#ThrowbackThursday #BookReview The Curse of Arundel Hall @newwrites

 

One ghost, one murder, one hundred years apart. But are they connected?

Ella has discovered a secret room in The Yellow Cottage, but with it comes a ghost. Who was she? And how did she die? Ella needs to find the answers before either of them can find peace. But suddenly things take a nasty turn for the worse.
Ella Bridges has been living on Linhay Island for several months but still hasn’t discovered the identity of her ghostly guest. Deciding to research the history of her cottage for clues she finds it is connected to Arundel Hall, the large Manor House on the bluff, and when an invitation to dinner arrives realises it is the perfect opportunity to discover more.
However the evening takes a shocking turn when one of their party is murdered. Is The Curse of Arundel Hall once again rearing its ugly head, or is there a simpler explanation?
Ella suddenly finds herself involved in two mysteries at once, and again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner to try and catch a killer. But will they succeed?

I am always on the lookout for something different and unusual to read, and The Curse of Arundel Hall was not disappointing. A well-written murder mystery set in the 1930s, transporting you back to another time with the old-fashioned language and way of life.

The main character, Isobella Bridges, or Ella, reminds me of the Agatha Christie heroines, although this particular lady is not an old spinster. Young and adventurous, life has not been kind and moving to the fairy tale cottage on Linhay Island was supposed to be a retreat from the world.

After a slow, scene-setting start, Ella discovers that a ghost of a woman haunts the cottage. Undaunted, it turns out she has a flair for such things and sets out to solve the mystery. She finds the skeletal remains of the woman hidden behind a secret panel. A murder soon follows, linking Ella’s cottage to nearby Arundel Hall, the subject of an ancient curse.

She discovers that Arundel Hall has been plagued with bad luck ever since the eleventh Duke of Norfolk built it for his wife Marion who sadly died in childbirth. The next wife went insane, and the third wife nearly drove him to murder, but she vanished, never to be seen again. Shortly after that, the Duke sold the Hall, cursing it as he left.

I really liked Ella, cheerfully determined to get on with her life and solve every problem that life throws at her, something that comes in handy in this adventure, as she figures out how to open various secret passages and hidden rooms.

This story is filled to the brim with exquisite detail and old-fashioned scenarios. The dialogue between the characters is amazing, the vocabulary perfect for the period. I loved the paranormal twist to the story, just enough to give the story an extra depth – although personally, I would have liked more.

I would defy anyone to try to guess who the murderer is, or why it happened. Just when you think you have figured it out, you are led to another possibility.

The “Spartacus” moment towards the end of the book (I won’t add any spoilers) was hilarious and the classic cliff-hanger had me yearning for the next book, but I will read the first book in this series while I am waiting.

Definitely, worth all of five stars…

About the Author

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J. New is the British author of paranormal cosy mysteries, murder mysteries and magical YA with a hint of romance. A voracious reader and writer all her life, she took her first foray into Indie publishing in 2013, and has never looked back.
She has an eclectic reading taste, ranging from the Magic of Terry Pratchett, JK Rowling, Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, to Dean Koontz, Eion Colfer, Anne Rice and Agatha Christie. A lover of murder mysteries set in past times, where steam trains, afternoon tea and house staff abound. She is convinced she was born in the wrong era as she has a particular aversion to cooking and housework.
She also has an impossible bucket list, which includes travelling on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot, shopping in Diagon Alley with Sirius Black, lazing around the Shire with Gandalf and Bilbo, exploring Pico Mundo with Odd Thomas and having Tea at the Ritz with Miss Marple.
Funds from the sale of her books go towards her dog rescue effort.

#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.

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReviewTeam #RBRT Cleaved by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1

Cleaved is now live on Amazon here, so reposting this review!

#RBRT Review Team

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Cleaved     by Sue Coletta… to be released 3rd May


Cleaved … such an old fashioned emotive word and one used to great effect in this thrilling crime story.

This crime thriller opens with a gripping prologue. A woman is trapped inside a steel drum, terrified for her life. You are instantly there with her, experiencing every gruesome and terrifying moment as she tries to escape.

Somewhere in the Lake Region of New England, a ruthless killer is on the prowl. He needs to kill Sage Quintano, the author wife of the Sheriff, Niko Quintano, but his reason is not clear.

Someone starts to follow Sage, tormenting her with a nursery rhyme and then her world starts to fall apart. I loved the way the chapters alternated sometimes, as the two women in the story, Sage and her husband’s female deputy, Frankie Campanelli take turns to build the tension and the story, and you couldn’t have two more different women than these.

