#Throwback Thursday ~ Blessed Mayhem by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #Crime Thriller

Throwback Thursdays, a brilliant way of seeing our favourite books/reviews again!

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A chance encounter …a deadly predicament …a lethal decision.
The infamous Mr. Mayhem is not your average serial killer. Reminiscent of the beloved Hannibal Lecter, minus his thirst for flesh—because eating humans is just plain rude—Mr. Mayhem storms on the scene with style, grace, elegance, and a zest for life unlike any other. Impeccable manners also help. He may commit murder, but there’s no reason to be impolite about it.
Accompanied by his loyal crow companions, Poe, Allan, and Edgar, his crimes strike fear in the hearts and minds of folks across Massachusetts’ North Shore.

When Shawnee Daniels—cat burglar extraordinaire and forensic hacker for the police—meets Mayhem in the dark, she piques his curiosity. Sadly for her, she leaves behind an item best left undiscovered. Or is it serendipity by design?
Color him curious, but he yearns to examine the psychology behind her life choices, tough girl routine, witty banter, and unique double-life. In a different time and place they may even become friends. But unfortunately, their predicament defines the risk.
The stakes are too high to stop now.
For reasons authorities cannot fathom, these seemingly unrelated murders will go down in history as the most impressive killing regime of all time. His coup de grace, if you will. Even if it means permanently erasing Ms. Daniels from the equation. All the pieces are there if the authorities look hard enough. The question is, will they? The only new wrinkle is Shawnee Daniels, and she may be his toughest opponent yet … if she’s clever enough to play the game.

Our Review

This is the second book in the Mayhem Series, starring the inimitable Shawnee Daniels in another brilliant crime thriller set in Massachusetts, USA.

Shawnee is an unlikely hero, with a heart of gold and a vocabulary to shame the devil. She encounters a serial killer during one of her rare nightly forays as a burglar, triggering both his interest and his fascination.

What follows is an unusual relationship between them. Fast and witty, the dialogue between them will make your head spin. Mr Mayhem, as Shawnee calls the killer, is a remarkable man. Intelligent, elegant, with a wicked sense of humour. Totally, unlike any serial killer I have ever read about, and the perfect foil for the smart and quick witted Shawnee Daniels, occasional burglar and computer specialist for the Police Department.

You are not supposed to like serial killers, but you will love this one, especially the relationship between him and Shawnee. There are so many good things in this story, from the hilarious antics of Mayhem’s three pet crows, to the detailed description of the intricate world of computer hacking.

This book has it all, fast action and twisting plots that will literally keep you gasping for air as the tension grips you by the throat.

The ending was intriguing, but slightly disappointing. This only made me want to read the next in the series!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review…

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Words We Carry by D G Kaye For: Streets Ahead Book Promotion Club

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“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?
D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

About the Author

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D.G. Kaye is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues. At a young age, D.G. began keeping journals to take notes about her turbulent childhood while growing up as an emotionally neglected child. Tormented with guilt, as she grew older, D.G. was conflicted with the question of whether or not she was to remain obligated to being a faithful daughter, in debt to her narcissistic mother for giving birth to her. Her first book, Conflicted Hearts is a memoir, written about her journey to seek solace from living with guilt. D.G.’s writing relates to her experiences in life, and shares her lessons and ideas she acquired along the way. Kaye’s second book, Meno-What? A Memoir, was written based on her passage through menopause. In that book, she shares her humor and wisdom on what women can expect at that time, adding some of her helpful hints for relief. D.G.’s newest book, Words We Carry focuses around women’s self-esteem issues. She talks about how and why the issues evolve, how she recognized her own, and how she overcame her insecurities. Kaye writes for the woman of all ages. Her writing is easily relatable and her insights about the complexities of being a woman are expressed in her writing. Quotes: “Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!” “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

 

S. G. Cronin

This book was gifted me by the author without expectation of review or recompense. The views are my own.

Words We Carry is packed with the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, survival tips and strategies from someone who went through difficult and unhappy childhood and teen years.

I think it is fair to say that most of us are less than confident about our body shape, and that is particularly tough when you can no longer use the excuse of puppy fat, and your friends are heading out in slinky black dresses and high-heeled shoes.

Unfortunately, not all mothers are born with the nurturing gene and as soon as you become competition, there is an opportunity to reinforce your lack of self-esteem with carefully chosen and cutting words. I would like to think that the experiences that D.G. Kaye describes were rare, but I am afraid that after counselling women on their health and weight for twenty years, the story is very familiar.

