Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Round Up – 20th -26th February 2023 – Trips, Birthdays, Gifts, Big Band Era, Podcast, Book Reviews, Health and Funnies.

Thrilled to be part of Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Round Up – 20th -26th February 2023 this week. Wonderful to meet Sally at last. Trish and I were treated to a lovely lunch and enjoyed reminiscing – there was much laughter– Trips, Birthdays, Gifts, Big Band Era, Podcast, Book Reviews, Health and Funnies.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.

It has certainly been a busy week for us with parties and travel and a very special lunch with two exceptional authors and friends. The first photo is from my sister Diana’s 80th birthday lunch which was the third of the meals we enjoyed while we were in Portsmouth including on the Sunday at No 27, a fabulous restaurant.

Here is our extended family enjoying lunch and being together after four years apart.

The birthday cake that my sister Sonia organised and set alight with a sparkling 80...

The next celebration was meeting up with Judith Barrow and Alex Craigie for lunch in Cardigan in Wales.. so wonderful to finally meet Judith after 9 years and Alex who she introduced me to. Love their books and it is a long awaited meet up.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Dolphins and Winning by Sally Cronin

Not to be missed!!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Some more poetry and flash fiction from one of my collections.

Today dolphins hunt and play in the ocean and a young man discovers the true meaning of winning.


of sea dwellers
undulate with grace
synchronized skill to hunt
to herd their prey into shoals
with deadly force clicks and whistles
well practiced over millions of years
hunger needs sacrifice to be sated
with full bellies it is now time to play
oceanic clowns on hunt for fun
to frolic and gambol in waves
crests to surf and depths to dive
somersaults in the sun
a school of dolphins
classmates and kin
bound for life
in their

Free Tartan Track Athletics photo and picture

Winning by Sally Cronin

They heckled the last in the pack on the track as he struggled to keep up with the rest…

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Woman by Trish Power aka @AlexCraigie #poem #woman #wednesdaythought

Posted on 

As some of you may know, I hold creative writing workshops and I also tutored creative writing for the local council for many years before Covid came along. Tutoring adults can be  rewarding (discovering wonderful writers), chaotic (my lesson plans were rarely followed – someone inevitably took things off at a tangent) hilarious (the undiscovered comedian/ the completely unaware comedian) and thought-provoking (especially with memoir writing and poetry) I’ve kept promising to share some of their work. Here is a thoughtful piece of free verse poetry, written quite a few years ago, by the now very successful author, Alex Craigie. It’s one of my favourites., and, I feel, appropriate for these times.

In the beginning:


Is an


An off-cut

Of rib.



Has no


A chattel

Trapped in





Given by

Her father,

Pledges to


At the altar.



Drinks from the

Poisoned chalice

Of permissiveness.

Prude or slapper


Jack the lad.




Glass ceilings


Tables turning,





As a Woman

I cheer

The Rightings

Of abusive


The safety net



But as a Woman,


At the

Blurring between

Friendship and


A Woman



In touches,

Supportive hugs,


In a hand on



Who doesn’t

Bridle at

‘My lovely’ or


I want to be


Not detached.

Feel friendship

Without fear.

Keep predators

At bay.

Keep companionship


If Woman is


So are

Her problems.


© Trish Power

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back. When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved. Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Book lovers are welcome to contact her on

Link to Alex’s books:

Alex’s latest book…

Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Psychological #Thriller – Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie

One of my favourite books of the year, featured here on Sally’s Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022 

Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Delighted to share my review from February 2022 for the psychological thriller – Someone Close to Homeby Alex Craigie.

About the book

“The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should – beautiful characterization” Viga Boland – Author – No Tears For My Father

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Round up -13th – 19th February 2023 – Birthdays, Archive Posts, Big Band Era, Quincy Jones, Heart Health Online Dating, Foods ‘Q’ , Podcast, Book Reviews, Funnies

A belated congratulations to Sally ( for many reasons!!) on her Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Round up -13th – 19th February 2023

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord

I hope the week has treated you well. We where out to lunch on Monday to celebrate my 70th birthday and the treats spilled over to Valentine’s Day, even after 43 years still something we like to celebrate.

