#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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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…

#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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Our Review for Emilia by Na’ama Yehuda #Psychological Fiction @NaamaYehuda

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It is the late 1800s. A young child is kidnapped by her tutor and secreted into seclusion, muted by terror. Will she find sanctuary, and her voice, before it is too late and she is silenced forever? Can anyone she risks to trust, truly protect her? What if safety is only an illusion and nightmares come alive?

As the child’s trail goes cold, Mark Monsey, police officer, remains haunted by it. In spite of little departmental support, he doggedly follows what clues he has. Crisscrossing the county from isolated lighthouses, estates, and groundskeeper’s cottages, to limestone caves, spooky cellars and dreary train stations, he becomes increasingly aware things are not what they seem and he is being deceived.

Can he find the truth, and will it matter when storm clouds and death spread faster than any of them can foresee?

 

Our Review

We first meet KayAnne Brisbane travelling on a train with Emilia, a delicate five-year-old child, a most mysterious beginning. How they came to be on this train is brought to us slowly by revealing flashbacks that explain KayAnne’s motives. She had been employed as a tutor for the child, but after six weeks, she was informed that her services were no longer required, as the child would be going to boarding school.

Unable to bear the thought of her fragile charge being subjected to this, she runs away with the child. But where were they going and what did she hope to find when they got there?

This book is written in an atmospheric style, reminding me very much of a hauntingly illustrated copy of Jane Eyre that I read years ago. Reading this story will break your heart, a compelling story of fear and pain, abuse and nightmare.

The horrifying suspense is there from the first page, turning like a corkscrew with your emotions. The harsh subject matter is somehow made worse by the powerful description and settings, but there is healing there too. You feel it slowly working its magic as you read on, all the way to the nail-biting conclusion…

 

Excerpt

She took a deep breath. She looked down at Emilia, who seemed fit to fall over with exhaustion. “We’ll be on the train soon,” KayAnne said, “and then you can rest some more, okay?” Emilia hung big eyes on her and said nothing, not even in a nod. She knew the child could use some reassurance.

She should tell Emilia where they were going, or at least tell her that all would be well … but she didn’t know if it will all be well, and felt unable to promise what might unravel. She could only put one foot in front of the other and hope beyond reason even as she dragged this poor child all this distance. What if what Emilia needed—what they both were desperate for—wasn’t there? Bereft of reassuring things to say, KayAnne just squeezed Emilia’s hand and prayed her own fear didn’t get communicated anyway…

 

About the Author

Na’ama Yehuda was born and raised in Israel, lived in Africa as a young child, and currently resides in New York City. A Speech Language Pathologist and Audiologist with over 25 years’ experience, she works with children of all ages, teaches internationally, consults, writes, trains professionals, and loves it all. Writing is in Na’ama’s soul and children are her passion, as she aims to spotlight connection, communication, and attachment in development. She also thoroughly enjoys a good story, a good laugh, and a goodly bit of playfulness. One of seven sisters, and aunt (and grand-aunt) to many nieces and nephews, Na’ama is blessed with an amazing family. Goats and beaches never fail to make her happy, and she adores life, words, and the grace of connection. Author of both fiction and professional titles, she is always writing at least two things simultaneously (Yes, a sequel to “Outlawed Hope” is in the works, as is a book for young adults, and more). Visit her at: naamayehuda.com

 

 

 

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Tastes Like Fear… @sarah_hilary

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You’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

 

This is the third book in Sarah Hilary’s crime thriller series, and possibly the best one yet. Featuring another seriously nasty case for DI Marnie Rome and her crew to solve.

The author seems to delight in exposing all the dark corners in this world.

Based in Battersea, a place I have lived in and know well, has increased the realism for me, with the sheer accuracy of the setting and the life force of the place.

Teenage girls go missing all the time, especially in London, and for a multitude of reasons. Not many people seem to care as much as Marnie Rome about their well being.

I love the attention to detail in this creepy thriller. The concise plotting is so tense you will find it hard to take a breath.  (The perfect role model for yours truly!)

At times the story was too real, dealing as it does with children’s fates, but Sarah Hilary handles it with a great deal of sensitivity and care.

I am looking forward to Sarah’s next book, Quieter Than Killing, with anticipation.

 

 

Our Review for Voyage of the Lanternfish by C S Boyack #Action&Adventure @coldhandboyack

 

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An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.
He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.
James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Our Review

The Voyage of the Lanternfish is altogether a far more complicated and serious work than the author’s previous stories. Kidnapping and talk of starting a war had me thinking I had picked up the wrong book.

The solid sense of humour, wonderful storyline and intriguing characters kept me turning the pages and I almost read it all in one sitting.

This story has everything.

Adventure, magic, romance and an incredible cast of some of the strangest creatures I have ever read about. I couldn’t decide which character I like the most, as they all bring something special to the story.

I have read most of C S Boyack’s books and enjoyed them all, but I will remember The Voyage of the Lanternfish for some time.

If you like magical fantasy with a strong sense of realism, this brilliant book is for you…

 

 

#Throwback Thursday: Something in the Air by Ben Starling…

 

 

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What if it’s true that you can never really go home? Returning from a soul-crushing war, Daniel Dragan is determined to put the past behind him.

But with his beloved uncle dead and the town’s economy in a slump, there may not be much to keep him in San Prospero, California.

That is, till he is startled by veterinarian Willow Dixon at the embankment overlooking their hometown and its new factory. A desperately needed job offer there may offer Daniel the chance he needs – but all is not as it seems at the factory and Willow, determined to save the inhabitants of her animal sanctuary, wants the factory’s operations stopped. Sometimes the road home is not what we expect. And not the one we left behind…

This novella was gifted to me by the author, Ben Starling, when I showed an interest. I loved the cover and was in the mood for a romantic mystery.
The main characters Daniel and Willow were charming and very real, and the way the author handled the romantic scenes was really impressive! There were strong messages about how man’s greed can threaten our planet, something I know is close to the authors heart.
I must confess to being a little confused by the mysterious hair dryer, and must have missed something there.
I am not a huge fan of short stories, as they are never quite long enough for me somehow. This story could have been so much longer, as I for one, wanted to know if disaster would be avoided and that Willow really would be okay. I get the feeling this story or its theme may continue somewhere else along the way, and I shall be looking forward to it!

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Biography
Ben Starling is passionate about environmental conservation and sport, both central themes in his work. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades.

He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively until about five years ago. He is 6’3″and 185 lbs.

Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and an M Phil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.

http://ben-starling.com
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/b0167GZ4YC

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

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

 

 

 

Our Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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About the Author

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

New Edition includes exclusive material and author Q&A

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

 

Our Review

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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