Those harmful words from those who are supposed to love us, are the ones we carry throughout our lifetime, unless we can find a way to dilute their power and replace them with affirmations of a much more positive nature.

D.G. Kaye describes her strategies to claim her own identity, build her self-esteem and evolve from the ugly duckling that she had been made to feel she was, into a swan. This involved a makeover in a number of departments, including wearing high heels at all times and over every terrain, and standing out from the crowd with her now signature titian hair colour. She also developed a healthy, outgoing personality and independence that led her to discover groups of people who accepted and embraced her as a friend.

In the second section of the book Kaye looks at the impact this early negative conditioning had on her relationships, including romances with older men whose different approach to dating and expectations provided a more secure environment. Unfortunately, having entered one serious and long-term relationship, echoes of the verbal abuse that she received as a child and teenager, threatened to undo all the hard work that she had accomplished. Thankfully she went on to find happiness and empowerment with someone who appreciates all that she has become.

Kaye looks at issues such as the difference between Alone vs. Lonely, Negativity and Self-Worth, Forming Healthier Relationships, and importantly Exposing our Personality Through the Internet. All the chapters provide commonsense strategies to overcome a lack of self-confidence, and I do think that women and men in their 50s and 60s, will definitely be able to draw parallels to Kaye’s own experiences.

Whilst I recommend this memoir/self-help book to men and women of my age, I also think that it should be read by all mothers whose daughters are heading into their teens and beyond. It might just remind them of how fragile their child is when about to face the outside world, and that there are enough external challenges to be overcome, without encountering them in the place they should feel safe.

It is also a book for young women who are struggling with weight issues and those who feel that they are not as attractive as their friends, or who feel that they are somehow going through something never experienced before.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. By reading this they might take strength in knowing that this is an age oldproblem, and that they can change the narrative and write their own story.

 

Our Review for Sword of Destiny by Sue Vincent #ArthurianFantasy @SCVincent

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“…and the swords must be found and held by their bearers lest the darkness find a way into the heart of man. Ask the waters to grant guidance and tell the ancient Keeper of Light that it is time to join battle for the next age.” Rhea Marchant heads north to the wild and beautiful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales where she is plunged into an adventure that will span the worlds. The earth beneath her feet reveals its hidden life as she and her companions are guided by the ancient Keeper of Light in search of artefacts of arcane power. With the aid of the Old Ones and the merry immortal Heilyn, the company seek the elemental weapons that will help restore hope to an unbalanced world at the dawn of a new era.

 

Review

An amputation of the soul

So dark, so final, yet I understand it.

I love the way you became a priest

Absolving Merlin of the sins written about him

None of which I believed

Arthurs birth is better told without the sting of rape

Robed in rainbows, like moonlight on water, FAB

I didn’t so much read this book as eat my way through it…

AAAAA

 

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About the Author

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings. She lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. In 2008 her poem, ‘The Door of Dreams’, was awarded the David Burland International Poetry Prize. At around this time she began a collaboration with Dr G Michael Vasey which resulted in the publication of their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press) and also published a small book of poems, “Echoes of Light”. 2013 was an important year for Sue. Her novel, “Sword of Destiny”, a magical tale set in the beautiful and ancient landscape of Yorkshire, was published. “The Initiate” and “Heart of Albion,Tales from the Wondrous Head” in collaboration with Stuart France, are also due for publication later this year. These two books tell a factual tale in a fictional manner, that is at once the tale of a journey into the landscape, myth and iconography of Albion and the story of a growing and rather oddball friendship. Sue is one of the Directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a modern Mystery School with students on four continents, that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk She maintains a popular blog, sharing aspects of life in as many shades of vivid as her hair. She is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs.www.scvincent.com

Our 5* Review for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair #ParanormalSuspense @MaeClair1

 

“Masterful, bone-chilling fiction…one intense thriller. A Thousand Yesteryears will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.” —New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien

Behind a legend lays the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real . . .

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer . . .

 

Our Review

A Thousand Yesteryears – the first book in the Point Pleasant Series.

The opening prologue begins easily enough, schoolchildren discussing their missing friend and the rumours of a strange creature living in the swamps just outside of town.

What happened next ramps up the tension to full blast, setting the theme for the rest of the story.

