#BookReview for The Other Miss Bates: The second book in the Highbury Trilogy by Allie Cresswell

My review for The Other Miss Bates by Allie Cresswell, 5/5 stars.

This beautiful story carries on from where the first left off, following Jane Bates as she leaves Highbury and goes to Brighton to look after an invalid widow. Far from the elderly woman she expects to find, Mrs Sealy is nearer her own age and full of joy and mischief. What follows is a delightful story as Jane’s eyes are opened to Brighton’s society, far different from that of the country village where she used to live.

The reader is transported back to other times, and comes to find out more about Jane and her life. The author has recreated these characters perfectly, in keeping with the original story, while adding her own unique touch to each one. I also love the style of writing and the easy flow of the story.

Having read both the first and second books in the trilogy, I’m now waiting impatiently for the third! Highly recommend.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for The Birdsong Promise by Kate Frost

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My review for The Birdsong Promise by Kate Frost, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

I read The Butterfly Storm a few months ago and loved it, so couldn’t wait to read The Birdsong Promise. (You can read my review here on Goodreads.) What can I say? It was even better than the first book!

Sophie and Alekos have created a new life in Greece, far away from his interfering mother, with their adorable 3-year-old daughter, Thea. Then Sophie goes back to the UK for her mum’s hen do, and finds herself thrown back into her turbulent past.

The author draws you in with her descriptions of Greece, the food, the people, the culture, so that you feel as though you are there, alongside the characters. I live in Italy, and can certain similarities between the two cultures. When Sophie mentions the mother-in-law forcing them to eat enormous quantities of food, I burst out laughing. That happens here in Italy too!

I loved the laid-back atmosphere of their creative retreat far away from noisy towns, with only birds singing to wake them up in the morning. It’s the kind of lifestyle most of us dream of having, but at least we can get a taste of it through this story and the author’s wonderful writing.

All of the people from the first book are here, together with a couple of new characters -it’s like seeing old friends after a long absence. Ben is back, creating waves of unease throughout the story, and he…well, I’ll let you find out for yourselves!

I love the style of writing, the descriptions, and the easy-flowing narrative, and hope the author writes more of these stories so we can follow Sophie and Alekos’ life in Greece. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

I highly recommend both the books in this series.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

MG/YA Book Launch!

My good friend Sarah Northwood and I are hosting a Facebook event on the 29th September to celebrate the launch of our new books, The Westwood Witches and Adventure in Malasorte Castle, which are releasing on the 30th September.

All these other MG/YA authors are dropping in to help host with chat, games and giveaways, so please come along and join in the fun! We’ll be giving away paperback and digital copies of our books too! Hope to see you there!

Trisha J. Kelly
https://www.facebook.com/TrishajkellyAuthor/

Kade Cook
https://www.facebook.com/kadecook.author/

Kate Frost
https://www.facebook.com/timeshiftersbooks/

Bob Stone
https://www.facebook.com/BobStoneAuthor/

Jenny Burke
https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-S-Burke-721518861218158/

Terry Marchion
https://www.facebook.com/TerryMarchionAuthor/

Blurb for The Westwood Witches

Aero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back… 
Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.

See on Amazon

Blurb for Adventure in Malasorte Castle

Twelve-year-old Izzy is excited to be spending the summer holidays with her Italian grandmother. She eagerly listens to spine-tingling tales of the evil spirits that once infested Val De Monio, in awe of the Guardians who did battle with them. But when Gran tells her about a Mazzapeghoul, a wicked demon, still inhabiting Malasorte Castle, Izzy starts to doubt whether her stories are true.

When her new-found Italian friends suggest spending a night in Malasorte Castle to prove it isn’t haunted, she jumps at the chance to join them. But things start going bump in the night, and they begin to wonder if the Mazzapeghoul is more than just a local myth.

Why did the last members of the family flee the castle in 1932, leaving it empty and desolate? Can Izzy and her friends solve the puzzle and break the curse on the castle before it’s too late?

See at all online retailers

#BookReview for The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood

Pink quill books pick_jpegThis is my review for The Westwood Witches by Sarah Northwood, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

I’ve read all of Sarah Northwood’s books, so when I got the chance to work with Sarah on her latest novel, I was really excited! I’ve seen this book transform from its first draft to the final, polished version it is today, and it has been a privilege to be a part of the whole process. Sarah has worked hard at developing the story into something she should be extremely proud of.

