#Throwback Thursday: Poggibonsi by DanAlatorre@savvystories

#Throwback Thursday, such a brilliant way to revisit your favourites!

Poggibonsi, an Italian misadventure…

 

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When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary.

And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.
Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.
While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young
Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

 

Our Review

I have always loved the idea of Italy, and intend to go there one of these days, so this romantic comedy really appealed to me, and from the very first page, I was laughing.

The writing style, wit and humour sparkles like champagne, and although you can guess what the protagonist Mike Torrino will get up to, the effervescent way he stumbles through life is hilarious.

This story is all about relationships and love, all the different kinds of love, including a hilarious depiction of extra-marital sex. But Poggibonsi is a beautifully written romance too. It has the classic ‘lost everything’ scenario, but the emotions are real. The cast of characters could be people you have known for years, and I laughed a lot and cried in equal measure but cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book so much.

The scene in the restaurant between Mattie (the wife) and Sam, the woman Mike works with, literally brought the house down and was promptly outdone by Mike’s conversation with the priest.

Poggibonsi, (yes, it really is a place in Italy, a small Tuscan hamlet in Chianti) should be made into a film, it would break box office records!

 

About the Author

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

 

 

#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

or

(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people of small-town America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination really, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

You have not written another story like these two, will you?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

 Well, that wasn’t too grueling, was it?

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Our 5* Review for Double Blind by Dan Alatorre#FastPacedMurderMystery @savvystories

Two detectives hunt a serial killer. The killer is hunting them.

 

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A lone trucker is ambushed, shot, and brutally stabbed. A tourist meets the same fate while out for a jog. Facing two crime scenes that could have come from a horror movie, Detectives Carly Sanderson and Sergio Martin search for the crazed serial killer.

Five more attacks happen in a week, launching the entire city into a panic and causing the mayor to throw all of the city’s resources into stopping the rampage. But while the detectives work around the clock, they don’t know the killer has upped the game—by making them his next targets.

 

Our Review

At first, the killings seem random, just the actions of a deranged mind.

I found the descriptive powers of the author, combined with the smell of blood quite stomach churning as I searched for clues. I knew it would be a bit gruesome going in, but wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity of the murder scenes. The author has a very powerful imagination!

I loved the easy relationship between the two main characters, detectives Carly and Sergio. A most unusual pair, but real people, warts and all!

The casual dropping into the story half way through of a major clue as to the killer’s identity almost ruined the story for me, but it was cleverly done and hard to spot.

If I have one criticism about this book, it has to be about the killer. I can normally empathise or sometimes even admire most killers. I mean, they are usually damaged in some way, driving them to murder. Try as I might, I could find no redeeming feature in this man.

Here’s hoping the sequel finds Carly and Sergio with a far more interesting antagonist…

 

Excerpt

The wind gusted, sending the trash into the street in a tiny tornado. Lifting and dropping a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper, the little vortex danced and raged; then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. The pieces of trash twitched and were still. The chill in the air remained, though. That wasn’t going anywhere tonight.

He glanced down the street. In the darkness, a shadow moved. Sergio held his breath. Opposite side of the street. The motion indicated walking. Tall. Probably a male.

This is our pedestrian.

Moving his gaze back to the sidewalk before anyone could tell him to, Sergio watched the stranger while keeping his face pointed at the ground. The man walked with his hands in the front pockets of his hoodie. The stride was long but not fast. The pedestrian seemed to intentionally sway his shoulders, as if he was walking up a steep hill.

When he’s closer, let him see you see him, then immediately look away. Head down, submissive.

The stranger kept coming. Sergio kept walking, his heart pounding.

What if this is our guy?

If it’s our guy, he will approach you. Keep walking. Casual.

The stranger got closer. He was larger than Sergio had originally estimated. Thicker, and taller.

Maybe six foot two, maybe a little more.

Eyes down. Don’t act like a cop.

He’d have to be big to do all that stabbing, to overcome a big guy like Leo.