Fifteen years later, Eve Parrish, one of these children, returns to Point Pleasant after inheriting her family home. Will she be able to settle the property and go back home, away from the past and its memories?

Walking back into the past is not usually a good idea, especially when such pain and sorrow is there is waiting for you. Things are never quite as you remember them, and that goes for the people too.

Eve has a job to do, settling her aunt’s estate and making it fit to be sold, but someone or something doesn’t want her there.

A Thousand Yesteryears is a fantastic story. A murder mystery, romance and a psychological thriller that will set your nerves on edge while doing its level best to scare you to death!

Beautifully written and full of tension, I enjoyed reading this story and will remember it for some time, looking forward to reading the rest of the Point Pleasant Series…

#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 from West Virginia in 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, 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.

Will you ever write another story like these two?

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!

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 Review for The Donor by Stevie Turner @StevieTurner6 #Literature/Women’sFiction

For some reason, this review for Stevie Turner’s book was not accepted by Amazon, so running it again in the hopes it will make it this time!

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 When you know you have met the love of your life, the last thing you expect is for your sister to lure him away. Clare Ronson is faced with this scenario when her sister Isabel marries singer and guitarist Ross Tyler. To compound Clare’s jealousy and bitterness, Ross hits the big time and becomes a wealthy tax exile, relocating to France with his family. Clare cannot bring herself to speak to Isabel or Ross for the next 30 years. However, when tragedy occurs in 2002 causing Ross to arrive back in England at Clare’s doorstep, Clare must try to put the past behind her for her sister’s sake.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Donor-Stevie-Turner-ebook/dp/B016MJ9W0Q/

Our Review

The Donor is the story of an ordinary family, before tragedy strikes and rips it apart. Two very different sisters become entrenched in a bitter feud, one with far-reaching consequences for all of their family.

I always think that the mark of a good read is how quickly you feel at home with both the location and the characters inside a book, and I had my feet under the table, so to speak, in no time at all!

This was the first book I have ever read where all of the characters speak directly to me, making me feel as if I were part of them, although it was an uncomfortable place to be when the arguments start.

Tragedy strikes more than once, building sorrow and tension in equal measure. The author handles these emotionally charged scenes with a unique and compelling touch, but you will need at least one box of tissues!

 

Biography

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ caught the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: www.steviet3.wordpress.com

Amazon Review:

The final heartbreaking chapters moved me from disbelief to tears some of joy some of sadness

From the word go this book grabbed my attention and kept it to the very end.

This was a book I could not put down and I read it in 3 hours.

The characters were profoundly flawed and that only added to the realism of the story, the relationships between them all are bittersweet yet heartwarming.

 

 

#Throwback Thursday ~Two Brilliant Reviews for Let it Go!

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I was reminded today of just how far we have come with our writing and all that is involved with it and wanted to share our pride in our accomplishments.

Still a long way to go, but loving what you do is a lovely way to do it!

(we didn’t do it all by ourselves, so we thank everyone who helped us along the way!)

 You read about families where everyone is happy and life is wonderful.
That wasn’t my family.
My mother coped patiently with a drunken, obsessive gambler of a husband and a daughter with an insatiable sexual appetite. I loved my father, but he kept us one step away from the poor house. Loving my sister was harder, basically because she hated me and constantly brought trouble to our door.
Me? I couldn’t wait to grow up and live my own life.
Then everything changed. Dad won a guest house in a card game, and suddenly we were off to a new life in Cornwall. A beautiful place, steeped in legend and mystery.
Would trouble leave us alone now, or was it merely biding its time?

Excerpt from Let it Go

We hadn’t seen dad for nearly a week, and that was a long time, even for him.

Mum was going spare, ranting on about what she’d do to him when he finally came home. Poor dad, it could mean another black eye or a nose which wouldn’t stop bleeding for hours after mum lands one of her punches. This is pretty normal behaviour for my parents and had been going on for years. Considering my mother’s temper, you would think he would stop rolling home drunk and penniless, but he never did.

It was late Friday night when he finally came home. We knew it was him, even though it sounded as if something had been thrown at the front door. We listened to him fumbling with the key for ages; mum with arms folded, waiting for him to fall through it. How she controlled her temper and didn’t rush at the door and tear it from its hinges, I will never know. I think I would have done; it would have been quicker.

I heard the lock turn and dad swung in like a gust of wind, holding on to the key that was stuck in the lock. His dark, shaggy hair hadn’t seen a comb in days and his clothes appeared to have been slept in. He stood there swaying, grinning at mum like an idiot.