Right from the start, I loved this book! Aero, the protagonist, lacks self-confidence, finds it hard to make friends, and is fed up with being bullied at school. But underneath her timid exterior is a feisty young girl just waiting to come out. And when she inherits something special from her grandmother, her life completely changes.

This story is different from your usual YA. There’s no eye-rolling, or flouncing out of rooms in a huff, or stroppy teenage fights with the parents. And there’s no soppy love story with blatant misunderstandings and teenage angst. Instead, Aero is portrayed as a ‘real’ teenager – one who is trying to find her place in life while dealing with school, studying, and all the usual problems 17-year-olds have to face, which are exacerbated when a tragic event occurs. And of course, Aero is no ordinary 17-year-old girl.

The book is a mix of fun, sadness, hope, terror, new beginnings and sad endings. The reader goes through every emotion with Aero as events unfold and mysteries are revealed. The author has also created a whole new world called the Shadow Realm, filled with mystical creatures, which I look forward to learning more about in the next book.

This is a wonderful, unique YA story that I highly recommend!

You can pre-order it now at the special price of 99c/99p. The book releases on 30 September 2018.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for Coffee Break Companion by S.L. Grigg

I’m pleased to be part of Sharon Griggs’ blog tour this week. I read her book, Coffee Break Companion, in a couple of days, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Before my review, though, here’s some information about the book and the author.

slgrigg-coffeebreakcompanion-final

Blurb:

Grab that cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer), maybe add a splash of something stronger, settle down and enjoy your break with this gripping collection of flash fiction and poetry that will send shivers down your spine. With an added bonus of a longer story at the end that will fill your lunch break. What are you waiting for? Dive in! Everything from a discovery in an Ice Cavern, to a tornado. Mermaids, and Dragons. Mystery and Horror. This collection of flash fiction and poetry has something to capture anyone’s imagination, with a final chilling thriller that will leave you gasping for air.

About the author:

SLGrigg CBC

 

This is the first published book by S.L. Grigg having previously written a popular blog on mental health, and having articles published by Mind, the mental health charity, and NHS England. Working for NHS England from a home in Bromsgrove, England, S.L Grigg lives with a partner and two adult children. S.L Grigg has studied everything from Science and Law, to Journalism and Pilates but writing has always been the greatest passion in S.L.Grigg’s life.

www.facebook.com/SLGRIGG76

www.slgrigg76.wordpress.com

Wherever you are in the #World this link will take you to your local #Amazon site so you can pick up a copy of my #firstbook #selfpub #newauthor #indieauthors #free on #Kindleunlimited

https://t.co/3AYfZ79zLl

Here’s my review for Coffee Break Companion, 5/5 stars!

It’s not easy to create credible, interesting characters in a short story, but S.L. Grigg does just that – not once, but over and over again in each story in her book. Be warned, though, and don’t get too attached to the characters – she also has a knack of turning an ordinary, run-of-the-mill situation into terror-filled moments with a twist you won’t see coming.

Right from the start, I understood these stories would be something special, and the author didn’t disappoint. Some are long, some are short, and throughout, the book is interspersed with some wonderful poems that will touch your heart.

A lovely read that I highly recommend.

6 month offer

 

#BookReview for White Birch Graffiti by Jeff Van Valer

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My review for White Birch Graffiti, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

First of all, if you haven’t read the first book, The Light in the Trees, then you should! You can see my review and the Amazon links here.

White Birch Graffiti is set thirty years after the first book. Most of the characters return, in one way or another. Ted, the protagonist, is an ER doctor and is happily married, although he still has nightmares about that fateful night thirty years earlier. Little does he realise the nightmare is about to become real.

The story takes off straight away, drawing you in as events unfold in quick succession. There is one scene in particular at the beginning that left me speechless – the way the author describes it makes you feel as if you’re actually there, going through everything the character experiences.

This is a powerfully-written book about a terrible secret, one man’s fight against time during a race to power in the White House, and the people who are sacrificed on the way. It’s a story of friendship, power struggles, deceit, loss, and a grudgingly-mutual respect born from life-long animosity.

I was lucky enough to be asked to proofread this book by the author, so could read it before everyone else! I had already read the first book, which I enjoyed, and was completely blown away by this sequel. I highly recommend you read both!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview of A Time for New Beginnings by Mette Barfelt

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My review for A Time for New Beginnings by Mette Barfelt, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

I’ve read the first 2 books in the series, and each one gets better and better. Each book is centered around 2 characters, who turn up again in the next books. It’s like meeting old friends! This time, we follow the antics of newcomers Bettina and Preben as they deal with opening a guest house, a grumpy aunt who refuses to get out of bed, and much more.

