#BookReview for The Second Coming by Brian O’Gorman

My review for The Second Coming by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Where do I begin with this review? I love Brian O’Gorman’s books – the character development is on a par with Stephen King, the stories keep you hooked right from the beginning, and he loves to surprise and shock the reader in equal measure!

I had high expectations for The Second Coming, and it doesn’t disappoint! This is an epic story of the eternal fight between good and evil, with normal, down-to-earth characters who are thrown into the most extraordinary circumstances. When an earthquake hits the city of Stenfield early one morning, two men are affected in completely different ways. While one discovers he has the power to heal, the other discovers he can cause mayhem and chaos.

This is a story of redemption and self-discovery, but it is also an insight into the fragility of humans’ minds, of the thin line between good and evil, of how easily people can be turned against one another. There are many layers to the story, each character’s life affecting the others’, subtle actions causing catastrophic events later. As with all the author’s books, each time you read it you discover more and spot the little things that contribute and add depth to the overall story.

There are a few shocking scenes, and others that will have you holding your breath, but the narrative keeps you turning the pages right to the stunning end. With Brian O’Gorman’s books, you can never be sure how they’ll finish, and he definitely keeps you on your toes with this one!

A well-written, brutally honest read that will make you think, and remain with you for a long time after you’ve read it. Highly recommend!

You can preorder The Second Coming now, and it’s out on the 19th March:
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Coming-English-Brian-OGorman-ebook/dp/B08TC99MNH/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Second-Coming-English-Brian-OGorman-ebook/dp/B08TC99MNH/

#BookReview for Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber

My review for Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber, 5/5 stars.

I’ve read a few of Linda Huber’s books, and enjoyed every one of them, but this has to be her best so far. I was hooked from the first pages, with harassed mother Daria getting her daughter ready for their trip to Spain, only to be involved in a horrific accident on the way to the airport.

The story pulls you in as we, the reader, are privy to certain facts that the characters aren’t, and keeps the adrenaline going with every missed opportunity, those few seconds too late or too soon that would make all the difference.

The reader can feel pain and anguish Daria is going through; there are some truly touching moments as she mourns her daughter’s death, her marriage falls apart, and friends and family no longer know how to treat her. Huber has poured all the emotions into this book, making you feel part of the characters’ lives and their secrets.

Well written and well edited, this is a story that will break your heart and make you smile, an emotional roller coaster with a bitter-sweet ending that you’ll find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished reading it. Highly recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/Darias-Daughter-English-Linda-Huber-ebook/dp/B08QNCTZXD
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darias-Daughter-English-Linda-Huber-ebook/dp/B08QNCTZXD

#BookReview for Family by Owen Mullen

I’m delighted to join the blog tour for Owen Mullen’s latest book, Family. Many thanks to the author, Boldwood Books, and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to participate.

My review for Family by Owen Mullen, 5/5 stars.

I’ve never read a book by this author before, so I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was a gripping page-turner of a read that kept me hooked all the way through!

It starts off slowly, but soon picks up pace, with a few twists and shocks along the way. With rival gangs in London, corrupt police officers, horrendous crimes and justice meted out, this is a story where family means everything and revenge is their number one priority.

It shows the hard, gritty life of a gangster, and as can be expected, there are a few shocking scenes and gore. But it also shows the fragility of someone continuously living on the edge, where a single event can lead to a descent into madness from which there is no return.

A great plot, well-developed characters who get under your skin, and subtle layers to the story that will keep you thinking after you’ve finished reading, tie together to make this a great read. Highly recommend!

Purchase Link – https://buff.ly/37rHomR

Family – might be the death of you…

The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

In the Glass family, Owen Mullen has created a crime dynasty to rival the Richardsons and the Krays. Heart-pounding, jaw-dropping with non-stop action, Family is perfect for fans of Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Author Bio

When he was ten years old, Owen Mullen won a primary schools short story competition and didn’t write another word for four decades. One morning he announced he was going to write a book. He did. Since then he has written seven. Owen was born in Coatbridge, a few miles from Glasgow, where the Charlie Cameron stories take place, and where he ran a successful design and marketing business. A late developer, he has a Masters degree from Strathclyde University which he got in his forties. In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. People tell him he enjoyed himself and he has no reason to doubt them. The journey from rocker to writer has been a fascinating experience and the similarities between the music and book industries, never cease to amaze him. His passions are travel, food and Arsenal Football Club. A gregarious recluse, he now splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete, along with his wife, Christine.

Twitter https://twitter.com/OwenMullen6

Facebook https://m.facebook.com/OwenMullenAuthor

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/owenmullen6/

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirKpr7Dzji0x-0teu2nhqw

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/owen-mullen

#BookReview for The House in the Hollow by Allie Cresswell

Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Allie Cresswell’s latest book, The House in the Hollow. I love Allie’s books, and I couldn’t wait to read this.