But he used a gun to help.

Sergio glanced at the hands in the hoodie pockets. Could that conceal a .38? The man looked Sergio’s way.

Eyes down!

He didn’t think eye contact was made, but if the man had seen Sergio looking, maybe that was the time to walk faster.

Maybe we’ll speed up a little anyway.

On opposite sides of the street, the two men neared each other. Forty feet away, then thirty.

Sergio’s head was humming. This is how he did the jogger. Right on the street. A shot to the chest and then he started stabbing.

The bulletproof vest will protect you from both for a while. Long enough for the teams to get here…

Sergio forced himself to take a long, slow breath and walk slower without appearing to be trying. Sweat gathered on his forehead.

The man had heavy movements, a clumping kind of stride like someone might do when they were wearing new construction boots that don’t quite fit. The stranger stayed on one side of the street; Sergio stayed on the other. The sidewalk turned to gravel and then to mud. Sergio stepped around a big puddle and into the street.

“Hey, bro.”

The stranger’s voice cut the quiet night like a knife. Sergio didn’t look up. He kept his head down and kept walking.

“I got fives and tens, my man. If you lookin’ to party.”

Drug talk. Could be a street seller and nothing more. And if the killer was watching, what would he expect Sergio to do? Or if it’s the killer, what would work best?

Sergio halted.

The sergeant was loud in his ear. “Do not engage, Walking Boss. If it’s our guy he’s not trying to sell you drugs. Keep walking.”

Sergio did not move.

“Walking Boss, do you copy? Please respond.”

Sergio turned toward the stranger, keeping his head low and peering upward. He took a step toward the big man.

“Walking Boss, we are not receiving your signal. Please respond.”

His eyes. I want to see his eyes.

The man crossed into the street, dropping his hands to his sides. Sergio held his ground. Sweat dripped down the side of his head and into his ear. To wipe it free might draw attention to the earpiece. He let it go, taking a step toward the stranger. “What kind of stuff you got?”

“Walking Boss, do not engage. Do you read me?”

“Just the basics right here. Fives and tens.” The stranger pointed to the hoodie pocket. “But I can get something else if you want.”

The shadow of the hoodie kept the man’s face dark, but his features were coming visible. The man’s teeth were yellow and his eyes were red. Could be a drug addict or could be a killer.

“Walking Boss! Do you read me?”

The red eyes moved forward. “What you want, bro?”

The way he said it made the hairs on the back of Sergio’s neck stand up. The sneer, the thickness of the voice, like he dreamed it. He fought to not react, holding his breath. His racing pulse throbbed in his ears as a drop of ice cold sweat trickled down his back.

It’s not him. It’s not him. It’s not him.

#####

 

Biography

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heart-warming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

His unique writing style can make you chuckle or shed tears—sometimes on the same page (or steam up the room if it’s one of his romances). Regardless of genre, his novels always contain unexpected twists and turns, and his endearing nonfiction stories will stay in your heart forever.

25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew, co-authored by Dan, has been a valuable tool for upcoming writers (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping new authors is evident in his wildly popular blog “Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR.”

Dan’s success is widespread and varied. In addition to being a bestselling author, he has achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. You can find him blogging away almost every day on http://www.DanAlatorre.com or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week, Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan resides in the Tampa, Florida area with his wife and daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

#Throwback Thursday: A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by MarkBarry @GreenWizard62 #Drama

 

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“I swore that I would never go home,
but in the end,
I had no choice.
I had to confront what happened.
And them too.
It was going be icky. And totally scary.”

Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.

She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself.

She had to come home: There was no other choice.
Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.
Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.
Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
A war which can only have one victor.
Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.

Our Review

“We received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team”

The main character, Carol Prentice, made quite an impression right from the start with her dark clothes, hair and Doc Marten boots. She had come back to her family’s hometown after the death of her father, determined to sort her life out, and this involves a plan and a secret.

What does make someone choose one path over another and the hardest one at that?