This week is my 2nd eldest sister Diana’s 80th birthday so cause for more celebrations in the family. The three of us are all in February, and my brother slipped into March. A busy time of year for parties.

It is also my blogging anniversary today and hard to believe that it is 11 years since I signed up with WordPress… time really does fly when you are having fun.

Apart from a lovely lunch on Monday I have also been out and about this week…with the lovely Robbie Cheadle talking about poetry, sharing one of my…

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Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New book on the shelves – Don’t Fade On Me (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 8) by Mary Anne Edwards

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Mary Anne Edwards – Don’t Fade On Me (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 8)

About the book

What does it feel like to die?

Chief Charlie McClung believes he’s dying. He’s lying on the ground—can’t breathe, move, or even speak, and his wife is begging God to let him live.

McClung is afraid to die because his wife will kill him if he does. Besides, he must find who wants him dead before they try again and succeed. Even worse, what if his wife and his officers are targets, too?

Can McClung recover enough to find the would-be killer, or will his wife be a widow for a second time?

If you like police procedurals, you’ll love this fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat mystery. Buy today and discover who wants Chief Charlie McClung dead and why.

“Don’t Fade On Me, the eighth book…

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – Friday Free For All! #Dreams by Jan Sikes

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

Today the second post from the archives of author Jan Sikes and in one of her series. Friday Free for All in November 2022, she explored the meaning of dreams.

Friday Free For All! #Dreams

Yesterday, myself and a couple of my Story Empire colleagues were talking about sleep patterns, then we got sidetracked talking about dreams.

What are dreams?

Dr. Derup, a behavioral sleep medicine expert, says this, “Dreams are mental imagery or activity that occur when you sleep.” That’s pretty simple. But to me, they are so much more.

Freud thought dreams were repressed content, ideas, or themes…

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Special Launch Feature – Anna Shenton

Patricia M Osborne

Congratulations to Anna Shenton on the publication of Maggie’s Secrets. I’m delighted to invite novelist Anna Shenton back to Patricia’s Pen. Anna joins me to share what inspired her to write this novel. Without further ado, it’s over to Anna.

Maggie’s Secrets

Anna Shenton

Hi, hello everyone, I’m delighted to be here on Patricia’s Pen once more. I know what a fab place she has created, welcoming her friends into this wonderful warm, comforting place. It’s a delight to be here. Huge thanks Patricia, for this fabulous opportunity.

Love the theme of inspiration for this blog slot, it leaves me with an array of things to talk about within Maggie’s Secrets, my new release for today, February14th, 2023, and more.

What inspired me to write a Family Romance Saga? I ask myself. Firstly, I wanted to go back in time to 1962 and what better place…

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#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview for Finding Verity by Jenny Loudon, Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction

Many thanks to Jenny Loudon for a digital copy of Finding Verity in return for an honest review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

I gave Finding Verity 4*

Book Description:

An unhappy woman. An unfinished romance. A sense that time is running out…

Verity Westwood is a successful London businesswoman whose husband is handsome but selfish. When Edward Farrell, a nomadic American journalist from her past, returns unexpectedly, she is swept by the irresistible desire to fulfil her dreams of working as an artist, like her famous father before her. After being caught in a storm on the Cote d’Azur, she vows to change her life.
What she does not foresee is the struggle involved, the ultimate price she will pay, and the powerful force of enduring love that changes everything.

My Review:

The premise of this story is a woman searching for her true self: for the person she left behind years ago, the girl who had dreams and hopes, but has instead found she has been subsumed by the selfishness of a husband, the thoughtlessness of her daughters, and the need for her to make money using the talents she has, but not in the way for which she yearns.

I found this book a difficult one to review. On the plus side there was much for me to enjoy about the story. It’s an interesting insight to a marriage long since settled into a pattern of sacrifice and barely hidden resentment by the middle-aged protagonist, Verity, and the indifference of her husband, Matt. Put into the mix one unforgotten friendship with Edward, an American journalist, who Verity met before she married Matt, and a purely coincidently meeting on a short break in Cote d’Azur, and there you have the plot. With all the intricacies of a relationship floundering, and the insertion of various disasters, the author has produced a very real feel to life that many women endure – have settled for.

