More Reviews Wanted: Serang by Craig Boyack #Adventure & Action @coldhandboyack

We are running this post again to try and encourage some more reviews for Craig’s wonderful adventure story. We loved it and know a lot of you did too, so if you have been meaning to write a review, just a few words will do, please show Serang some love?

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Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus, begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.


 

Today, we are delighted to host Craig Boyack, the author of so many of our favourite books, many of which have been reviewed here on our website.

Serang, the main character in this new book, was first introduced in The Voyage of the Lanternfish, the very popular and amazing adventure story.

While Craig is here today, I am sure you are dying to know how he came up with such an unusual idea!

Over to you, Craig!

 

Thanks for inviting me over today to talk about my newest book. Serang is a supporting story for Voyage of the Lanternfish, which is destined to become a trilogy.

Lanternfish, and therefore Serang, is set in a fantasy world, but that isn’t descriptive enough. This isn’t one of those medieval fantasy tales like you might be used to. Lanternfish is a pirate adventure, so there are tall ships, sea monsters, and magic. I’ve heard the term “flintlock fantasy” before, and that’s a bit more accurate.

I touched upon Di Guo Qishi in Lanternfish. This is the country Serang was born in. The area intrigued me as I wrote it, and I wanted to explore more of it myself. This bodes well for Serang, because it’s an interesting place. I’m not even trying to hide the fact that it’s based upon China. China is huge and covers many different climates and ecological zones. In Serang we get to explore some of those, from Bamboo forests to mountainous areas, to frozen deserts.

Wildlife is part of a setting like this, too. There are some creatures you might expect, like monkeys. There are some that I twisted a bit, like the night parrots. I don’t really delve deeply into many of these things, but they enhance the setting greatly. I used a few real creatures that live in Asia today. There are some strange creatures that didn’t need a lot of manipulation, like the saiga antelope or the goonch catfish. I ramped up some creatures, like camel spiders. In this story they’re deadly poisonous. This isn’t to say a couple of fantasy creatures don’t play larger roles. The child of the dragon came across quite well, I think. I also came up with some unique creatures like saltwater moles who live along the beaches, and the bearcoon. Then there are the Fu Dogs.

The political climate in Di Guo Qishi is that of war. A new emperor ascended the throne, and he’s hell bent on westernizing. This means the introduction of firearms to a culture that never had them before. He is waging war on the Island Prefectures, and it isn’t going well. He’s pressing men into military service, impounding things like food for his armies, and making life pretty miserable. I’m not hiding the concept that the Island Prefectures are based upon Japan. We don’t get to visit them, but I may do that in the Lanternfish trilogy.

The other part of this request was for supporting characters. Young Serang is raised in a monastery by some militaristic monks. She learns to read, write, and perfect her martial arts skills. In this segment of the story, she has a couple of masters, and a few youthful friends.

When she leaves the monastery, she is fleeing for her life. She runs across a wandering monk named Yong. He is a grouchy older fellow who has no desire to take on a student. He soon comes to the conclusion that Serang has no other options and takes her under his wing. His methods are brutal, but efficient. Yong has a certain charm about him, and I think readers will enjoy him.

There are other characters involved, but they come and go from the story. There is a doctor and her daughter who help our wandering monks at the edge of the frozen desert. This was fun, because I got to explore some ancient medical techniques, like using honey as an antibiotic.

They join a camel caravan along the Silk Road, and it’s led by the brother of a man who appeared in Lanternfish. There is no requirement to read Lanternfish first, and Carlos Velasco carries his own weight without meeting Don Velasco first.

There is also an elderly monk who is from the Island Prefectures. She plays a pivotal role in Sarang’s journey.

Serang is a coming of age story involving one of the more interesting characters from Voyage of the Lanternfish. I hope your readers will give it a chance.

 

Wow, that was some introduction, Craig!

Thank you so much for coming along to tell us all about Serang. I am sure everyone will want to read about her!

 

Purchase Link http://mybook.to/Serang

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Our Review

I first encountered Serang in Craig Boyack’s thoroughly enjoyable adventure story of pirates and monsters, The Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Serang was one of the crew and although she was a fascinating albeit enigmatic character, I jumped at the chance to get to know her better.

The daughter of a fisherman, her life changes dramatically after he is lost at sea.