A totally unpredictable and powerful story of what starts out as Carol’s revenge, but ends up being for someone else too. She came back home, knowing she would run into all kinds of bad memories, so what she intended to do had to be very important.

Some of the words Carol used confused me, but I am probably too old to understand the parlance of the young these days, but it did manage to help create a harsh rawness to the drama.

The other character I really liked was Steve, the bookshop owner. Steve is a thoroughly likeable older man and the perfect foil for Carol, giving the story another dimension. I did think it might have been better if Steve was younger, but maybe it worked better because he wasn’t, for there was enough going on without romance in the mix.

This is a gritty, well-planned story of revenge, every detail brings you slowly to the necessary showdown, but you won’t be ready for it. I know I wasn’t!

I didn’t want to enjoy this book quite so much, what with its nasty threads and even nastier people, but despite it all, there is redemption at the end and that for me, was well worth the read…

About the Author

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Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.
He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people.

He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.

 

 

#Throwback Thursday: Not Really Gone by Blair Sharpe #Biography

 

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“In every family there is a rock—the person that keeps things together. In Blaire Sharpe’s family, that rock was her grandma. As she shares the inspiring story of her relationship with her grandma, Blaire expands on the notion of what it really means to be loved.
When she was just an infant, Blaire’s troubled parents divorced. Since both parents were incapable of raising Blaire and her siblings, the children were slated for foster care—until their grandmother, Eleanor, stepped in to raise them as her own. As Eleanor valiantly struggled against a family legacy of alcoholism and depression, she modeled strength and wisdom to endure the most challenging of times. Still, Blaire’s life was not perfect. As she matured into adulthood, she battled addictions that eventually led her into recovery, just as Eleanor’s health began to decline. When she found herself sandwiched between two generations, each increasingly needy, Blaire poignantly reveals how she discovered the true meaning of love and commitment, and the essence of what it means to be a mother.
Not Really Gone is the story about the undying love a grandmother gave her granddaughter—a love that inspired her to carry on and become the rock in her own family.”

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did,

But people will never forget how you made them feel…”    Maya Angelou

 

About the Author

Blaire Sharpe holds master’s degrees in Business and Mental Health Counseling. She specializes in working with adults suffering from mood disorders and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Blaire lives in a suburb of Detroit with her husband, three children, and two dogs. This is her first book.

 

Our Review…

I love reading about families, they are always so different and interesting. My own family was not ideal, dysfunctional doesn’t really cover it, but if I had a grandmother like this one, who knows what I may have become.

It is remarkably easy to find yourself in a less than desirable situation, and easier still to find yourself in a difficult situation. It is also easy to blame yourself when so many things go wrong.

The journey with her grandmother is a lovely story, albeit incredibly sad towards the end, but always written with love and compassion. I loved the brave and fearless way the author bares her soul never shying away from uncomfortable truths.

Not Really Gone is a brilliantly written, no holds barred, fascinating insight into the life of a family, richly yet painfully reflecting the love woven throughout and I would recommend it whole heartedly…

 

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#Throwback Thursday: Our Review for The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias #Literature & Fiction #Horror

 

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain, Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.
As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

 

Our Review

The opening chapter left me breathless and totally hooked, from the sheer amount of background detail and the introduction of the catalyst character, whose very existence led to the creation of this book.

After hearing that her long lost mother had become a nun and committed suicide, Siobhan, her eldest daughter, goes to the convent to learn the truth.

What exactly was her mother’s secret? Why did an ordinary mother decide to abandon her family and become a nun?

After a riveting opening, we are taken several steps back, almost losing the rhythm of the story. Then Siobhan starts to read her mother’s journal.

What happens to her mother was extremely hard to read, so emotionally charged was the graphic description. Left severely abused and paralysed, the mother’s ordeal is over, but her recovery will take a long time.

Suspicion eats away at her; could someone she knows have been responsible?

The story continues, possibly too graphic and round about then I began to wonder if a mother would really write such things in a letter to her daughter.