She slapped his hand from the key, sending him flying across the hall, skidding on the mat that never seemed to want to stay in one place. I had a ringside seat at the top of the stairs and watched as she calmly removed the key and slammed the door.

Sally, my older sister by two years, came out of her room to see what was happening. At seventeen, she thought she’d been around the block and knew everything. As for the block, she’d been around it all right. There was no good way to describe my sister, other than to call her a tart. Right then, she looked the part too, with her smeared makeup and messy hair. Hanging over the bannister in her underwear, she told mum to kick his no good arse back out the door. Mum looked up at us with rage in her eyes and we both fled, creeping back when we felt it safe, even sliding down a few stairs to hear better.

They were in the kitchen now and something wasn’t right. Mum’s voice sounded cold, as though talking through ice-cubes. We heard her say she was leaving him, after twenty years of going nowhere she’d had enough. Then silence. Why weren’t they speaking, shouting or smashing things like they normally did?

I sat there wishing I could see through walls. I wanted to go in and say something, remind her that dad wasn’t a bad man. Stupid and unlucky maybe, but it wasn’t his fault all his schemes and dreams came to nothing.

The silence frightened me. Mum couldn’t possibly leave him. She loved him, had stood by his crazy ideas all this time. Turning to Sally, I whispered, ‘We’ve got to do something. Put some clothes on, hurry, before Dad passes out and mum goes to sleep on the thoughts in her head.’

Sally stopped me from standing up, pulling me backwards, knocking the lower part of my back against the stairs. ‘We can’t, Mary. He’ll say something stupid in a minute, then she’ll go for him. You know what happened last time. You got mum’s elbow in your face, couldn’t see for a week.’

I looked at her, seeing her differently for a moment. Unable to stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I said, ‘I didn’t know you cared.’

‘Of course I care, you stupid cow. You’re my kid sister.’

Was that a hurt look I saw, or another of her acting games? I tried again to stand. Feeling her hand on my shoulder, I moved faster, not wanting to be pulled down again. My foot slipped forward on the edge of the carpet and gravity did the rest, pulling me headlong down the rest of the steps. I heard Sally yell, then a chair scrape against the kitchen floor. My head hurt. I tried to move, and then someone turned out the lights.

I woke up on our living room sofa with dad holding my hand. Mum was putting a cold flannel on my head. Trying to move shot a pain through the top of my head, much as I imagined dad must feel when mum slaps him with whatever comes to hand.

‘Lie still, Mary.’ Dad said. ‘Everything’s all right. Hard heads run in the family.’

From somewhere in the room I heard Sally scoff. I struggled to sit up and could see her leaning against the doorframe, picking at her nails.

Looking dad square in the face, I said, ‘It’s not all right. Didn’t you hear mum say she’s leaving you? Couldn’t you hear the difference in her voice?’

Dad put the palm of his hand on my cheek and smiled. The smile that made you believe in angels, and held mum to him all these years.

‘Not to worry, Mary. I have something here that will put the warmth back in her voice.’ Taking some legal papers and a bunch of keys from his pocket, he gave them to mum and said, ‘Read it, Margaret.’

Waiting for mum to say something, to let us in on what could only be another of dad’s get-rich-schemes, seemed like waiting for hell to freeze over.

She read them once, and knowing dad of old, read them again. ‘Cornwall,’ she said finally. ‘A broken down guesthouse.’ She waved the paper at dad. ‘How did you get this with no money?’

‘Playing cards.’ Dad said. ‘I won it from old Tom. That’s where I’ve been, Cornwall, to look at the place. Margaret, it’s beautiful. Overlooks the ocean – a lick of paint and it’ll be good as new.’

‘So, Michael Flanagan. How long has this place been closed, did you think to ask?’

‘A year or so.’

‘Right. So with eyes full of beer, you managed to figure out it’s a lick of paint we’ll be needing, nothing more?’ The temper still showed on her face and her words had thorns. It was no accident she had been born with red hair.

‘Don’t start, Margaret. Can’t you see that luck has finally found us? It’s what you’ve always wanted, to run our own place. And the money we get from this house will get us started. The girls can help out, even get paid for the work they do around the place.’

‘I don’t see myself as a chambermaid.’ Sally moaned, folding her arms across her chest like mum. She straightened her back, trying to look tough.

Dad spun on her. ‘Better than lying on your back with God knows who, whenever the mood takes you!’