I thought the plot and storyline were expertly handled, for despite all the confusing clues I couldn’t  tell the guilty from the innocent. The dialogue was handled well, with arguments strongly portrayed and believable. The tension builds gradually, almost painfully so. I read somewhere that the author actually experienced being inside a steel drum, for the sake of realism, I hope!

The interaction with the Quintano dogs, Colt and Ruger, was rather special too, the scene where Sage and the dogs comfort one another was really moving.

I would have preferred an English vocabulary, as some of the terms used were unfamiliar to me. And I’m not sure about the over-description of the maggots!

I will be reading Marred, the first book in this series, as I know I will enjoy that one too, and I can find out what happened to Sage’s sister…

Book Description

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that binds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintano’s whole–ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

(Thank you to the author and to #RBRT for my #Free review copy)

Work in Progress… or Plain Sailing!

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I have been sticking like glue to my routine with this new project, determined to finish it no matter what else is going on.  See previous post here

I write at least 1000 words first thing every morning, regardless of any other work, research or queries that I do later in the day. Although this might seem like ‘baby steps’ to some writers, I am more than happy with the results.

In the previous post, I remember saying that this project would be comparatively easy, as I had the journal to go by.The journal that I kept, with all the dates and information about the journey we undertook almost 40 years ago.

That seemed to be true at the time, but having started to write it, I find it won’t be easy after all. On the surface, all the facts seem to be there. But when I decided to use a map to keep track of the routes we took, I discover gaps in the entries, leaving no clue as to how we got from A to C. Sometimes we seem to have jumped from one location to another with no visible clue as to how we got there! My memory is no help either, for how many of us can remember in specific detail, what we did 40 years ago?

So no, it won’t be plain sailing after all. A good title there, though, I think.

Despite all the drawbacks, I am enjoying myself, which was the reason for undertaking this project in the first place. I am thoroughly enjoying the walk down memory lane (even though the route is full of potholes!) We were all so young and optimistic back then, none of us with any idea of how our lives would turn out.

This new book, apart from being a light-hearted account of a family journey, will stand as a testament to the enduring strength of our family. For, despite life’s turmoil, we are still united as a family and well deserving of this tribute.

That’s if  I manage to locate and fill all the pot holes!

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PS:  One of my favourite authors, Valerie Poore,  has just published a similar journey, “Faring on a shoe” and I have already bought a copy to see how an expert handles this genre!

 

A travel51oroymmfil-_ac_us218_ogue about a dream come true. After seven years of owning their barge, Hennie-Ha, seven years involving catastrophe and crisis, Val and her partner finally go ‘faring‘ to France for the first time.

This travelogue is about the places they visit and the people they meet along the canals on their route from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into northern France.

It tells a gentle story about how they experience their life on board during the four weeks they spend cruising.

Written as a journal, the reader joins them on their travels through rain and shine and reveals how day by day, Val learns to cast aside the stresses and demands of the real world and to appreciate life’s simplest of pleasures to the full.

There will, of course, be a review forthcoming!

The Last Life: 1st chapter…

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This week we are posting the first chapter of The Last Life, the second book in my mystery thriller trilogy.  This trilogy might be the sum total of my own contribution to the writing world, (although I am hoping not!) and I am somewhat proud of my achievement.

Chapter One

Detective Inspector David Snow looked down at the unconscious woman on the hospital bed in front of him, remembering the state of her when she had arrived, a few hours ago. They had done a good job of cleaning her up. She lay still, like a religious statue in a church, her pale skin the colour of finest marble. The gentle rise and fall of her breasts the only indication life still clung to her body.

So different to the wrinkled, dirt-ingrained body he had looked at earlier, of an old tramp found dead in the hospital car park, bundled into a moth-eaten army coat and wedged under a car. What was originally thought to be a simple case of neglect, had taken on a more sinister tone when they discovered the tramps head had been cut off and shoved down the back of the old boy’s trousers.

Snow wondered what an old tramp could possibly have done to warrant such treatment, being well known around the hospital and described as a harmless old soul. The tenuous link to the woman in front of him indicated she might not be safe and would need his protection.

They knew very little about her, and he wondered again what kind of woman she was.  Now the dirt had been removed, she looked healthy and well cared for, which ruled out homelessness. A reasonably attractive, middle-aged woman, bordering on the ordinary, apart from her curly hair which would appear to have a life of its own, as even now it seemed to creep across the pillow like the roots of a willow.