She ends up in the care of an elderly monk called Yong, to learn the ways of the monastery. When the monastery is destroyed, to escape persecution, they begin one of the strangest of adventures.

Outspoken and a nimble footed ninja, Serang is fiercely loyal, but also addicted to something called Huangjiu, which I suspect is Saki, or something equally lethal. Her escapades while under the influence are hilarious!

 

This review fails miserably to convey the brilliance of this adventure, and it deserves to be made into a film, for the fight scenes are some of the best I have ever read.

 

Our 5* Review for The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #hard-boiled mystery @greenwoodross

 

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‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Praise for The Snow Killer:

Move over Rebus and Morse; a new entry has joined the list of great crime investigators in the form of Detective Inspector John Barton. A rich cast of characters and an explosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.’ author Richard Burke

‘With The Snow Killer, master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog

‘Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that’s spiced with a lot of humour.’ author Kath Middleton


 

Our Review

Detective John Barton is overworked and overweight, but one of the most likeable characters I have met in a long while. We discover that he is a happily married family man, most unusual in his line of work. His relationship with his family and colleagues is a delight to read about and a lovely contrast to the job he does.

The opening chapters are set fifty years ago in a snowstorm and sets a serious tone for the story, as a child watches in silent horror as his family is brutally slaughtered. Fifty years later, people begin to die every time it snows. But who is the Snow Killer?

The Snow Killer is a brilliantly written detective story with perfect pace and just the right amount of tension. Although, saying that, the end of the story will have you gasping for breath as the drama goes through the roof with such a twisting finale that I really didn’t see coming!

This is a story that will chill you to the bone and not just because the drama intensifies every time it snows.

I will be eagerly watching for next story in the DI Barton series…

 

Our Review for Silent Mayhem by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #SuspenseThriller

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Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.

When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.

While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.

Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?

Our 5* Review

Another remarkable story in the Mayhem series, and the main character, Mr Mayhem gets even better!

Infuriatingly enigmatic as always, I love the way he adores his crows, his wife, and even Shawnee Daniels in his own inimitable way.

I loved reading the fascinating history about the Navajo Indians and the importance of the eagle feathers.

They say that all good writing should leave you wanting answers, and Silent Mayhem, the third book in the series is chock full of questions as it gears up for the next instalment.

In the meantime, I have a few of my own…

How, exactly, can a cold-blooded killer be so kind, and believe that Shawnee had killed anyone?

How did he cure her mysterious illness and why did he want to keep her safe?

And who is this Navajo skin walker?

I can thoroughly recommend Silent Mayhem, the pace might give you a coronary though, so you have been warned!

The Latest Review!

Kevin Cooper

27 July 2019

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Lily White in Detroit by Cynthia Harrison #ThrillerMystery @CynthiaHarriso1

 

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Private investigator Lily White has a client with a faulty moral compass. When the client is arrested for murdering his wife and her alleged lover, Lily follows her intuition and her own leads. If she’s wrong, she’ll at least know she did her job.

Detroit police detective Derrick Paxton remembers Lily from another case. He understands she suffers from PTSD and thinks her judgment is impaired. He goes after her client and the evidence he needs to close the case. When Lily is kidnapped, the case takes an unexpected turn.

In a sometimes racially divided city, a black cop and a white PI work together to peel back every layer to find the truth. What they find leads them to each other, but do they have enough to bring the true criminals to justice?

Excerpt

They laughed and exchanged a look. It felt to Paxton like their eyes did something more than see each other. They connected. Tight as two loose strings making a strong knot. “Yes. And then today he brought flowers. He said we’d had an awful time of it with my room being broken into, and he needed to be there to surprise me and make me feel safe. ‘Give a heartsick guy a break’ were his words.”

She picked up her drink and took a swallow. “This is good,” she said. “I feel the vodka.”

 “So how’d he know you’d be there?”

“I didn’t think about that until I was on the way home, um, here.” Paxton drained his martini glass. “Home is here,” he said, “if you want it.”

She slid one of her legs out from under her and wiggled it under his thigh. “We have a ways to go, don’t we?” But the way she said it made it clear she was in this with him. He was not feeling the love alone. He took her bare foot and began to massage it, rubbing the arch and the heel and smoothing his fingers over her toes. “So, how’d he know?”