Sally stormed off and I heard the bedroom door slam shut as dad went on about her going the same way as his sister, Aunt Vivian, known hereabouts as the local bike.

Mum said he should hold his tongue.

‘Can’t do it, woman. I won’t see one of my own daughters end up on the same road. I’ll be putting the house on the market first thing in the morning. We’ve talked about nothing else for the past ten years. Now, it’s been handed to us on a plate.’

From the look on mum’s face, I could tell she was beginning to think it might be a good idea. After all, we had nothing to lose. It had plenty of rooms and hadn’t cost dad a penny, and this house would give them the money to do it up. But what on earth did they know about running a guest house? I decided that now wasn’t a good time to ask…


Two Wonderful Reviews!

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for fans of family dramas and coming-of-age stories

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Fifteen-year-old Mary’s life is turned upside down when her father wins a large house in Cornwall in a card game, and her parents decide to up sticks from South West London, move down to Cornwall,  and run a bed & breakfast boarding house.  Mary does not have a good relationship with her sister Sally but is particularly close to her elderly and infirm grandmother (Nan).  Nan decides to make the biggest change of all and move with the family to live in a caravan at the end of the garden.
Mary finds an old diary written by a girl her own age who used to live in the house.   She reads of a particular event in the diary that happened years before, which she cannot get out of her mind.  Mary has a need to follow up the event and finds a new friend, Mark, who has knowledge of the local area and all its mysteries to help her in her quest.
The author has an obvious love of Cornwall, and this is evident throughout the book.   I enjoyed reading about the shifting family dynamics, Mary’s relationship with her sister, and the new life experiences that she had to learn to cope with.  I can recommend this four star read for fans of women’s fiction, family dramas, and coming-of-age stories.  There are a few grammatical errors, but they did not distract me from the story.  Well done!

 5 stars A fantastic look at family relationships

Format: Kindle Edition

A fantastic look at family dynamics through the eyes of Mary, a fifteen-year-old who is older and wiser than her years. When her father wins a guest house in a card game, Mary’s has to adjust to a new life in Cornwall. In addition to her parents and sister, Mary also has her beloved grandmother, Nan, to aid in that adjustment.

This book is filled with wonderful characters and effortless writing. I adored the relationship between Mary and Nan. As narrator, Mary does an excellent job in allowing us to see the world through her eyes. From the vivid place descriptions to the strengths and weakness in the people around her, including her own family, the reader sees scars, faults and triumphs.

The plot thread with Mary’s sister Sally, and how the family rallies around her when she runs afoul of three local women is especially strong. I also liked the thread with Spike, an unexpected “lodger” and how his storyline turned out. The author has a great style and hooked me immediately. I plan to seek out more of her books. Consider me a fan!

 

These reviews really thrilled us and made our writing life so much more rewarding. Everyone should review the books they read. It is easy to do and brings so much joy to writers everywhere!

#TuesdayBookBlog: Secrets by Anita Dawes #Psychological Suspense

We have decided to catch up with promoting some of our books that need a little extra feedback. I think Secrets is an unusual story for Anita,  in that it crosses several genres.

We would love to know what you think, so don’t be shy!

 

Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than childish mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate.
Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem.
Her husband Jack was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?

Amazon reviews

I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!

I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long …

 
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary + Well Written
 This was a beautifully written novel and flowed from chapter to chapter. Many children have an invisible friend and sometimes that can be a necessary part of a child’s life for various reasons. But when the “friend” starts to cause more than childish mischief, then it is time for the adults to do something about it. The characters in this book were well defined and I liked them all and felt empathy for all of them. This was a page-turner for me and I kept thinking there might be more sinister things going on, especially with the neighbor. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’d like to hear from other readers what they thought about the ending. An entertaining read. A 5 star from me.

Excerpt from Secrets…

The men began to dig, just to one side of the old barn by a broken down fence. She could just make out what was left of an old tree. Her curiosity strained just enough to keep her watching as Janet stepped out from the shadow of the house and took a few steps towards the men.

‘What you got there, buried treasure?’ she called to Tommy.

‘You hold your noise woman, I could always make this here hole big enough to put you in, now get on with you!’

She shrugged, picked up an old basket and walked off round the side of the house.

‘I couldn’t have done that,’ breathed Cathy. ‘I would want to have a look.’

‘Maybe she believes what Tommy said…’

‘Could be, I wouldn’t want to bump into him on a dark night. Did you get a load of his teeth?’

