#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.

 

#Throwback Thursday: Will O’ the Wisp by Craig Boyack @coldhandboyack #Supernatural

It is Halloween again, and the perfect time to run my favourite spooky book again!

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations. Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, face the wilderness, and an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.
Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves elements of suspense and is set in the mid-1970s.

 Our Review

I have long been a fan of Craig Boyack the brilliant writer and blogger.     Been meaning to read his book, Will o the Wisp for ages too, so what better time than Halloween?

Will o the Wisp is a very spooky story about the single-minded determination of a 15-year-old girl, Patty Hall, to rid her family of an ancient curse. Something she knew nothing about until noticing a glowing light in the woods near her home, when it seemed to attack a college student with gruesome results.

Patty is quite a character, funny and smart, despite suffering the constant bullying at school because she wears leg braces. She decides to find out more about the lights and her family’s connection to them.  A school History project gives Patty the opportunity to research the lights. What she learns and the lengths she is prepared to go to, and the risks she takes, will earn your admiration. I thought she was amazing, so brave and determined to save her family.

I loved the chapter where Patty visits an old haunted library in Washington, alone. What happens there made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I wonder if I would have been as brave at that age.

This was a hard book to review, as describing all the good stuff would have revealed spoilers, but I recommend reading Will o the Wisp, you will not be disappointed, but you will be scared to death!

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Here are a few words from Craig himself…

I’m on the verge of being an empty nester, and I like to write fiction. This blog is to share ideas with readers and writers. I have a decent body of work on Amazon, and I hope you’ll check some of them out. They are all speculative fiction, but seem to stay closest to science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy.

I have other interests that may sneak in from time to time. I like the great outdoors and all it has to offer. Morels and huckleberries are particularly fun. I once caught and released a 7-foot white sturgeon from the Snake River.

I’ve posted using categories to make everything easier. They work like this.

Writing: This is me talking about writing, asking questions, or discussing my projects.

Blogging: When I figure something out, it will go here. There might be something about my number of followers, or a new milestone. I tend to follow those people who interact in the comments.

Muse: This one gets pretty crazy. This is where I consult with my Muse, Lorelei. It involves some of the characters from my books.  There are a few characters that are unique to the blog too, like a raven named Doubt. I try to make it about writing, and there are sometimes subtle lessons included. New readers will appreciate the Entertaining Stories Primer.

Short Stories & Vignettes: Sometimes I get fully detailed scenes from my Muse. This is how my stories are born. If I have a good one, I’ll post about it. Some of them might turn into books, some won’t. I have a plan to post some micro-fiction here too. If this stuff interests you, check out the category on the sidebar.

The Idea Mill: I post about things I find online that fuel my imagination. Push feeds make this easy, and when something is particularly interesting I save it for one of these posts. These are the kind of ideas that could fuel an entire novel, or add an element to something you’re in the process of drafting. I may include some of them in my stories, I may not. Let me know if something here fuels your imagination.

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Lisa Burton Radio: This is the newest category. The main character from my first book is Lisa Burton. She’s a robot and makes regular appearances on this blog, usually under the Muse category. In early 2015 I decided to make her into the spokesmodel for this blog. There are posters, free paper dolls, and she started making guest appearances on other blogs. As her popularity grew, I decided she could interview the characters of other authors to help them promote their stories.

Uncategorized: This is where everything else goes. I might post about fishing, gathering wild morels, sourdough, or anything else that strikes me.

I try to keep my two most recent titles in the sidebar with direct purchase links. There is a slideshow with all my covers, and they are all available through my Amazon author site. That is also linked in the sidebar.

My books are all e-books. Don’t panic if you don’t have a Kindle. Amazon provides a free app for almost every electronic device in existence. I included a link at the top of my sidebar to make it easy for you.

Come on in, it’s fun here.

P.S. I am declaring this to be an award free blog. I appreciate your finding me worthy, but your comments are enough.

Craig

 

Breaking News! 5* review: Simple by Anita Dawes #FamilyHorror

Look what I found this morning….

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Image created by AEM

A wonderful poster, created by Amy Elisabeth Miller (AEM) @magicalworldweb to celebrate the arrival of her incredible review for Anita’s second book, Simple…

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

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#ThrowbackThursday: Blind Cupid by Max Brandt #MysteryThriller @max13brandt

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Blind Cupid by Max Brandt

‘Blind love, blind stupid promises. Borne of despair so deep to be unimaginable…’

I have never been much of a fan of crime/mystery fiction, preferring to read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and the like. Then my sister-in-law, Jaye Marie finished writing her first book, Nine Lives and you’ve guessed it, it was a crime/mystery!
She didn’t intend to write in that genre, but her characters had other ideas. She ended up enjoying it, and when I read it, so did I. So much that we have been reading more of the same ever since.

Max Brandt is another first time author, but you would never guess from reading his book. Blind Cupid is an intelligently written crime thriller, a harrowing story about a serial killer of children and not for the fainthearted. Written with care, with believable characters that are not what they seem; and a set of circumstances too horrible to believe.

One of the characters completely fooled me, the authors early depiction was utterly convincing… the story twisted and turned, leaving me clueless until right at the end.
I really liked the clever ploy of using allegory to compare Greek legend and Dickens with different scenarios; it lifted this fascinating story into a higher intellectual realm.
A very visual story, painfully dark, but highlighting the real need for better care and supervision for vulnerable children.

I think a good book should do more than entertain or horrify. I found myself wondering why he chose to write it, and discovered that Max worked for ten years as a social worker. This says more about the system than I ever could.

Towards the end of the book, the detective in charge contemplates the case, calling it “the most bizarre, sickening and, ultimately tragic tale…” and he never said a truer word…

©Anita Dawes

About the Author

Max has been writing for many years (books, plays, songs, rants!) but has only recently had the time to concentrate fully on his writing. He spent twenty plus years fronting a rock band, many more doing all sorts of things (including running pubs and driving large lorries) and spent ten years working as a Residential Social Worker and Support Worker for Looked-After Young People. His experiences in that field were just one of the motivating forces behind this first book.

He is already working on the follow-up to ‘Blind Cupid’ – provisionally entitled ‘The Blood-Dimmed Tide’ (Yeats and Shakespeare are a couple of his passions) – and he tries manfully to write a blog (maxbrandtwriter.blogspot.com) which will remind him that, even after nearly forty years of trying to get published, it’s all worth it in the end! It might also help other writers to avoid some of the pitfalls and keep them hacking away at the coal-face; it really is the most satisfying thing, to see your book out there.
Theatre is another in the long list of Max’s passions and he is Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Hub, who are a Devon-based company that are in the process of bringing a county-wide production of ‘Macbeth’ to the theatre-going public in 2016, to remember Shakespeare and the 400th anniversary of his passing.