“If you think about it, you’ll be able to solve that one before I finish my drink.” She sipped. “That feels so good,” she said, pulling her other foot out from under her and sliding it his way.

“I’d say our security spotted him too close to the building, parked in his car overlong, kept an eye, and when you came out of the apartment, saw him follow you,” Paxton said.

“Yep,” Lily said. “So we have the tape if we need it. I guess that depends on what you tell me.” By this time, he’d started working out the stress points of her other foot. She made soft sounds of pleasure. “My God, where’d you learn to do that?”

“Reflexology book.”

“Hmmm. It’s better than vodka.”

 “You want a refill?”

“I want Chinese food. I forgot to eat today.”

“What about the pizza earlier?”

“Look at your watch.”

He did. It was after midnight. Okay, so pizza was yesterday. She was already on her phone, ordering a string of dishes, all their favourites. When it occurred to him they already had their favourites, their habits and routines, it made him happy and a little afraid.

 

Our Review

“Many thanks to the author for the advanced digital copy of this crime suspense book. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.”

Lily White is a private investigator but there was a time when she was someone else.

These days she is recovering from post-traumatic stress caused by a gruelling incident in her past and is definitely in the wrong job. Far too much spying on guilty wives and handling distraught husbands for her liking. She much prefers honest investigating.

Now there is a dead body.

And she had just been hired to find the killer.

This was well out of her comfort zone, especially for her PTSD, but too exciting to miss.

I loved the American setting, walking around Detroit with the characters seemed as natural as breathing, so the author must know it well.

All of the characters are well written and real, but I especially liked the two main characters, Lily and Paxton and the way they interact with each other. Such lovely chemistry between them.

The story had just enough subtle tension to keep me turning the pages and I have a feeling this won’t be the last we see of Lily and Paxton. At least I hope not…


 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Our Review of Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree #Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction @Lizzie_Chantree

 

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

Our Review

This book opens with a typical mum, Skye, waiting at the school gates for her little boy, Leo.

Thea, another mother, is waiting there too, but that is where the similarity ends. She has a child and is secretive about her past.

By the end of chapter four, I discover that Skye is not who she claims to be either, something to do with the death of her husband Reece.

As they become friends, we gradually begin to learn more about these two women, but something doesn’t add up, what are they not telling us or each other?

The book seems to concentrate on Skye as the main character, but I was already guessing she might not be the only one. This mysterious element winds its way around everyone, creating a lovely guessing game. Even when bits of the truth are revealed, your mind refuses to believe them at first.

This book has everything, mystery, danger and humour. The relationship between the two women was believable and well written, as was the love affair between Skye and Zack.

This story moves smoothly between all these fascinating characters, as they evade the truth like experts, always managing to keep back important details.

A complex and compelling style of writing from Lizzie Chantree, I will be reading much more of her work!

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Biography

Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Contact Lizzie

Website: www.lizziechantree.com
Author page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.chantree.3
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ~ Secrets… #DarkFamilyMystery

 

SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Secrets, a haunting family drama, is about deeply buried guilt and all the secrets and suspicions that invade and control our lives.

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 just mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate further.

Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem. It was almost as though something was wrong and he was trying to fix it.
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 Review:

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.

Excerpt of Secrets…


Deep in thought, Maggie started to play with her breakfast and it was Jack’s turn to watch fondly as she doodled with the egg yolk, spreading strange and bizarre patterns across the plate. The early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window bathing the breakfast scene in a cosy glow. She looked like a child sitting there in a pretty cotton housecoat, pale honey-coloured hair falling around her shoulders like a halo. She had something on her mind, he was sure. Knowing he didn’t really have the time and hoping she’d say it was nothing, he said, ‘What’s up, love, did you have another bad night with Danny?’

She slowly looked up at him from the mess on her plate, and he could tell by the way her usually bright blue eyes had darkened to the colour of the sea that he wasn’t about to hear anything like what he wanted to hear.
Looking back down at her plate, she said, ‘I’m very worried about him, Jack. These terrible nightmares are getting him down; and now this thing about an imaginary friend, I don’t like it, something’s wrong.’
Jumping straight in, hoping to get it over with quickly so he could get out of the house, he said, ‘You know what the doctor told us, he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It will only make things worse if we try and make Danny let go before he’s ready.’