The author’s descriptions of the fictional town of Solvik make you wish it was real, and I’d love to taste some of those pastries. Luckily, she’s included several recipes at the end, which I think I’m going to have to try some time soon!

This book deals with some tougher topics than the others, but the author has written about them in a sensitive way that doesn’t detract from the story. Her characters are always true to life – some are blustering idiots, some are plain spiteful, while others could be your best friend.

These cozy romances are a delight to read, and I look forward to the next one.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Happy Publication Day! The Secret by Katharine Johnson

June 1st is Publication Day for The Secret by Katharine Johnson

I recently read The Silence by Katharine Johnson, and pre-ordered The Secret as soon as it was available. Today I finally get to read it! I’m really pleased to present Katharine’s second novel, and highly recommend you read the first one as well! I love the Ape on the cover (pronounced Ah-pay) – an iconic Italian car that has been causing tailbacks on the roads for decades!

Secret cover

This is the second book set at Villa Leonida, the house at the centre of The Silence which was published last year but it’s a standalone story.

In The Silence some bodies were discovered at Villa Leonida, an idyllic holiday home, during a children’s game of hide-and-seek during a family holiday. They’re found to relate back to the summer of 1992.

A year on, in The Secret, the villa has been put up for sale. Which for elderly resident Sonia can only mean one thing – that the renewed interest and gossip will lead to the discovery of her own secret which relates to that same evening at the villa in 1992.

But while she’s desperate to keep the past hidden another resident, Carlo, can’t leave it alone. He’s determined to discover the truth about a wartime atrocity in which Sonia’s mother and his own played a part.

Here’s the blurb:

Love, lies and betrayal in wartime Italy. Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences. Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War friendship is tested and loyalties divided. But a chance encounter changes everything. The girls’ lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house I their Tuscan village while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage, nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds. While Irena’s son is determined to get to the truth, Martina’s daughter is desperate to keep the past hidden.

The Secret is published by Crooked Cat Books and is available in paperback £6.99 and kindle £1.99 here: http://thesecretjohnson

Find out more at the Online launch on 1-2  June  https://www.facebook.com/events/111942169663863/

About the author

Katharine Johnson likes writing about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. She’s passionate about old houses and the stories they have to tell. She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire but spends as much time as she can in the Lucca area of Tuscany. When not writing you’ll find her exploring cities, drinking coffee, playing netball badly and walking her madcap spaniel

Links

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/@kjohnsonwrites

Website/blog https://katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com

 

Interview with Jennifer (The Healer’s Secret)

Thank you for this wonderful interview with Jennifer from The Healer’s Secret, Annette!

A Chat with Annette

The Healer's Secret_kindle coverI’m very happy to welcome a guest from Italy today to chat with me on my sofa. I met Jennifer in a book called “The Healer’s Secret” written by Helen Pryke and her story is filled with loss and heartache. Nevertheless, the lady sitting next to me is looking quite happy. Welcome Jennifer!

Hi Annette, thanks for having me.

Would you like some coffee?

She laughs.
Do you really need to ask that?

No, not really.
Jennifer, you have been incredibly honest when you told your story and I can only marvel at the things you have gone through. For those who know nothing about it, you were born in the UK and then moved over to Italy to spend some time with your mother’s relatives. Tell me, when you first met your Italian relations, were they family to you immediately or rather strangers who grew into family…

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Book review: The Healer’s Secret by Helen Pryke

It was lovely to find this review for The Healer’s Secret from Shuffle Bookbox!

Shuffle Bookbox

Published: 15/11/2017
Publisher: Pink Quill Books
207 pages
Format: Kindle

Jennifer’s life isn’t going as she planned. Fired from her job and on the brink of divorce at thirty-one, her only salvation lies at the bottom of a wine bottle. When her mother insists she get away from everything, she reluctantly agrees to explore her Italian roots in Tuscany.

Staying in her family’s centuries-old cottage, she becomes embroiled in a mysterious tragedy involving her great-grandmother no-one wants to talk about. As she delves further into her ancestors’ history, she discovers there is more to her heritage than meets the eye.

Ghosts from the past could give Jennifer something she thought she’d never have: a future. But that depends on whether she can resist temptation and avoid slipping back into her old ways.

Will she be able to conquer her inner demons and discover the healer’s secret?


51iR7em1KnL.jpgThe Healer’s Secret, the book…

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