 

Alone with the unconscious woman, Snow had an excellent opportunity to study her without feeling self-conscious about doing it. In all the years since his wife’s death, he missed looking intimately at a woman. He usually tried to do it surreptitiously to avoid the risk of being branded a pervert, or worse. He liked to imagine what kind of person they were if they were kind or cruel, bossy or timid, but for once, there were no clues on this woman’s face. A slight determination in the set of her jaw gave him pause for thought.

According to Michael Barratt, the man who brought her here, her name was Kate Devereau, an artist, none of which gave him any clues as to her character. In the beginning, Snow had instinctively thought she might be the murderer in this case, due to the amount of blood found in the cottage.  Michael Barratt had found her unconscious in this cottage on the outskirts of Guildford. He said he knew her, but had no idea why she had found it necessary to be there. As an estate agent, he had been arranging to have the cottage ready for Miss Devereau to rent.

It was all a little mysterious, compounded by the fact Michael Barratt looked as if he had been barbecued. His clothes were burned black in places, apart from his jacket, which was clean and several sizes too small and obviously didn’t belong to him. The back of his head and hands were raw and blistered, suggesting there were probably more extensive burns to his body.

The estate agent had offered no explanation for his condition, but stubbornly kept asking after Kate, which might possibly indicate an emotional involvement. He had no answer for what had happened to her, except to say her health had not been good for a while. If it hadn’t been for all the blood, it would have seemed innocent enough.

So why didn’t Snow believe him?

Given the state of him, Michael Barratt was in no position to convince David Snow of anything. Naturally suspicious of everyone involved in any of his cases, Snow couldn’t help but suspect Michael Barratt. The man was obviously hiding something, for despite his obvious devotion to the unconscious woman, something didn’t feel right. He must know more than he said.

There had to be more to this case than these two people. The macabre and similar death of Miss Devereau’s brother Danny had opened this case several weeks ago, a clear indication someone they all knew had an axe to grind. Someone cruel and malicious, hell bent on exacting some kind of revenge?

 

Snow walked over to the window, more for a change of scenery than to escape from the body of Kate Devereau. It was getting dark outside, and the lights in the car park were coming on, one by one. With visiting time approaching, more cars were arriving and he prayed nothing else would happen tonight. He was tired, but not looking forward to his retirement next year. His life seemed empty now, what would it be like then? He didn’t want to retire, he liked his job. It gave him a reason to get up every morning.

He found the idea that this woman may never regain consciousness unsettling, as he wanted this case solved and put away as soon as possible. The doctors could find no medical reason for the coma, or so they said. They had found sedatives in her system, but they should have worn off by now. Her heart was fine and no sign of a stroke. Either she didn’t want to wake up, or she was faking.

Maybe if he pinched or touched her, took her by surprise, would she open her eyes?  For whatever reason, and he couldn’t think of one, he couldn’t do it. He could hardly blame her for faking. Why weren’t there more people in her life?

He remembered one of his earlier cases, involving one Gillian Anderton. How she had completely fooled them into believing her story. If it hadn’t been for his sergeant, Jim Harris, she would still be free. Snow tended to suspect women a lot more these days, just in case.

An agent, Samantha Cameron, managed all of Miss Devereau’s art, but was probably only a business contact.  Judging by the barbecued boyfriend, someone thought well of her, but how did she feel about him? So many questions which would never be answered if she didn’t wake up.

He looked back to the bed, hoping to see her open her eyes, but nothing had changed, she hadn’t moved at all.

What kind of woman are you, Kate Devereau?

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The Ninth Life can be found on Amazon:  myBook.to/TheLastLife

There are also free copies on #Instafreebie:  bit.ly/2i930ah

And of course, I would love to hear your thoughts?

 


 

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The Ninth Life…

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All this week,

the first book in my trilogy is free on Amazon.

For two reasons really. Firstly, the trilogy is almost finished. The final book is rolling around on the editing table as we speak.

Secondly, because The Ninth Life will no longer be exclusively on Amazon the following week. Thought I would let it spread its wings and see what happens.

Universal Amazon Link:  myBook.to/TheNinthLife

 

 

The Ninth Life is a dark and disturbing mystery thriller about a middle-aged woman who has escaped death so many times, she would appear to have nine lives.

At least, that’s what the mysterious and annoying voice in her head would have her believe.

Always a bit of a loner, with a failed marriage and relationships behind her, Kate Devereau’s life has not been an easy one. Despite her apparent immortality, death might have been welcome.

Set in present day England, Kate’s reputation as an artist has grown, but she has no life other than art. No friends or husband. When people around her start to die at the hand of a serial killer, she begins to wonder if she will be next.

 Is she finally running out of time? Is it her turn to die?