‘Yes, I know what he said,’ an edge creeping into her voice, ‘but he’s not God. You don’t have to take everything he says as gospel. I don’t happen to think this thing with Toby is the same as a comfy blanket or a favourite teddy a child drags around with him. Can’t you see how he’s changed?
‘… he’s destructive, rude and downright messy. Don’t you think dragging half the garden into the kitchen last week was going a bit too far? You saw his face when I tried to tell him off, he wasn’t the least bit sorry. Judging from the skid marks all over the place it was plain to see he’d had a whale of a time, and what did he say when I asked him why he’d done it? … because Toby wanted him to.

‘… Jack, can’t you see we have to make him understand this Toby is only in his mind and he’s too old to play these pretend games?’
He took a deep breath, painfully aware the time was getting on. ‘Maggie, he’s only seven. You’re making too much of it. The doctor said to give him time and not to bully him into giving up Toby. It might make his nightmares worse.’
She opened her mouth to say something, but before she could, he reminded her again that she had agreed the gentle approach was best.
‘Plus, you haven’t given that idea of yours idea a chance. Having Cathy take Danny to school with Michael may work. He’ll soon see that having a real friend is lots more fun. Have you asked him again about joining the cubs?’
She snorted. ‘I did, and his answer was the same as before. Toby doesn’t want him to.’
‘Give him time, Maggie, he’ll come around.’

Maggie seemed to have run out of wind for the time being, so he took his empty plate over to the sink and left it on the draining board. Straightening his tie as he turned to her again, he said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time to talk this morning. I have four books waiting a final decision and what with the deadline and our new budget, I think I’ll have to reject two of them, you know how I hate sending out rejection letters. It doesn’t make for a nice day, especially when a book is worth publishing. If you’re that worried about Danny, we’ll talk about it tonight.’
Maggie frowned and gave him the kind of look that said, sure we will. Jack had seen it many times and responded in a way she had grown used to over the years. He pulled her into his arms, squeezed her gently, saying, ‘I promise we’ll talk about it later.’
Then he kissed her goodbye, grabbed his briefcase and left.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ “Faring to France on a Shoe” @ValeriePoore

 

A travelogue 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.

And why ‘Faring to France on a Shoe’? Well, download a sample and then all will be clear, or just have a ‘look inside’!

Our Review

I have loved reading all of Valerie Poore’s books about her adventures afloat. “Faring to France on a Shoe” is a very different challenge. This time, Valerie and her partner Koos find and fall in love with a Dutch barge called the Hennie-Ha. Smaller than their other barges at just 15 metres long and not big enough for Koos, a tall Dutchman, but it would be perfect for ‘faring’ or cruising the French waterways, something Valerie has always wanted to do.

Living on a boat or a barge is a challenge, for everything is so compact with not much room to spare. This alone leads to situations that would test anyone’s patience. I have always admired the way Valerie copes with whatever life throws at her, her ingenuity and determination always leading to the joy of her achievements.

In her previous books, Valerie has been faced with some immense challenges, and you come to admire the strength and humour it took to overcome them.  This time, I thought, would be different. A delightful holiday on the French waterways. What could be better?

Right from the start, the problems arrive, some more disastrous than others. Undaunted, as usual, Valerie and Koos master them all, leaving just the numerous locks to contend with.

I have had the misfortune to be introduced to the locks on the River Thames in the UK, something I didn’t enjoy and wouldn’t do again even if my life depended on it! So take it from me; locks can be tricky and dangerous places.

But the holiday in France turned out to be worth the trouble it took to get there. Valerie’s brilliant powers of description introduce you to so many amazing sights, sounds and delights of an amazing journey, leaving me sorry to come home…

 

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About The Author

Val Poore was born in London, England, and grew up in both north London and the west of Dorset. After completing her degree in English, History and French at Bournemouth, she took a further course in the conservation and restoration of museum artefacts at Lincoln College of Art which qualified her for nothing at all really. She then spent two years doing furniture restoration before going to South Africa in 1981 with her husband and small children.

Valerie left South Africa permanently in 2001 and has settled in the Netherlands, where she shares her time between a liveaboard barge in Rotterdam and a cottage in Zeeland. She teaches academic and business English on a freelance basis and still writes in her spare time, although she admits there’s not enough of that at the moment. In fact, she has been writing since childhood and wrote stories, articles and radio plays for years before embarking on her first book in 2005. Val loves travelling especially when it involves roughing it a bit. She feels that she has better adventures and more interesting experiences that way.

