#CoverReveal for Into Thin Air by Kristina Beck

I’m pleased to join in the cover reveal for Kristina Beck’s latest book, Into Thin Air. As you’ll see, it’s gorgeous! I’m reading the book at the moment, and it’s a great read too!

Blurb:

Fed up with the endless demands of her job, Ellie seeks solitude from the chaos. As if by magic, she finds herself all alone in an exotic hotel. That is, until she meets the gorgeous guest next door. As time melts away, Ellie falls hard for Sam. Then he vanishes into thin air, taking his love with him. When he suddenly reappears, he isn’t the Sam she once knew, but her aching heart tells her otherwise.

Sam finds himself at a crossroads in his soccer career when a permanent injury forces him to make a difficult decision. He thinks seclusion in a luxury hotel is what he needs, until he sees the fiery redhead, Ellie. She has no idea who he is and becomes the woman of his dreams.

Like any vacation, it must come to an end… just not in such a tragic way. Sam thinks he’s responsible for Ellie’s death, and when he discovers she’s alive, she doesn’t greet him with open arms. The relentless fight for her dignity and career threatens to end their passionate reunion.

They said their love was infinite, but anything can change when reality comes crashing down.

Here’s the cover!

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Isn’t it beautiful?!

Author Bio

Kristina Beck was born and raised in New Jersey, USA, and lived there for thirty years. She later moved to Germany and lives there with her German husband and three children. She is an avid reader of many genres, but romance always takes precedence. She loves coffee, dark chocolate, power naps, and eighties movies. Her hobbies include writing, reading, fitness, and forever trying to improve her German-language skills.

If you want to follow Kristina on social media, you can find her here:

www.kristinabeck.com

www.facebook.com/krissybeck73

www.twitter.com/krissybeck96

www.instagram.com/krissybeck96

www.goodreads.com/kristina_beck

www.amazon.com/author/kristinabeck

www.bookbub.com/authors/kristina-beck

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#BookReview for The Outcast by Brian O’Gorman

My review for The Outcast by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars.

Another enjoyable book by Brian O’Gorman! I love how his characters are down-to-earth, normal, everyday people, with all the defects and hang-ups that everyone has. No one is perfect in his books, everyone burps and farts, and death is never glorified.

From the first chapter, each character is slowly introduced, their stories told, until they come to interweave in the second half of the book. Some you’ll like, others you’ll hate, while others grow on you as more is revealed.

The story builds up, and just when you think you’ve worked everything out, there’s a great twist that turns everything upside down.

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The author writes gritty, hard-hitting stories in various genres, I highly recommend reading his books!

You can see my other reviews here:

#BookReview for The Roland Sink Hour by Brian O’Gorman
The Water by Brian O’Gorman
The Final Wish of Maggie Bosworth

#BookReview for Australia The Promised Land? by Jennifer Peacock-Smith

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My review for Australia The Promised Land? by Jennifer Peacock-Smith, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

This book carries on from where book 1 left off – Jennifer arriving in Australia with her family to start a new life. If you’ve read the first book, you can imagine the difficulties she’ll have settling in, but the reality is even harsher than you think.

I love how the author keeps you captivated with her words as you relive her painful past, but never makes you feel as though she’s complaining; instead, she merely recounts the events, leading you by the hand through this warped maze of family issues and adolescent angst.

My heart bled for the younger Jennifer at times, especially when she hit puberty and her mother rationed everything she needed. I raged and cried inside for that poor girl who had to make do and find alternative ways to get through every month. The heartless way she was treated when she fell over and injured herself badly, being sent to school regardless, and the time she got a horrific case of shingles – each time I cried for the injustice of her treatment.

All through the book, the author’s optimism shines through – her hopes for a better future, for making something of herself, for returning to her beloved South Africa. Do her dreams come true, or are they left shattered by the roadside? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I highly recommend this series, even if you don’t usually read memoirs. You won’t regret it.

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Publication Day|The Lost Girls|Helen Pryke plus #bookreview

I can’t believe this wonderful review for The Lost Girls!

CookingTheBooks

I am so pleased to share with you all this new release. The happiest of publication days to Helen Pryke, Author. From the author of The Innocenti Saga, comes a new novel and a new genre. The Lost Girls is a suspense boarding on pyschological. I was fortunate enough to beta read this and i can tell you it is fantastic. I love an author who is diverse and doesnt stick to one genre, and it shows great skill to be able to write in a genre in which they aren’t familiar.

