Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

Two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…


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

 

#RBRT Review Team

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Cleaved     by Sue Coletta… to be released 3rd May


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Description

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

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


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Make an Author Smile…

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The #Free promotion on Amazon for The Last Life is coming to an end, and I wanted to thank everyone who has snapped up a copy. The response has been amazing!

I try not to think about reviews, and how many of you will be kind enough to say a few words about my book on Amazon, but it is difficult not to. Without your comments, we writers have no real idea of what you think, and we need to. This is how we go on writing, getting better as we go, and this would be so much easier to do if we knew you liked our work even a little bit.

I know some of you have no idea about reviews, that it must be a complicated thing to do, but believe me, it isn’t. Amazon make it really simple. Just find the book on Amazon and scroll down to where you will find other reviews (or not, as the case may be) and type in your comment. You don’t have to say much either, one simple sentence and the amount of stars of your choice and that’s all there is to it. Then you can go about your day, knowing you have just put a smile on an author’s face.

So far, I haven’t had much to smile about today, so how about it?

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Shallow Waters…

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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…


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Good, Bad, or indifferent?

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What is the most important achievement in an author’s life?

I can think of many thinks that are equally important, like

Completing a novel

Seeing your book in print

Being published, either traditionally or self

These are all important of course, but the one I’m thinking about is receiving good reviews for your work.

But apparently, according to Tara Sparling, there are better reviews we could get. Reviews that could sell more books than any of those 5-star reviews.

These are the bad reviews.

You may have heard the expression, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and history has proved this to be true. The minute someone says how much they hated something, people immediately want to see for themselves.

Think of all the books that have been banned. People will break their necks to get a copy. Some of the best-selling books in the world started out by being banned.

Bad reviews actually contain more useful information for prospective readers, like…

“I didn’t like the main character, he didn’t have to be so mean…”

“this book is so depressing. Don’t read it unless you want to end up being miserable…”

“I hated the ending. Can’t understand why the author did that…”

“Too much violence/sex/ swearing in this book for me…”

So, I want someone to give one of our books a bad review, just to prove this theory…

Any takers?        (#Free copies available on request)

 

 


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#RBRT #BookReview The Curse of Arundel Hall

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely, worth all of five stars…

 

About the Author

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


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The Critique…

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The other day in a post, I mentioned a critique I received for Broken Life, the third book in my ‘Lives’ series.

I had been reading an article about Cathleen Townsend and how thorough a job she had done on a certain book. The writer swore it had made the difference between it being a good book and a great one. After a conversation between writer, the Cathleen, and me, she offered to analyze the opening chapters of one of my books.

It just so happened that Broken Life hadn’t been beta read… a huge oversight on my part and something I do usually do, so I leapt at the chance.

I wasn’t prepared for the result, however. Huge chunks of the text had been scored through, and the general indication was bad. My heart sank into my boots, and I slunk away, very ashamed of myself.

I spent two whole days thinking I was a crap writer, trying desperately to find a reason not to rip all my books into pieces.

Then something happened. I don’t know what made me read the critique again, and this time I could see what Cathleen wanted me to see. So I deleted the offending text and read it again. It was more dramatic, the content tighter, better befitting a crime thriller. Cathleen also suggested that an ‘action prologue’ a dramatic passage at the beginning of the book, either as a prologue or new chapter one, would give the reader an idea of the quality of the story.

I had never written one of these before, although I had read other peoples, and they do lend an extra element.

Broken Life has been updated and republished now, and this post is my way of thanking Cathleen Townsend for her valuable advice…

 


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Brilliant Finale to the Trilogy…

 

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Project Renovatio

Levin Davis has it made. At 20, he’s a college graduate with a dream job, a beautiful girlfriend, and a life that can only get better – until he receives a mysterious letter suggesting his long-dead father is alive and hiding an extraordinary secret.
Distraught, Levin meets the letter’s author, who could pass for his twin. The stranger claims to be part of a genetically engineered race designed to survive global catastrophes and rebuild society, and he insists Levin and his sisters are as well.
Despite his disbelief, Levin uncovers not only the bizarre truth of his existence but also Project Renovatio’s ominous purpose – to secure genetic superiority, the new race must live according to harsh demands or risk severe penalties inflicted on their loved ones. If Levin hopes to protect his family and live a free life, he must escape Project Renovatio – or rise above himself to fight them.

“What if scientists take genetic engineering to the next level and start altering the human race? Allison Maruska writes a thrilling YA novel that will grab the attention of her readers and hold it until the end.“ – Lisa Tortorello, author of My Hero, My Ding

 

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Project Liberatio

After weeks of hiding from the radical group that plans to turn him and his siblings into an army of genetically engineered supersoldiers, Levin wants nothing more than to get back to his old life. So when he learns they have the opportunity to return home, he jumps at the chance – all they have to do is defeat the very faction that has forced them to take refuge.
Following intense training, Levin’s group pursues the faction, but his focus isn’t solely on the fight. When he sneaks away to visit his girlfriend, he unwittingly reveals himself to the enemy. Now, he must sacrifice his own plans and desires and commit himself to a new mission – or he could lose much more than his freedom.

“Project Liberatio is a fictional treasure that will fully involve the reader. In addition to being a highly entertaining work, it is thought-provoking. This book will appeal to all readers. ”
– Tracy Miller, Contributing Writer at The Nerdy Girl Express

 

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Project Ancora

After suffering great loss, Levin struggles to find his place in a world that would see him as an outcast if it knew the truth of his existence. His purpose lies in keeping his siblings and the other genetically engineered youths safe. So when they start disappearing, he has no choice but to find them – a mission that becomes more urgent when his sister, Rana, is among the kidnapped.
As Rana works with the captives on an escape plan, Levin uses his extraordinary abilities to figure out where they are and who is behind the abductions. What he discovers is more serious than he could have imagined, and it’s up to him to get them back to safety while keeping them hidden from those who are supposed to be protecting them.

About the Author

Allison Maruska started her writing adventure in 2012 as a humor blogger. Her first published book, a historical mystery novel called The Fourth Descendant, was released in February, 2015. Drake and the Fliers followed in November, 2015. Project Renovatio was released in April, 2016, with the other two parts of the trilogy scheduled for release by the end of the year. Allison recently transitioned to a full-time writing career after working for thirteen years in elementary education. She’s also a wife, mom, coffee and wine consumer, and owl enthusiast.

Our Review

When I first became interested in this YA adventure story, I didn’t realise it was part of a series. I soon became aware of the back-story and wanted … no, I needed …to know more.

Therefore, this review is for all three books…Project Renovatio, Liberatio and Ancora.

This trilogy is about groups of young people who have been genetically engineered to survive global catastrophes and rebuild society. Somewhere along the line, this has evolved into something far more sinister, leading to a fight for superiority, as the groups discover they must live a certain way or risk severe penalties being inflicted on the people they care for.

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the characters. Levin, the sensible natural leader, trying desperately to find a way for them to escape and be free. His sisters, Dayla and Rana, delightfully full of youthful enthusiasm, and Dante, the archer and true rebel, all become embroiled in an impossibly tense situation.

All the characters are well defined and extremely likeable, and the situations they find themselves in are believable. The tension is strung so tight in places; it will make your head spin!

All three stories are well written and plotted, and I can heartily recommend them all…

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