 I liked the portrayal of Verity. The character is nicely rounded, the internal dialogue adding layers as she struggles to make sense of what is happening. The reader becomes increasingly aware of her emotional and mental fragility as the story progresses, and, for me, anyway,  more and more exasperated by Matt and his refusal to even acknowledge her needs. So, when Edward is back on the scene I found myself urging her to see what is under her now; a man who loves her. Until he also is shown to be struggling with his life, and a past that affects his ability to be truly honest with Verity.

All the above is a big plus; it’s an emotional read, one with which the reader can truly empathise. The author writes with a brilliant understanding of the human psyche, and I admired that. I really did.  

But then, for me, the descriptions of some of the settings stopped the story in its track. The narrative is mainly divided between London and the south of France, with a section given over to the Isle of Skye. The London scenes give a succinct and very real sense of place, and paralleled Verity’s internal dilemma. So far so good. But it was the descriptions of France and the Scottish isle that jarred.   Beautifully written, evoking such imagery that I don’t doubt that most readers would read and reread just for the pleasure of savouring the words. And I understood the need for the lengthy portrayals to give a sense of the scenery at times; they reflected the protagonist’s internal dialogue, the slow moving on of her future. But these scenes made me impatient, I wanted to get on with the story.

And I had the same problem with some sections of dialogue where I felt the same emotion, the same interaction between the characters, were repeated, but in a different way, it felt as though it dragged the scene along, the repetition  almost used as a filler to the action.

 I realise this obviously reveals the kind of reader I am. I like fast moving books, rather than introspective ones. So in no way does this review detract from what a good read Finding Verity is. It’s a purely personal and subjective opinion. And, despite these last points, I have no qualms in saying that this is a good story that epitomises the feelings that many women in mid-life, and will suit many readers

And I just need to say – I loved the cover!

Places in our Memories: With Patricia M Osborne #Memories #MondayBlogs

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m really pleased to welcome Patricia M Osborne, friend, author and poet and supporter of many writers, whose work she highlights every week.

When Judith asked me if I’d like to submit a blog about a place in my memory it was Bolton that instantly jumped out. I often wonder why my years as a child from the age of seven to ten were so impressionable. Maybe it was because we first arrived in Bolton after becoming homeless and were housed in a half-way house.

 It was January 1963, I was seven coming up to eight, and the snow was thick on the ground when my dad made me go to the shops with him so I’d know where to go in future. Freezing, I sobbed. I wanted to go home, but Dad told me off for whinging, saying he was cold too. The day afterwards I got sick and couldn’t keep food down for weeks other than a bowl of Oxo. Maybe that’s why I hate snow so much because it takes me back to being so poorly.

 Our two-up-two-down terraced house in Bamber Street, Daubhill, had a front room, a sitting room, a tiny scullery and two upstairs bedrooms. There was no bathroom, just a tin bath stored in the yard which Mum had to drag in, fill with hot buckets of water from the stove, and bath us in front of the fire. The toilet was at the bottom of the yard and I was terrified to go out there on my own in case there were any daleks.

 It was at this house my late sister, Heather, got carried out on a stretcher to hospital. We were like inseparable twins and after being left alone without a playmate for two whole weeks, I was jubilant when she returned home. We’d play upstairs in the cold bedroom for hours. She’d be John Steed banging a large umbrella on the wooden floorboards while I was Cathy Gale.

 I loved the museum in the town hall which also consisted of a library and aquarium. It’s still there. This was a place where Heather and I spent most of our time. If not choosing Milly-Molly-Mandy books in the library, we’d be exploring the mummies in the museum or hovering around the glass case of porcelain dolls. There was something about those dolls that made me yearn to own one while Heather found them spooky.

The tiny church school we attended consisted of only three classrooms. It was situated at the bottom of our cobbled street, and although only five minutes away, Heather and I managed to be late most days. A lot of the time was spent being taught the catechism, or learning subjects via the wireless such as the Monday morning singing lesson. Whenever I hear The Skye Boat Song it takes me back to those times.

