#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Quiet Child by John Burley #suspense #psychological

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From the award-winning author of The Absence of Mercy, comes a gripping and darkly psychological novel about family, suspicion, and the price we are willing to pay to protect those we love the most.

It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople regard with fear and superstition, and who appears to bring illness and ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by a disease that is slowly consuming her.

Sheriff Jim Kent, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy, has watched the people of his town suffer—and he worries someone might take drastic action to protect their loved ones. Then a stranger arrives, and Danny and his ten-year-old brother, Sean, go missing. In the search that follows, everyone is a suspect, and the consequences of finding the two brothers may be worse than not finding them at all.

Our Review of The Quiet Child

Described as both hauntingly tense and a gripping, dark psychological drama, I was hooked by the time I read the blurb on the back of the book.

At first, the main characters seem to be the two boys, Danny and Sean McCray, but when they go missing, their father Michael swings into the central role.

Danny is a strange child; he has never spoken a word and regarded by the superstitious townspeople as a broken child, somehow causing illness and death in the community. When the family car is stolen along with both boys inside, many said it might be better if they were never found.

I liked the slow, careful way the memories and backstory are woven into the story, as the father tries to cope with losing his family. It was painful to watch him hovering between defeat, suspicion and a weird kind of acceptance.

My favourite character was the sheriff, Jim Kent. Bravely doing his job despite being torn between doing his duty and his humanity.

On the surface, this story is about superstition and loss, but I was unprepared for the disturbing conclusion, the final shocking twist was absolutely unexpected…

 

Biography

John Burley grew in a small town in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. He worked as a paramedic and firefighter just north of Washington, D.C. before attending medical school in Chicago and completing an emergency medicine residency at University of Maryland Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. His debut novel, NO MERCY, received the National Black Ribbon Award in recognition of an author who brings a fresh, new voice to suspense writing. His second novel, THE HIDING PLACE, is available now.

John now lives in Northern California where he works full-time as an emergency department physician. He writes dark psychological suspense thrillers about murder and mayhem on his days off, tries to keep the nightmares at bay, and occasionally finds time to sleep.

He is hard at work on his next novel.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Shallow Waters by Rebecca Bradley…

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When catching a killer isn’t enough…
The naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway and post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.
Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team in the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock, they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.
But it doesn’t stop there.


Just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?

Shallow Waters is a crime thriller, one of my favourite genres. The blurb on Amazon had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention, so I knew I had to read it.

The story opens with the discovery of the naked body of a woman, and DI Hannah Robbins and her team are going through the preliminaries. The body was found dumped in an alley, and it was interesting to watch the team gradually come together to gather all the information, from the initial findings and through to the post mortem. These usually revealed far more about the victim.

Along with the details of the murder, we are introduced to the rest of the members of the cast and their secrets and the level of detail was astounding.

The storyline for Sally, the police officer, was interesting in that she decides to keep so many secrets from her husband and the people she works with, a mistake that will cost her dearly. It can’t be easy to do the right thing, especially when your heart disagrees with your head.

The author is a master of character description, using a few well-chosen words to show glimpses of their inner fears. Their vulnerabilities made the cast real, far too real in some instances.

The fact that the author is a retired detective has lent a strong authenticity to the storyline, and as a crime writer myself, I really liked this story, despite the sad ending. Just enough drama and more than enough tension kept me reading way past my bedtime.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves this genre…

Our Review of Keepers by Sacha de Black @sacha_black #Fantasy

 

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Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

Our Review

Keepers has been heralded as a brilliantly written debut novel, the first in a series by Sacha Black, and although not my usual choice of genre, I had read enough about it to know I would enjoy it.

The cover image and description promised plenty of action and excitement and did not disappoint. A complex plot, fascinating characters and a strong leading woman take you on a gripping journey where you find yourself alternating between fantasy and reality.

Sacha has created Trutinor, a beautifully detailed and believable world where we meet Eden East and follow her through some difficult times. There is something for everyone in this story, magic and romance, danger and betrayal, heartbreak and joy. An altogether breathtaking story with one of the best cliff hangers I have ever read,  will leave you more than ready for the next in the series!

*Thank you to the author and RBRT for my #free advance copy in return for an honest review

Biography

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

You can get Sacha’s free 17-page cheat sheet intro to creating superbad villains by visiting her website: http://www.sachablack.co.uk

You can also find her on Twitter @sacha_black
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sachablackauthor/

 

 

 

 

#Throwback Thursday for Our Review of Fractured Lives by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 #Mystery Thriller

 

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Three couples, the perfect Maine vacation, and a fateful night that lands one of the women in mortal danger.   Couples are going missing in Sunset Cove at Long Lake, and the authorities seem more concerned with not tarnishing the reputation of their popular tourist destination. Until … while out for a spin on her wave runner, Shawnee Daniels pulls alongside a deserted canoe.    Blood stains the seat.  

 When retired SEAL Brandon “Boomer” Rayne wakes to an empty bed—his bride-to-be Daphne nowhere inside their rented cabin—he enlists the help of the only people he’s met in the state: the couple next door, Shawnee Daniels and Revere, Massachusetts Detective Levaughn Samuels.   Uncertainty bonds the two neighbors, forced together by tragedy.

Their predicament turns even deadlier when the half-nude body of a female washes ashore. No obvious signs of homicide exist. How did she die? Does her death relate to Daphne’s disappearance?   Time’s running out.  

