐ ing. The gunman then looked around the room, he stared over at the assembled media with his gun still raised and without blinking picked out the agent who took a shot to the head and immediately collapsed.

Topaz knew that they were safe behind the metal fence at the top of the viewing gallery. They needed to stay quiet and motionless but all three were still peering over the balcony, trans!xed on the scene. Jones was sure one of the journalists had noticed them but the horror of the unfolding situation had kept their attention away from the figures hidden in the rafters.“Where is he?” shouted the gunman, with a clear and unmistakable English accent. Topaz recognised the voice.




TopazEspionage isn’t my go-to for reading, but the premise of this book piqued my curiosity.
The unrest between Ireland and Northern Ireland has always been there, but add in some paramilitary groups, terrorists, and trainee spooks, and it turns into quite the melting pot.
The author has done an excellent job of tying these elements together. Fiction spun around actual events.
After reading this book by Richard Robinson, I’ll be watching for more books by him.



Richard lives in East Anglia with his wife and two daughters. He is a trained journalist and spent his early years freelancing or in agency positions across the UK, including a stint in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s. He then transferred to the third sector, working in charities focusing on issues as diverse as international development (in India and Bangladesh), air ambulance operations, music and the creative industries, mental health and homelessness. He also acted as Chief Executive of the Olympic Park charity during London 2012.

He is currently the CEO of Hourglass, the UK’s only charity focused on ending the abuse and neglect of older people, a job he applied for after a family experience of neglect.

Richard wrote his first novel in the early 2000s but this has yet to see the light of day. Instead, he started with a new idea in 2020 and Topaz was born. He has written two more in the Topaz Files series, Wild Flowers and The Mainstay, which are expected to be published in 2024. 

He is also happily in the dugout for Boxford Rovers F.C. on a Saturday, a committed cratedigger (vinyl collector) and can occasionally be seen in the stands at Loftus Road and Windsor Park.

The Day She Disappeared by Lisa Hall

I’m thrilled to share The Day She Disappeared by Lisa Hall with you today.

Lisa Hall

Lisa Hall


A remote island. A missing girl. A woman with a troubled past.

Becky is back on the tiny island where she was born, the island she swore she’d never return to.

Apart from her former best friend Megan, everyone makes it clear she isn’t wanted. The islanders have long memories. They haven’t forgotten the scandal. What Becky did.

Becky decides to leave as soon as she can. But first she must discover what happened to Violet.

Violet disappeared exactly a year ago, the day of the summer festival. Everyone assumes she ran off to the mainland with her boyfriend. Only her sister believes something more sinister happened to her.

Becky starts to ask questions — and becomes convinced that Violet never left the island. Someone in this remote, suspicious community knows exactly what happened to her. Someone who’s determined to keep the truth hidden — whatever it takes.

As Becky pieces the clues together, she is forced to confront the dark secrets of her own past. But has she got it tragically wrong . . . yet again?

And then another teenage girl goes missing . . .

My Review

I loved the premise of this book, so I jumped at the chance to read it. It started at a slow burn but built as the book progressed. The main character, Rebecca (Becky) Gannon, is a former resident of Kirton Island who left after a major scandal when she was eighteen, swearing never to return. Things change when she receives a message from her friend Megan telling her that her mother is dying.Becky returns to her former home to clear up the estate and to put her investigative powers to the test as she searches for a girl who went missing from the island. She hopes to find the girl and use her story as a chapter in her next true crime novel.There were some things that niggled at me. Why did Becky not want the police involved when her house was vandalized? If it were my home, I’d want the police involved. I had the perpetrator 99% figured out at about the halfway mark. Not that it ruined the story. I thought there was a lot of ‘fluff’ in the book’s second half that could have been left out without detriment to the storyline.Still, it was an enjoyable read and I’ll be watching for more books written by this talented author.

Book Links

Goodreads –

Buy Links –

About Lisa Hall

Lisa Hall

Lisa Hall is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers and the Hotel Hollywood time-slip murder mystery series. Her debut novel Between You and Me was a Kindle UK number one bestseller, sitting in the top spot for over four weeks. Lisa has a First Class Honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She lives in Kent with her husband and their three children.

You can follow Lisa at these links:





Emergency Drill by Chris Blackwater #review

I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Chris Blackwater’s novel, Emergency Drill.

Blurb for Emergency Drill

Shortlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award

Newly qualified offshore medic, Danny Verity, arrives on the Cuillin Alpha oil platform shortly before a storm damages the satellite system, severing the crew’s only mode of communication to the mainland.

Storm or sabotage?

Danny is forced to perform emergency surgery on an injured crewmate, whose accident he suspects was the result of sabotage. The man dies, a member of the crew disappears, and yet another is attacked.

Enter the Pied Piper, whose sinister announcements carry his threats through the entire platform.

While the North Sea rages around them, emotions and suspicions run high.

Danny knows he’s the only one who can stop the saboteur. But will the crew trust him?

With no way of calling in help and unable to risk escaping on the lifeboats, everyone aboard the oil platform is trapped. So is the killer… and Danny is determined to smoke him out.

emergency drill

My Review

emergencyI can’t imagine being on a North Sea oil rig at the best of times, let alone when the weather is foul, and you’ve lost contact with the mainland. Add in a murderer out there with you who is not only killing but sabotaging the systems, stir, and you’ve got Chris Blackwater’s novel Emergency Drill.
He brought together all the components of an unthinkable disaster and crafted a gripping read. The characters were well-rounded and likable. Danny Verity, the new medic onboard, tasks himself with saving the rig and his co-workers from disaster. Danny has his own baggage and is a great character, and I hope to see him in future books.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read.

Book Links

About the Author

emergency drill

Chris Blackwater is a writer and chartered engineer from Leeds, England. His first novel Emergency Drill, book 1 in the Danny Verity, PI series, set on a North Sea oil platform, was shortlisted for the 2020  CWA Debut Dagger Award. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including contributions to the much-missed Mad Scientist Journal.

Book two in the series, Dead Crude, is  set in Orkney. Apart from Danny Verity, it features other characters who survived Emergency Drill. He is  working on a third book in the series, called Head Hunting.

Chris began writing to entertain himself whilst working on offshore oil platforms and remote power stations. His career has taken him all over the world to unusual locations and introduced him to some remarkable characters. In recent years Chris has gradually drifted down to the south coast of England where he spends his spare time learning to sail and play the flute, though not at the same time.

Follow Chris at these links:





emergency drill