Maggie smiled in spite of herself. ‘I did, every dentists nightmare.’

The word sent a shiver down her spine.

After quite a pile of earth had been dug up, Jack threw his shovel aside and began pulling at something that was stuck in the ground.

Maggie felt sick. Where was the dignity? All she felt was the shame and sorrow of it all.

Tommy gave something a kick with his boot and Maggie felt herself flinch as a large, earth covered bundle came free from the grave. She couldn’t believe her eyes when Jack simply picked it up and carried it back across the field to the car. She watched him put it in the boot and noticed that Tommy was watching him too, before throwing the shovel and pick into the barn. He rinsed the mud from his boots with a hose outside the back door, then he came in and they heard him open the Aga.

‘He’s going to eat his lunch, for Gods sake!’ she said to Cathy. ‘How can he?’

Even as she said it, she realised that today of all days, anything was possible.

Jack was on his way back to the house when Janet appeared again. Waiting until she was sure he’d hear her, she asked,

‘Got what you came for, then?’

Trying to wipe the mud from his hands, he nodded.

‘Come inside and wash up.’ she said.

Jack looked up and caught Maggie’s face at the window. He felt sick to his stomach and didn’t want to look at her. He couldn’t believe what he had just done.

Janet squirted the hose over his shoes, soaking the bottom of his trousers and he held his hands under the stream of freezing cold water to get most of the mud of.

‘We’d better sit down.’ Maggie said, nudging Cathy towards a chair. ‘They’ll be here in a minute.’

They heard Janet tell Jack to use the sink in the small room behind the Aga. ‘But then, you’d know about that, wouldn’t you.’ she said. Seeing Tommy getting stuck into his food, she asked Jack if they would like some lunch before they go.

‘For God’s sake, don’t say yes.’ Maggie whispered, and Cathy held her breath waiting for his answer.

‘No thanks, we really do have to go. I’d like to get back home before it gets dark.’

Jack came into the living room and brought the smell of freshly dug soil with him. It was a smell Maggie usually liked, but not today. In her minds eye she could see the shallow grave, dark and forbidding, with white bones sticking out of the mud. How was she going to get into the car, knowing what was in the boot?

#Throwback Thursday: Our Review of The Box Under The Bed by Dan Alatorre @savvystories #Horror

 

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Come along for a chilling ride on a ghost ship, experience eerie daydreams and psychotic killers, explore haunted houses, and send the deceased to their final destination.
And that’s just a quarter of the thrills.
Edited and compiled by Amazon bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of scary tales brings together the minds and pens of twenty authors, including bestseller Allison Maruska (The Fourth Descendant), bestselling author Jenifer Ruff (Everett), Lucy Brazier (PorterGirl), J. A. Allen, Juliet Nubel, T.A. Henry, Ann Marie Andrus, Heather Hackett, Barbara Anne Helberg, Scott Skipper, Joanne R. Larner, Christine Valentor, Adele Marie Park, Curtis Bausse, Annette Robinson, Frank Parker, Eric Daniel Clarke, and Maribel C. Pagan.

Perfect for Halloween or any time, these stories will make you think twice before walking alone on the beach at night, reading a diary, or innocently watching a train from your car.
Consider yourselves warned.

Our Review

We really loved reading this anthology. Each story is original and well written with a unique quality of its own.

From the bonus story, The Water Castle by Dan Alatorre, to The Blind Tattoist  by Allison Maruska , there is something here for everyone.

It would be hard to pick a favourite, for we loved them all. Some were scary, some mysterious, but every single one was a darn good read.

Not exactly bed time reading, unless you want to have nightmares!

Author Bio

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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 ~ The Italian Thing by Patricia Salamone @Pattisalamone #memoir

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Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!

Our Review

I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit.

Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country.

However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat.

“Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life.

I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Two people who were out of their depth and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!

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Biography

Patricia Salamone was born in New York. Raised in the borough of Queens. She had five siblings including one brother that passed away in August of 2003.
The Italian Thing is her first published book although she has been writing since the age of 8 years old.
She married and has three children who are grown with families of their own now, and they have blessed her with grandchildren.
Patricia retired from AT&T in 2008 and was able to concentrate on her love for writing, hence “The Italian Thing.”
The Italian Thing is available on Amazon Kindle worldwide and also available in print (English only).

As Patricia puts it, “No awards yet, but there is always tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

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