 Can they piece together the mystery to find Boomer’s fiancé? Or will an elusive serial killer determine their fate?

Our Review

Lovable Shawnee Daniels and Detective Levaughn Samuels are vacationing at Sunset Cove, Long Lake, enjoying a well- earned break to relax and recharge their batteries. A popular destination with a problem about missing women, something the local authorities have been keeping quiet about, not wanting to scare off the tourists.

Normally, Shawnee and Levaughn are up to the necks in mysteries and murders and I was a little disappointed that this book might not focus on them after all, but when the wife of one of their neighbours goes missing and a body turns up in the water, I relaxed. There was no way Shawnee would leave any of this alone.

Sue Coletta has excelled herself with this latest story in the Mayhem series. Full of intrigue, mystery and chillingly descriptive horrors, but there was no definite suspect, leaving me grasping for clues. The supporting cast revealed no suitable subject either, building my frustration at not being able to figure out who was guilty.

A mysterious, mist-shrouded island seems like a good place to start looking, but what they find when they get there will blow your socks off. A totally unexpected finale, one of the best I have ever read. Your blood will run cold!

I ended up reading this book twice, for such a lot seemed innocent the first time I read it. Remember how frustrated I was about the lack of clues? Well, they were there all the time in bucket loads!

Once you know the ending, you really must read it again to fully appreciate the subtle nuances. All those seemingly ordinary happenings take on a far more sinister theme when you know the truth. This is master storytelling at its finest!

 

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Biography

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is an award-winning, multi-published author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime” on Writestream Radio Network every third Tuesday of the month from 1 – 3 p.m. EDT/EST (see details at http://www.suecoletta.com). She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

2017 Award-winner of Feedspot’s Top 50 Crime Blogs (Murder Blog sits at #6), she shares crime tips, police jargon, the mind of serial killers, and anything and everything in between. If you search her archives, you’ll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts…crime, crime, and more crime.
For readers, she has the Crime Lover’s Lounge, where subscribers will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside, like-minded folks discuss their favorite crime novels, solve mindbender and mystery puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most importantly, everyone has a lot of fun.
Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, where her house is surrounded by wildlife…bear, moose, deer, even mountain lions have been spotted. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with them, but her husband frowns on the idea.

 

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog 13 Steps to Evil @sacha_black

 

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Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

 

I have read many ‘how to’ books before, but none of them talk quite like Sacha Black. She tells it straight from the hip in an inimitable and refreshing style of direction.

This book is an in-depth and thorough expose of all things villain. Far more complex than you would first imagine.

Cause and effect are explained in easily understood writers speak, along with some amazing examples, just in case you have your dim head on!

Most crime/thriller writers love to create a good/bad villain and probably spend more time on them than the good guys. We should definitely make our villains bad, but giving them one ‘nice’ trait is an interesting idea.

The first thing that surprised me was that the hero is not the most important character in your novel. And that we tend to create a villain and then just let him/her get on with it.

If this book does nothing else, it will encourage, nay, demand that you create some awe-inspiring villains, and some of them will be female. The world seems to think that women don’t make good, bad people, so it could well be time to change all that.

Anti-heroes are something I haven’t given much thought to, but this book explores many such interesting concepts. Anti-heroes can get away with anything, so long as they finish on the side of the angels.

My favourite chapter was all about fear. That the idea of fear is all you need and far more important than all the stark reality of any awful world you create. Fear is such an emotional part of your imagination because you can only guess how bad it really is.

Another good question; should we really kill a villain?

Summary

I am going to have to recheck all my villains after reading this book. Have I actually created believably bad men, or are they just a tad second rate?

I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

UK Amazon Link Here

US Amazon Link Here

About the Author

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Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills. Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son. When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about Sacha’s new book!

Time to check out my latest hero!  (and a review will follow once I have picked the bones of this book clean…

 

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

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

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

 

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

Our Review

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

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

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

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

 

Biography

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

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

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

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

Amazon Review:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Let it Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘A year or so.’

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

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

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

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

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

Mum said he should hold his tongue.

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

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


Two Wonderful Reviews!

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

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

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

 5 stars A fantastic look at family relationships

Format: Kindle Edition

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

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

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

 

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

#TuesdayBookBlog: Secrets by Anita Dawes #Psychological Suspense

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

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

 

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

Amazon reviews

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

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

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

Excerpt from Secrets…

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

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

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

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

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

‘Maybe she believes what Tommy said…’

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

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

The word sent a shiver down her spine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Got what you came for, then?’

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

‘Come inside and wash up.’ she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Our Review

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

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

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

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

Author Bio

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International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi, to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators. To comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heart-warming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series.  His knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.
And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

His unique writing style can make you chuckle or shed tears—sometimes on the same page (or steam up the room if it’s one of his romances). Regardless of genre, his novels always contain unexpected twists and turns, and his endearing nonfiction stories will stay in your heart forever.

25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew, co-authored by Dan, has been a valuable tool for upcoming writers (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping new authors is evident in his wildly popular blog “Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR.”

Dan’s success is widespread and varied. In addition to being a bestselling author, he has achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. You can find him blogging away almost every day on http://www.DanAlatorre.com or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week, Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan resides in the Tampa, Florida area with his wife and daughter.