 In the playground the older kids loved swinging me around because I was so light. It was in that same playground during out of school hours when a flasher exposed himself to Heather and I, but we were too frightened to tell Mum and Dad. And then there was the kind teacher who at the end of term offered me the three-foot Christmas tree from our classroom to take home because she knew we didn’t have one.

 My best friend, Susan Brown, lived over a wallpaper shop. Sometimes when I’m playing table tennis out on my patio, I experience a kind of déjà vu when I’m back in Bolton as an eight-year-old in my best friend’s backyard pushing her doll’s pram.

 On my ninth birthday party, the landlord, who was a taxi driver, turned up at the door. He grabbed my mum by the wrist and made her cry as he tried to pull her out of the house because he wanted it back for himself. It was only when Dad came home from work we were safe. My sisters and I used to lie in bed at night petrified at the sound of a car going by or when car lights shone over the ceiling in case it was the bad man back.

Daubhill holds a lot of memories for me, good and bad. Two years later we were housed in Tong Moor, a different area of Bolton, in a three-bedroom house with a bathroom and garden but still an outside loo. It was here that my youngest sister was born. But then that’s another set of memories.

 Thank you, Judith, for letting me share some of my memories.  

Thank you, Patricia for sharing. Your memories brought back many of my own, especially the outside loo, where my fear was the spiders!

And If ever you feel like coming back to tell us more of your memories you will be very welcome.😊

Photograph of the places that Patricia remembers can be found through the links below…

Picture of Bamber Street – Bottom right

Bolton Town Hall

About Patricia:

Born in Liverpool, she now lives in West Sussex.

In February 2019, she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing via the University of Brighton. She is a novelist, poet, and short story writer. When she’s not working on her own writing, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and acts as a mentor to fellow writers.

In 2017 she was a Poet in Residence at a local Victorian Park in Crawley and her poetry was exhibited throughout the park. In 2019 her poetry was on display at Crawley Museum.

Patricia has had numerous poems and short stories published in various literary magazines and anthologies.

Where to find Patricia M Osborne and details of all her books are here…
Amazon author Page:

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – The Waltz and Romantic Gestures by Sally Cronin

It’s not too often we hear Sally reading her prose and poetry ( she’s usually sharing everyone else’s words – but here. today we have Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – The Waltz and Romantic Gestures by Sally Cronin. Wonderful!!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Some more poetry and flash fiction from one of my collections.

Today, as Valentine’s Day is around the corner… a bit about love new and enduring.

The Waltz

to hold you in my arms
as we drift away in a waltz.
Such joy
as hearts beat in time to music
the notes a precious gift
and a prelude
to love.

Romantic Gestures.

For sixty years red roses, hearts and grand gestures had been his way of showing how much he loved her. Now as he sat beside her hospital bed he was at a loss. He desperately wanted to make her last moments as love filled as possible; but grand gestures were of no use now. She stirred and turned her head to look at him, attempting to speak. He leant closer to her and heard…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 6th – 12th February 2023 – Spring, Operation TBR, Big Band, Quincy Jones, Heart Health, Food for Romance, Bloggers, Book Reviews and Funnies

Another wonderful round up on Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine thia morning– Weekly Round Up 6th – 12th February 2023 – Spring, Operation TBR, Big Band, Quincy Jones, Heart Health, Food for Romance, Bloggers, Book Reviews and Funnies

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

This week there have been signs of spring in the garden and they were very welcome. Still some frosty mornings but this bit of colour makes all the difference.

I had not planned to be out and about this week but I received some lovely features from some very generous reviewers of my books. A huge thank you for making this a week to remember.  Phil Huston, Mark Bierman, Claire Fullerton, Smitha Vishwanath and Lauren Scott.

Just An Odd Job Girl reviewed by Phil Huston

Reviewed by Mark Bierman 5th February – Claire Fullerton February 5th – Smitha Vishwanath February 8th –   Lauren Scott 9th February – Joan Hall on Bookbub

Operation TBR….

Like so many of you, I have a towering TBR and with my February Amazon run adding another 6 books, I…

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Teaching – Every Child Deserves a Champion by Pete Springer

A brilliant edition to Sally’s Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 with Pete Springer

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

Retired teacher and author Pete Springer shares a thought provoking post on the what he considers the role of a teacher should be in a studen’ts life. He also takes us behind the scenes to look at the things an educator might do to ensure their students get the best start in their new classroom, and the non educational aspects of becoming a champion for all students.