Blurb
Four years ago, two teenage girls were abducted. Four years ago, a ten-year-old boy was murdered. Both cases are still unsolved. Desperate to find their sisters, Michael and Chloe beg investigative journalist Maggie Dupont to help them. What starts as a simple investigation soon turns into a frantic race against time as they realise that the kidnapper…

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The story behind my latest book, The Lost Girls #suspense #thriller

On the 30 June, my latest book, The Lost Girls, will be published! You can preorder it now for only 99c/99p and start reading on the 30 June. Or you can buy the paperback now if you can’t wait!

Preorder now on Amazon

Here are some posts about the writing of the book:

It’s mainly set in the south of England (with a slight detour to the Peak District towards the end!) and I think it’s the only book I’ve ever read that’s set in the Portsmouth area, including Cosham, Hilsea and Bedhampton!

Why there? Well, I grew up on the south coast in a small town called Emsworth, and often took the bus or train to other towns in the area. When I needed somewhere for the book, I immediately thought of where I used to live.

map of south of england for fb page

What I didn’t plan on was getting so nostalgic as I used Google maps to refresh my memory. It was like travelling back to the past, and so many memories from my childhood came to mind. It made me quite emotional!

I’ve been living in Italy since 1990, and although I visited the UK quite frequently in the beginning, I haven’t been back since 2012. Partly from choice, as every time I go there it gets harder for me to leave, and partly because planning anything around my auto-immune illness is difficult as I never know when it will flare and leave me too exhausted to do anything. So, while I’m glad I chose those towns, it’s been a bitter-sweet experience!

The only place I haven’t been is Farlington Marshes, mentioned at the beginning of the story. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know they existed! I found this on Wikipedia:

“Farlington Marshes is an area of reclaimed land in Langstone harbour. It was reclaimed from the harbour in 1771 and includes a larger part of what was formerly Binner’s Island (the remainder of the island is now referred to as North Binness Island). Farlington Marshes is about 120 hectares in size and features both freshwater marsh and brackish marsh. It is a Local Nature Reserve and is a feeding ground for overwintering Brent geese. During World War 2 it was used as a starfish site acting as a decoy for Portsea Island. The control blockhouses remain on the marshes.”

If I should go back to the UK, I’ll make sure I go and take a walk around there!

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The protagonist

The protagonist of The Lost Girls is ex-investigative journalist Maggie Dupont. She wasn’t always the protagonist, though – originally, Michael and Chloe, the brother and sister of the lost girls, were meant to team up and search for their sisters. Then one day Maggie popped into my head and demanded to be the main character! There’s a lot of banter between Mike, Chloe and Maggie which I’m sure many parents of teenagers will recognise – much of it was taken from my own conversations with my sons!

I like Maggie – she’s fighting her own demons caused by a traumatic childhood, a chronic illness, and the death of her nephew, but she puts them aside to help Mike and Chloe find their sisters. This is how she describes herself:

“I’m a pathetic, forty-five-year-old woman who only thinks of herself, with greying hair, quite a few wrinkles, and bits of me sagging that were pert up until a few years ago. I feel old.”

But underneath the self-pity, she has a strong character and won’t take any nonsense from people. She’s had to fight all her life to get anywhere, and won’t give up while there’s hope. In the story, she arrives at a point where she doesn’t know where to go or what to do to find the girls, while her body shuts down due to stress and her illness. The only thing she can do is pray for a miracle…

The antagonist

The antagonist, who shall remain unnamed, turned out completely different from how I’d originally planned! When I jotted down some notes a few years ago, I didn’t have a motive for him abducting the girls – this all came about when I took out the story and started working on it again. I had fun figuring out the reasoning behind his madness!

As his past is gradually revealed, the reader comes to understand why he’s abducted the girls. We don’t find out everything about him, but just enough to show that he’s always been crazy. I particularly enjoyed writing the chapters from his personal point of view – getting inside his head was scarily easy to do! My husband keeps asking me if there’s something he should know…!

I can’t give away too much here, as it will ruin the story. Let’s just say our antagonist has ‘issues’ with his mother and sisters, which come to a terrifying head in the book. Oh, and he likes fire. A lot.

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A minor character

I thought I’d mention a minor character in the book, who was taken from real life.

As any author knows, you’re always advised to observe the people around you in everyday situations, and make notes of anything you can use in your writing. I love people watching anyway, and there’s no better place (in my opinion) than a hospital waiting room. I’ve been in many over the last few years, and every time I come away thinking I could write a book about what I’ve just seen. (My oldest son says I should write a series – The Waiting Room Chronicles – as I’ve always got a story or two to tell after going to the hospital!)

This scene, set in a café where Mike, Chloe and Maggie were meeting, comes from one of those waiting room experiences:

The waitress jotted down their order and went over to the counter. A tall, thin woman in her sixties strode into the café. Dressed in brown, knee-length boots, a bright yellow anorak, and a detective-style felt hat with a brown speckled feather in it, she caught their attention right away.