She has written six books altogether: the Skipper’s Child (teen/kidult fiction), How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics (sort of grown-up, humorous fiction), Watery Ways and Harbour Ways (memoirs of her first years of living on a barge in Holland), Walloon Ways (three years as a weekend Belgian) and African Ways (a memoir her life on a farm in South Africa). Her seventh book (another novel) is in progress but is taking rather longer than she had hoped. This is simply due to real life getting in the way.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Our Review of Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook

 

A woman with a hidden past. A new love on the horizon. Will the truth set her free or cost her everything?

Madeleine Ross has meticulously organized her world to leave no trace of her criminal past. After creating a new identity for herself, her only remaining connection to her previous life is the security work she does for a small-town insurance company. But when she starts falling for her handsome boss, Dan, she’s worried letting him in will expose secrets best kept locked away…

As their attraction grows stronger, Madeline’s attempts to keep Dan in the dark go horribly wrong when a dangerous ex emerges from her unsavory past. After her former flame gives her an offer she can’t refuse, she has one choice left: ditch her life as a thief to let Dan in or embrace her shady dealings to destroy her only shot at a happy future…

Parallel Lies is the first book in a fast-paced romantic suspense series. If you like troubled heroines, character-driven action, and powerful emotions, then you’ll love Georgia Rose’s thrilling novel.

Buy Parallel Lies to unlock a secret identity today!

  Our Review

Right from the beginning of what appears to be the idyllic story of  a woman’s life, you sense the ominous presence of a serious mystery seeping through the pages.

Maddy’s life seems perfect, but if you look closely you can see the joins. This is a woman with carefully guarded secrets. She is not what she pretends to be but gives nothing away. You sense how vitally important it is that it stays buried.

Slowly, almost teasingly, we start to learn the truth about Maddy. At first so proper, so delightfully independent, but as we begin to discover the truth, we find a very different woman. The more we find out, the more we know that what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. She confides with the reader with candid honesty about the life she has so carefully constructed, and why it had been necessary.

As the skeletons of her life begin to show, we discover more grubby secrets, all alluding to something or someone so terrifying, she once ran away from.

The tension mounts as the past threatens to ruin all her carefully constructed peace, and I desperately wanted Maddy to rid herself of her demons and find happiness at last, but it looked hopeless.

I really enjoyed reading Parallel Lies, a beautifully written mystery with more twists and turns than a rattlesnake. Maddy is not your typical heroine, she comes with all manner of faults and failings. Some you won’t approve of, but you will understand them.

About the Author

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Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favourite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.

Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.

Following a long stint working in the law Georgia set up her own business providing administration services for other companies which she does to this day managing to entwine that work along with her writing.

Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her passion for people watching and her overactive imagination!

Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage.

 

Our Review for Tales from an Irish Garden by Sally Cronin #FantasyRomance @sgc58

 

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The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.
As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians.

(Lerpersian, I have discovered, is another name for a Leprechaun.)

 

Our Review

 

Tales from an Irish Garden begins at Christmas time in the magical Spanish garden. Queen Filigree was looking forward to the festivities, but bad news arrived first.

The Queen and all her subjects could no longer stay in Spain and would have to leave their beautiful home and find another with the help of the Storyteller.

At the eleventh hour, another location was found in Ireland, where they will need to adapt to the new surroundings and very different weather.

How this was achieved was beautifully described in perfect detail in a series of magical stories. I loved all these stories, but will always remember one, The Kindness of Mice…

Excerpt from The Kindness of Mice…

After the piglet race, the leaves in the forest and the magic garden began to turn brown and cold winds whipped across the treetops with a whistling that alerted all who lived in this special place. Stores were being collected and added to special chambers in the bowels of the royal palace. Seeds, dried summer fruits, flagons of amber nectar and small hessian bags of the finest flour, milled along the river to the south of the forest. The Storyteller had recommended this particular mill because of fine qualities of Herbert who ran it with his son Calum.