Just when I was beginning to wonder about the plot, the story moved on. She had fulfilled the pact she made with the devil, so what would happen now?

We are not destined to find out just yet, and the last section of the book was beginning to read more like a documentary, far too many facts and figures. And just how many of them are true?

Right at the end, I realised this was only the beginning; there would be another part of this story, probably far more exciting than this one…

Although this was a riveting read, the format of the kindle copy I bought was faulty, with annoying font changes here and there. This was not the reason I only gave it a 4* review however, that was because the cliff-hanger almost had me screaming!`

 

 

Would You Read This Book? #TuesdayBookBlog #Fiction #FamilyHorror

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Bad Moon was the first book I ever wrote and came about I think because I am slightly obsessed with the way the people in West Virginia talk.

Some people call them Hillbilly’s and years ago, there was a very funny television programme called The Beverly Hillbillies. Maybe that was where it started, I don’t know.

I love the place too; it seems so wild and untamed. So much, I sometimes wonder if my father came from there and I have inherited something. I have it on good authority (from my mother) that he was an American.

So when this very distinctive voice began to speak in my head, all about her life and family, in no time at all I was completely hooked. Annie’s story is nothing like “The Walton’s”, no happy family in the usual sense of the word. They do seem to care for each other, but most of the time what they get up to is pretty hard to live with, a conclusion that the girl in my head had already arrived at.

The more she tries to change things, to make them better, the worse they seem to get. Horrible secrets are revealed and bad things keep happening, but this only seems to make her more determined than ever to leave all the pain and sorrow behind.

The trouble with writing such an unusual book is that most publishers won’t touch it with a barge pole. When I first wrote it, I tried very hard to get it published by the mainstream publishing industry. Most of them loved it, saying it was ‘powerfully written’.

It very nearly made it, but, and it was a big but, they discovered to their horror that they didn’t know how to market it, and one by one they gave up on it.

I think it is a great story. It has everything, plenty of drama, horrifying storylines, love and passion, all wrapped up in a young girls rapidly growing sense of right and wrong.

Still trying to find people who will read it, and dare I say it, review it. It needs to succeed, if only because the next book Simple is based in West Virginia too and about a similar family group.

In some ways, Simple is worse, as it concerns family bullying and the abuse of a mentally challenged family member.

I’m sure that if more people were aware of these books, they would receive more acclaim, but I fear my marketing attempts are inadequate at best.

I’m still in there, swinging… so who knows?

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Amazon Review

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

 

 

5* Review for The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody #UrbanFantasy @marciameara

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 In Marcia Meara’s second installment of The Emissary Trilogy, a Riverbend spinoff series of novellas, we find our three heroes at it again. Beautiful new places, exciting new adventures, and a whole assortment of new problems await them, bringing tears, laughter, and an extraordinary amount of love along with them.

 

 

 

Our Review

Not all sweetness and light this time, as Azrael gets serious about equipping both Jake and Dodger for their job of helping souls in trouble.

I loved the chapter about the training session, and how Dodger and Jake reacted to the new strong-arm tactics.

I loved everything about this book just as I did the first in the series.

The way Dodger tries to cope with his insecurities, and Jake’s capable and patient attitude. Azrael had me laughing, he tried hard not to lose it as he struggled to get his point across to these very different personalities.

You never really imagine an angel getting cranky, now do you?

The missing element between Jake and Dodger, always a possible father-son relationship, really gets going in this book. I found it beautifully written and very emotional as I never got to know my own father.

Altogether though, I thought they made a great team as they travel around the country, helping us mortals keep on the straight and narrow.

A subtle reminder that some of us in this world can’t be helped, but wouldn’t it  be wonderful to know someone cares enough to try!