Blurb:
The Talbots are wealthy. But their wealth is from ‘trade’. With neither ancient lineage nor title, they struggle for entrance into elite Regency society. Finally, aided by an impecunious viscount, they gain access to the drawing rooms of England’s most illustrious houses.

Once established in le bon ton, Mrs Talbot intends her daughter Jocelyn to marry well, to eliminate the stain of the family’s ignoble beginnings. But the young men Jocelyn meets are vacuous, seeing Jocelyn as merely a brood mare with a great deal of money. Only Lieutenant Barnaby Willow sees the real Jocelyn, but he must go to Europe to fight the French. The hypocrisy of fashionable society repulses Jocelyn—beneath the courtly manners and studied elegance she finds tittle-tattle, deceit, dissipation and vice.

Jocelyn stumbles upon and then is embroiled in a sordid scandal which will mean utter disgrace for the Talbot family. Humiliated and dishonoured, she is sent to a remote house hidden in a hollow of the Yorkshire moors. There, separated from family, friends and any hope of hearing about the lieutenant’s fate, she must build her own life—and her own social order—anew.

My review, 5/5 stars.

Jocelyn Talbot’s family came to their wealth through trade, rather than inheritance, and as such, their social standing hangs by a fragile thread, where the merest whisper of scandal would leave them shunned by everyone of importance. For Mrs Talbot, there is nothing more important than her position in society.

The story alternates between Jocelyn’s banishment to the lonely house in the hollow in 1811 and the events leading up to it, and the conclusion in 1814. It is also written from the point of view of Annie, an orphan who ends up as a scullery maid at the Talbot’s house, giving us a view of life above and below stairs, making us privy to things that were kept hidden away, scandals that were swept under the carpet.

I love reading Allie Cresswell’s historical fiction novels. She has a way of taking the reader back into the past, with its social rules, subtle intrigue, veiled threats, and the importance of wealth and origins. Her style of writing recreates the oppressive atmosphere of the times that I’m sure many young women had to suffer, and through her story we understand the sacrifices they had to make, for honour, for society, and for the family name. This is a must-read for anyone who loves historical fiction.

https://www.amazon.com/House-Hollow-Regency-Family-Saga-ebook/dp/B08LHJLTQ6/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Hollow-Regency-Family-Saga-ebook/dp/B08LHJLTQ6/

About the author:
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages.

Nowadays Allie writes full time. She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.

The House in the Hollow is her eleventh novel.

Social media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alliescribbler
Website: http://www.allie-cresswell.com



#BookReview for It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater


My review for It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Where do I start with this review? I love Drinkwater’s books, I’ve read all of them so far, and each one remains in my mind for a long time after. It Will Be Quick is no different. This collection of short stories held me spellbound, each one cleverly crafted and so well written you feel like you’ve read an entire novel in just a few pages.

It’s not easy to create characters and situations in short stories that capture the reader, but Drinkwater has achieved this and much more. You’re desperate to know what happens to the two strangers stranded on a rocky island in the middle of the ocean, fighting for their lives as hours, then days, pass; your heart aches for the little boy who sacrifices everything for an undeserving mother; you are with a mother as she gives birth, so incredibly written that you’re left stunned at the end; and a story from an era of thousands of years ago, sad, poignant, and frighteningly real, will remain with you for a long time.

These are just some of the stories. There are many more, such as the old man shunned by a society that only listens to money, a woman who finds a computer game gives a much-needed edge to her life, a man whose cycling holiday takes a bizarre turn, and then there is the stunning ‘Miasma’, which you have to read for yourself.

Once again Drinkwater has surpassed himself, proving that anything he writes is a must-read. As with all his books, I highly recommend It Will Be Quick.

Paperback links:
https://www.amazon.com/Will-Be-Quick-Karl-Drinkwater/dp/1911278177/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Be-Quick-Karl-Drinkwater/dp/1911278177/

Ebook coming soon!

#BookRelease Networking for Authors by Lizzie Chantree

Congratulations to Lizzie Chantree for her new book, out today! It will be an indispensable tool for all authors and it’s getting great reviews from early readers!

Blurb:

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation. 

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.

About Lizzie Chantree:

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at http://www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

Book links:

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: viewbook.at/BabeDriven

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina

Social media links:

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzie-chantree-03006425/

#NewBook The Healer’s Secret – pre-order now!

I first published The Healer’s Secret in 2017. Bloodhound Books offered me a contract for all three books in the series late last year, and now it’s going to be republished on the 7th September. I just love the new cover!

You can pre-order it here:
http://mybook.to/TheHealersSecret

While you’re waiting to read it, here’s some background info about the writing of the book.

Three years ago, my husband, youngest son, and I went to Gallicano in Tuscany to do some research for The Healer’s Secret, which I had just finished writing. We had four days to explore the area and taste the local food, so we made the most of it!

We also found some hidden treasures which I then added to the story, such as the angel in the graveyard by St. Jacopo’s church. More about that later!

I took these photos during our journey to Gallicano – we live in a flat, industrial area near Milan, so it’s lovely to see mountains! (Apologies for the quality of the photos, they were taken with an old phone!)