“Young lady, a cappuccino with extra cocoa on top, as soon as you can,” she demanded in a supercilious voice. She stood glaring round at the few customers while the waitress rushed to make her coffee. “Come, come, I haven’t got all day.”

Mike leaned over and nudged Maggie. “Hey, that’ll be you in a few years’ time, old thing,” he said with a wink.

Chloe giggled.

Maggie snorted, trying to hold back a laugh in case the woman looked their way. “Less of the cheek,” she said, then glanced at the woman again. “Although, I do like that hat, I must admit.”

It may be short and sweet, but this scene makes me laugh every time as it features a woman I saw in a hospital waiting room, dressed exactly like that! I came home, wrote some notes, and knew I had to fit her into the book somehow. And yes, I was jealous of her hat, as well – I’d love to have the courage to wear something like that! (The photo below is a rough representation, just so you get the idea.)

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I hope this has whet your appetite, and I’d love to hear back from you if you read The Lost Girls!

Viva Italia

Europe by Book

Dreamland by Julia E Clements

Awarded the One Stop Fiction 5-star Book Award for excellent reads, Readers’ Favorite 5-star review, IHIBRP Recommend Read 5-star Award, and Our Author Gang’s Best Children’s Cover Award.

Daniel Green is a typical ten-year-old boy with just one difference – when he goes to sleep at night, he travels to Dreamland, a magical place where he can create amazing adventures using only his imagination.

But he is not alone. An evil being follows him into his enchanted world and joins forces with Stregona, the powerful witch who reigns over the Dark Forest. Together they are determined to destroy Dreamland.Who is this dark entity, and what does he want with Danny?

A magical story for children age 9-12.

Available in English and Italian.

books2read.com/u/bxz7BP

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World by Dianne Hales

A jubilant celebration of Italy’s outsize impact on culture, from literature to…

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#BookReview for Who Killed Little Johnny Gilly by Kathryn McMaster

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My review for Who Killed Little Johnny Gill by Kathryn McMaster, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now, and I’m glad I finally got around to it. McMaster has taken the facts from the brutal killing of a child and turned them into a touching, emotional story that will leave you thinking.

Poor little Johnny Gill’s murder was one of the most horrific at the time, and the police continuously made errors during their investigation. The court procedure is laid out in detail, and is very interesting to follow.

For anyone nowadays, it’s hard to understand the carnival atmosphere that surrounded William Barrett when he was acquitted of the murder, and the fact that Johnny Gill’s family were completely ignored as they were ‘old news’. I like how McMaster gives her own feelings about his parents, and ends with talking about them, giving them the dignity they deserve.

At the end of the book, the author tells the reader her ideas on the case, but leaves it open to personal interpretation. And there are some twists to the story that cause doubt as to who really killed Johnny Gill.

I highly recommend this book, both for the historical factor as well as the true crime story. It’s also just 99c/99p at the moment!

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#BookReview for Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood

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My review for Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I’ve read most of this author’s books, I love how these gritty stories show a more emotional side of people whose lives haven’t been easy. This one is slightly different, as it’s written from a woman’s point of view, but he has created a believable, realistic character every woman can relate to.

This book follows the story of Katie, newly released from prison after 16 years. We don’t know what crime she committed, or why – this is slowly revealed during the rest of the book. Greenwood is very good at creating down-to-earth characters who leave an impression on you even after you’ve finished reading, and I think he’s excelled himself in this book.

The story makes you feel all the emotions, as Katie celebrates her new-found freedom only to find she’s still in a kind of prison, bound by rules, and worse. With the added insult that no one will believe her, as she’s an ex convict.

As more and more memories come back to her, she takes matters into her own hands, determined she will decide her future and put an end to her past. Haunting and tragic, the story keeps you gripped until the very end.

As with all of Greenwood’s books, I highly recommend this.

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#BookReview for Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes

My review for Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes, 5/5 stars.

I’ve read many books set in WWII, and the most powerful ones take the reader on an emotional journey of suffering, despair, and courage. Letters to the Pianist is one of these powerful books.

The reader is drawn into Ruth, Gabi and Hannah’s story right from the start, each character tugging on your heartstrings as their world is turned upside down when their home is bombed. Split up and sent away to two different relatives, you feel their pain as they struggle to cope with this new reality.

But little do they know that their father is still alive, although he has amnesia and can’t remember anything from his life before the bombing. Now a famous pianist, and married to the daughter of one of the richest men in the country, he is at first oblivious to what is happening around him. When he discovers what his father-in-law really is, he realises that his life might be in danger.

Full of drama and intrigue, and an ending that keeps you turning the pages, this is an emotional read that I highly recommend.

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