Every Child Deserves a Champion by Pete Springer

Photo Credit to Pinterest

As I drive by my old school, a place I poured my heart and soul into for 31 years, I see all…

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Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #Thriller #Fantasy – The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2 by Dan Antion

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my review for Dan Antion and The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2

About the book

Zach Amstead has kept his ability to participate in lucid dreams a secret for over fifty years However, in the high-tech world of the 21st century, he has been discovered by an FBI Special Agent who has a corrupt agenda and who is willing to employ illegal tactics while working toward his goal.

Thomas Slocum gives Zach a choice – cooperate in an illegal operation or be treated as a terrorist. Slocum’s plan puts Zach on a collision course with organized crime leaders, a corrupt politician and brings innocent people into dangerous situations. Worse, the FBI process which allowed Slocum to uncover Zach’s abilities threatens to expose the abilities of his best friend, Billy.

My review for the book March 4th 2023

The first book Knuckleheads was a great…

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My Review of 6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holten #crime #thriller

An absolutely gripping new crime thriller of secrets and lies from the author of Dead Inside.

I was lucky enough to win  6 Ripley Avenue by Noelle Holton in a competition held by

Book Description:


Jeanette is the manager of a probation hostel that houses high risk offenders released on license.

At 3am one morning, she receives a call telling her a resident has been murdered.

Her whole team, along with the eight convicted murderers, are now all suspects in a crime no one saw committed…

Don’t miss the first nerve-shredding standalone thriller from Noelle Holten, author of the Maggie Jamieson series.

My Review:

6 Ripley Avenue is the first book I’ve read by Noelle Holten, but I’d heard enough of her brilliant books, and her skilful writing from other readers, to enter the competition run by @ScotlandYardCSI for this book, and I was thrilled to win.

I was thoroughly engrossed from the first page. It’s no spoiler to say it opens with the murder of one Danny Wells, a criminal on probation at the hostel, the main setting for this book, which is so evocatively described that the reader can envisage the characters moving around and outside the building.

This author is certainly talented, I loved her swiftly paced writing style, and the intriguing plot she has conjured up, that twists first one way and then the other to keep the reader guessing until the denouement. And her knowledge of the criminal justice system is exemplary. Something I knew nothing about and found fascinating.

The story is written from the points of view of four of the characters.  The murderer who speaks directly to the reader in an almost conversational manner, which becomes more sinister and intriguing as the story moves on. Then there is Jeanette, the overworked and dedicated Senior Probation Officer at the hostel, who is desperate to keep the place open, yet gradually begins to doubt the honesty and integrity of her staff. Her role, for much of the time, is to keep any information about the murder and all details of the residents at 6 Ripley Avenue from the young journalist, Sloane, a woman with an intriguing background who will go to any lengths to get her story. And then there is Helen, a widow in her late sixties, an unwilling neighbour to the hostel, who volunteers there, with the sole reason to infiltrate and discover anything she believes could close the place down. (And who, by the way, is the one character I found to be flawed in her portrayal – the way the author has written this character shows her as a much older woman: in both her spoken and internal dialogue, her habits, the way she moves, the way she lives. She becomes almost a caricature and, for me, this weakens her part in the story. This is my only criticism of the book, and no way detracts from the virtuosity of the plot – and is obviously my own opinion)

Despite this small negative observation, I found this to be a powerfully written thriller, woven throughout with subtle clues, suspense and danger. I loved it. And I have no qualms in recommending 6 Ripley Avenue to any reader who is a crime genre, addict.

And, as a last word, I like to say that I’d be delighted if there is another opportunity for the journalist, Sloane, to return to investigate and report on another crime in her own inimitable way. And, also by the way, for the reader to learn more about her background.

About the author:

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.

Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson. 6 Ripley Avenue is her first stand-alone crime thriller.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Subscribe to Newsletter:

Twitter: (@nholten40)


Blog FB page:

Instagram: @author_noelleholten


Bookbub Author page :

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