Those steep, narrow streets Jennifer had to walk up to get to her aunt’s house really do exist, and make your legs ache if you’re not used to them!

Gallicano is a beautiful town, with hidden treasures around every corner and breathtaking views!

The church of San Jacopo is mentioned in The Healer’s Secret. We found it during a walk around Gallicano, at the top of a very steep hill, overlooking the town.

The overgrown graveyard was closed, so we couldn’t go in, but I saw a statue of an angel hiding among the grass and had to include it in the book. (It was also after the ‘Weeping Angels’ episode of Doctor Who, so it was pretty creepy!)

We didn’t go inside the church, but took lots of photos of it then went to a nearby bar for a coffee and a rest. Just like Mark and Jennifer in the book.

The trip I was looking most forward to during our long weekend in Gallicano was the guided tour around La Grotta del Vento (the Wind Cave).

These photos were taken on our way up to the caves, along a narrow road that wound around the mountain, with rocks overhanging the road occasionally! Just like Jennifer and Mark, we went up early to avoid the crowds, but unlike Jennifer, we didn’t get lost inside the caves!

When I was doing research for The Healer’s Secret, I came across La Grotta del Vento – The Wind Cave. With help from the website, I wrote the scene where Mark takes Jennifer there for a guided tour. But there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself, so when we spent some days in Gallicano, the caves were the first thing I wanted to see! It was as amazing as I’d hoped it would be, as you can see from the photos. And I even found some creepy steps leading down to who knows where, which I had to add to the scene! If you ever go to Gallicano, I highly recommend you visit the caves – but take a jumper, it was freezing inside, even at the height of summer!

After our guided tour around the caves, we stopped at a village on the way down to stretch our legs and take some photos. I found a stone-walled cottage that looked very similar to how I imagined Great-grandmother Luisa’s cottage to be.We walked around a curve in the road to take some more photos of the back of the cottage, and were amazed to see something in the back garden! If you look closely at the photo, you might be able to make it out.I’m not going to say what it is, but the spooky thing is, I’d already written the book, and the cottage has something similar in its back garden! If you’ve already read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not – read the book!

While driving around, we found this beautiful spot near the river (which according to Google Maps is Torrente Turrite di Gallicano, but I’m not 100% sure!).We spent a pleasant few hours soaking up the peace and quiet, it was lovely. I didn’t want to leave! These photos give you some idea of how beautiful Tuscany is.

On our last day in Gallicano, we went to a town high up in the mountains (I can’t remember the name, sorry!). We walked all the way to the church at the very top, and were rewarded with an incredible view. We even found an old British telephone box, used as a free library! It was an amazing end to an amazing holiday, one that I will treasure forever.

When we got home I used many of those experiences in my book. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to Tuscany and this look into the writing of The Healer’s Secret!

#BookReview for A Starlit Summer by Kate Frost

My review for A Starlit Summer by Kate Frost, 5/5 stars.

I absolutely loved this story. Set in Cornwall, the descriptions take you away from the chaotic, humdrum city life and transport you to sandy beaches, picturesque ports, and the perfectly named Bramble Cottage.

The narrative is full of beautiful descriptions:

The night was starlit, the sea an endless black, the only colour the white surf catching the moonlight as it foamed onto the beach.

I also love how the author uses her own experiences on sets to bring the magic of film making to us, showing the dark as well as the glamorous side of being on TV.  And the mix of characters is just right, each one bringing warmth, or bitchiness, to the story.

This is a beautifully written, heart-warming story that evokes memories of endless summer days and true love. A 5-star read for me that I highly recommend.

Out on the 14 July, A Starlit Summer is only 99c/99p to preorder at the moment!

getbook.at/astarlitsummer

 

 

#bookpromo The Lost Girls by Helen Pryke

On the 17 June, my latest book, The Lost Girls, was published by Bloodhound Books, and I thought I’d tell you something about it. You can buy it now on Amazon for only 99c/99p or you can get the paperback if you prefer!

Here’s some background 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!

Farlington_marshes_april_2011.jpg

The protagonist

The protagonist of The Lost Girls is ex-investigative journalist Maggie Turner. 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 (as yet undiagnosed), 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 more than 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!

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.

Beautiful stylish fire flames reflected in water

 

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.)

fb post

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

mybook.to/TheLostGirlsPryke

#BookReview for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater

Pink quill books pick_2020

My review for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

This is another great addition to the Solace series. Each novella gives us more background to the universe Drinkwater has created, building up to the two main novels.

In Grubane, he has interwoven the story with tactics used in chess, in a clever, intriguing way. It gives us an insight into Grubane’s mind, and leads the story along to its gripping conclusion.

The interaction between the AI and Major Grubane is intelligent, witty, and at times almost childlike, as the AI questions its almost human-like feelings. I loved these two characters – neither is as sterile or emotionless as they seem at the beginning.

A great read, as ever, from Drinkwater. I highly recommend the whole series!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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