One night as the storyteller joined the queen and her husband for a light supper, he related the story of how mice, which are usually the much preyed upon pests in most mills, were actually protected and revered in this particular grain crushing establishment. It is common for mice to be caught up in the hand threshing at harvest time and be swept into the back of horse drawn carts that transported the grain to the mill. Usually several cats, and rat-catching dogs, would patrol the building and its surroundings; grabbing any unsuspecting rodent silly enough to hitch a ride. However, Herbert was a very kind and gentle man, and did not want to cause unnecessary suffering to these little creatures.

Before any crushing of the grain was begun, he removed small stones, leaves and other unwanted materials through giant sifters. There were usually four or five of the little rodents left running around looking for an escape from the high sided prison. They were scooped up by a leather gloved hand and placed gently into a wooden box with holes drilled into the sides. At the end of each day, the miller’s son Calum would harness their horse Ned to the cart and head off to the next county. There he would open the lids, tipping the mice out into a wild meadow that would never be mown, and was covered by luscious wild grains and flowers.

You might think that this is rather laborious, and that a couple of feisty farm cats would have made short shrift of the forty or so mice that the miller caught every day. However, there was a special reason for his thoughtfulness. When he was a small boy, his parents had been very poor. His father had broken his leg badly during harvesting one year and could no longer work. His mother would toil in the fields instead, but if they didn’t save enough or grow enough in their small garden, it would be a very lean winter. One Christmas night the little boy was huddled in his cot, shivering with hunger and the cold. In the flickering candlelight he saw movement on the old stool by his bed. At first, he thought he was dreaming, but rubbing his eyes in amazement, he saw three mice scurrying back and forth up the legs and down. When he looked closer, he saw that they were leaving little morsels of bread and bits of apple. As you can imagine he wolfed down the food, and through the night it kept coming. In the morning he told his mother of this strange event and she felt his forehead fearing that he had caught a fever.

She went downstairs to boil some water to give him and was astounded to see that the kitchen table was laden with all sorts of crumbs and bits and bobs of fruit, including some late blackberries. By the fire were hundreds of small pieces of coal and with a shaking hand she placed some on the fire with a few sticks collected from the forest. She went out to the shed where their one hen was kept safe at night to find an egg still warm to the touch.

She found a little drop of brandy in the bottom of a long-discarded bottle and took out the packet of lard and a small pack of flour she had managed to buy for their Christmas dinner. Putting all the offerings and the scraps she had found into a large bowl, she mixed it together with the egg. She used a little lard to grease an iron pot and poured the mixture in, tying muslin over the top to seal it. She put a large pot of well-water on to boil and placed the bowl over the top to steam. That Christmas lunch was the best ever, and the pudding was delicious. The family sat back with full stomachs for the first time in weeks and all of them gave thanks to the little rodents that had showed such kindness to them. It was clearly a change-of-luck gift, as the day after Christmas, a knock on the door startled them as they sat eating the leftovers in front of the fire. Herbert’s father limped across the stone floor; partially opening the door so as not to let the cold wind into the house. He found a tall man, finely and warmly dressed, on the doorstep carrying a large hamper and who, smiling at the bemused man, asked if Betty was home. On hearing her name, he ran to the door and flung herself into the stranger’s arms. ‘Oh, my goodness, can it really be you, Ciaran… I thought you had been lost at sea?’

The tale took two hours in the telling, but to cut things short, since I know you are keen to know more about the mice. It turns out that Ciaran was Herbert’s uncle, who had been shipwrecked many years earlier and given up for dead. In fact, he had been washed up on a beautiful desert island, and in the course of his explorations, had discovered a chest of treasure. He had been rescued this summer and had returned to Ireland a wealthy man. You see what I mean about the change-of-luck gift from the mice.

Ciaran bought and renovated the local mill and Herbert’s father worked alongside him. Once he left school, he joined them, and when they passed away, he was left with this excellent business. As his father had done before him, he swore never to harm a mouse, and over the years thousands had been rescued from the grain instead of being put through the hopper onto the grinding stone. Eventually, fewer and fewer mice found their way to the mill. The areas that Calum deposited them in were left wild and undisturbed, with plenty of food all year round and plenty of safe places to nest and bring baby mice up safely. Offers were made to buy the land by the farmers in the area, but they were always told that the land was not for sale at any cost. If you are wondering where the rest of the treasure went that was found on that far of desert island, wonder no more. It bought many acres of meadow where not just mice, but animals, birds and insects thrived whilst enriching the surrounding countryside with their pollen gathering and droppings.

* * *

#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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