 

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About the Author

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream.
Three years later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia has published five other books to date, all of which are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format: Wake-Robin Ridge A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2 Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love
You can reach Marcia via email at mmeara@cfl.rr.com or on the following social media sites: The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Twitter: @marciameara
To keep up with Marcia’s latest news and giveaways, and win FREE stuff, sign up for her Mail List here: https://marciamearawrites.com/mail-list-win-free-stuff/

 

#ThrowbackThursday: The Woman before Me by Ruth Dugdall #Psychological Fiction

 

 

‘Ruth Dugdall’s novels are intelligent and gripping, with a sophisticated psychological sensibility. She is a huge talent.’ Sophie Hannah

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.

Rose Wilks’ life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect.

Now, having spent nearly five years in prison in Ipswich, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for her crime, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.

Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so… by what means?

New Edition includes exclusive material and author Q&A

A clever, sophisticated, psychological crime thriller with dark twists you won’t see coming… Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

 

Our Review

I’m not sure what attracted me to this book, and for once it couldn’t have been the cover. An indistinct, mysterious image that didn’t convey anything about the story at all.
But the book had won many awards and was highly recommended. Reviews said it was a ‘chilling psychological thriller with a shocking twist.’

The beginning of the book was more like a naïve memoir, almost childishly written in a matter of fact manner, but with just enough intrigue to get you thinking. I nearly gave up on it several times, but an interesting cast of characters with in-depth stories of their own, plus the childhood history made me carry on reading.

The introduction of the “Black Book Entries” was a revealing part of the story. Something mentally disturbed patients are encouraged to do to help their recovery. This gave the story an unexpected depth too. The pace picks up considerably, making the tension almost palpable.

So, after an agonisingly slow, deliberate start, the story escalates, building unbearably to its conclusion. A conclusion I really didn’t see coming. There were so many twists and turns, but nothing prepared me for the final chapter. It hit me like a truck. A brilliantly executed, grippingly original story.

About the Author

Ruth Dugdall worked as a Probation Officer for almost a decade, working in high security prisons with numerous high-risk criminals. Ruth’s writing is heavily influenced by her professional background, providing authenticity and credibility to the crime genre.

 

A Magical Reminder of Simple…#Fiction #FamilyHorror

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Saw this picture this morning and it really fascinated me. I know it’s probably not real, there is some jiggery pokey going on, but as I get older I like the unreal, or at least, what seems to be, so I will keep on looking for new and amazing things…

Anyway, back to what I wanted to talk about today.
I have been thinking about one of Anita’s books, Simple …

It has long been one of my favourites and the picture at the top reminds me of the central character, a huge bear of a man called Simple. He loves to be in the forest and seems to be at home among all the towering trees, away from all the people who torment him because of his size, his slowness, and his stutter.

I thought I would print an excerpt to introduce him to you  properly…

       Gran stormed across the clearing, bending to pick up a stick from the ground without breaking her stride.  Simple, sitting against the wood pile, was in for another of her beatings.  I yelled for him to run, but he didn’t hear me.  Lost in one of his daydreams I guessed.

I watched in silence as Gran repeatedly swung the stick hard against the side of her son’s head.  There were no words to describe Simple’s pain, or the pain of watching.  He probably didn’t even know what it was for and I hated her for making me feel all the things he couldn’t say. He didn’t move or look her in the face, not until she let the stick drop from her bony fingers did he feel safe enough to close his eyes.  He slowly put his hands to his battered head, blood pushing its way through the gaps in his dirty fingers…

I know I edited this book so you could say I am a bit biased, but I don’t think so. I really love the story, even though it has savagely cruel elements, involving hatred and violence. But all of these elements are finely balanced with so much emotional determination and caring by Simple’s sister, Leanne that you get torn every which way as you read it.

This book is a roller coaster of a read but one that has been very hard to categorise. Mainstream publishers really couldn’t figure out what to do with it. They loved it but…

There always seems to be a but, doesn’t there? Well, we always seem to find one. But if anybody wants to see if they would like to read Simple , it’s on Amazon, and at the moment just 0.99p!

I would love to hear if you love it as much as I do…

Here is the latest review for Simple…

AEM
5.0 out of 5 starsLife’s Choices
20 October 2018Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase