Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Today I am pleased to share my review for Taryn Leigh’s new release The Secret Letters, a romantic suspense novel set in the beautiful setting of South Africa.

 

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

 

The Secret Letters Cover

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Title: The Secret Letters

Author: Taryn Leigh

Publisher: Kingsley Publishers

Release date: 9th August 2020

Genre: Women’s fiction, suspense romance

 

Blurb:

RACHEL, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.

Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.

After a long relationship with her boyfriend WILL starts to go south, she turns to her best friend AMELIA for guidance.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother RUARI.

Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

My Thoughts

This is the second novel I have read from Taryn Leigh. The first one, Perfect Imperfections, stayed with me long after I finished it and I can not look at a toy giraffe without thinking about the principal character, Sarah. This shows the impact it had. When the opportunity arose for a place on this blog tour run by Rachel’s Random Resources, I grabbed it and I was not disappointed.

This romantic suspense novel is unusual and took me on an emotional roller coaster with dark moments, followed by lighter, joyous scenes before being hurtled back into despair. It gripped me from the first chapter when Rachel was introduced to the last page as it follows her recovery from traumatic events and the romantic possibilities threaded throughout.  It covers some harrowing topics with haunting realism including assault and mental health issues, but Taryn Leigh approaches them sensitively. I felt Rachel’s pain as she dealt with several events life sends her way and her dependency on the mysterious letters to gain strength and move forward.  I guessed where some of the story was going, but this did not distract from my enjoyment or desire to know more.

Mr Lemon provides welcome relief with a tale of his own and he was a delightful, memorable character.

The settings described in the novel are stunning including the jacaranda trees in Pretoria, South Africa portrayed on the book cover. The tea garden was calming and somewhere I would love to experience in reality. The inclusion of a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house was enlightening and the quote of his speech resonated with me during these uneasy times. I have all the places in this book to my dream globetrotting itinerary.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an emotional, beautiful read and like her debut novel will stay with me.

Author Biography

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh

 

Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.

Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tarynleighauthor.com

Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Twitter: @tarynleighbook

Facebook: Taryn Leigh Author

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and the advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you want to know more about this book, why not visit others on the tour.

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

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Book Review: Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe

It is the weekend and I am happy to share my review for Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe as part of her blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Book Review: Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe

 

COMING HOME TO HERITAGE COVE_FRONT_RGB150dpi

Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe

Title: Coming Home to Heritage Cove

Author: Helen J Rolfe

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 9th June 2020

Blurb

Welcome to Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea brimming with character, community and friendship, and the perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Melissa rushes back to Heritage Cove when Barney, the man who’s been like a father figure to her since she was a little girl, ends up in hospital. After an absence of five years, her return isn’t going to be easy, especially when she bumps into Harvey, the love of her life and the man she’s never been able to forget.

For reasons he couldn’t explain at the time, Harvey changed his mind about going with Melissa to start afresh as they’d planned, and life moved on for the both of them. But with Melissa back in the village and determined to stick around to help Barney, they can’t avoid each other forever. Melissa knows she let so many people down by staying away for so long, but she and Harvey blame each other for what happened and neither of them is willing to admit to being in the wrong.

When Barney insists on cancelling the Wedding Dress Ball, the charity fundraiser he holds every year in the stunning barn on his property, Melissa and Harvey realise they’re going to have to pull together. Otherwise the man they once knew might be gone forever. And when they unearth a secret Barney has never shared with anyone, they go in search of answers to not only ensure the ball runs this summer, but to bring back the Barney they know and love.

Back in the cove after all this time, Melissa gets to see the life she left behind and it’s time to deal with what it was that drove her away in the first place.

Beneath the summer sunshine in Heritage Cove, the sea sparkles, the heat rises and new love, reconciliations and the answers to an old love story could bring changes for everyone.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B086YYZF27

US – https://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Heritage-Cove-delightfully-ebook/dp/B086YYZF27

My Thoughts

We have had a few soggy days here in Yorkshire which provided the perfect opportunity to curl up with Helen J.Rolfe’s new book, Coming Home to Heritage Cove for some much needed escapism and sunshine as promised by its vibrant cover.

This is a novel about second chances for Melissa and Barney. Melissa returns to the lovely scenic Heritage Cove after spending time in London building up her career and is on the verge of starting a new chapter of her life with her boyfriend, Jay. An email saying Barney is in hospital throws all her plans in the air.

I loved the close relationship between Melissa, Harvey and Barney and for me this was the thread I enjoyed most. Barney stepped in as a surrogate father when they needed him and now they are returning the help. The relationship is a testament to the idea people do not have to be related to form a family. The antics of Melissa and Harvey’s childhood in his barn made me smile, and their backstories tugged at the heart. The time spent away gives Melissa a new perspective on the village and people she was avoiding as she struggled with grief and a desire to spread her wings. All topics covered were dealt with sensitively.

The star of the novel was Barney with his crotchety ways now he is infirm and reliant on others. He reminded me of my own grandparent which drew me into the story as did the mystery of the origins of the ball he held every year until his fall. I think I am in the minority in the appreciation of the Wedding Dress Ball;  the concept of re-wearing your wedding dress felt odd to me which made it hard to visualise but I am assured they are successful fundraisers and it did not distract from the essence of the story.

Would I recommend?

It is an uplifting, warm and emotional romance set in a delightful coastal village. The descriptions make you feel you are there, making it a good book to escape into.

Author Biography

Author Photograph Helen Rolfe (4)

Helen J Rolfe

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she finally turned to what she loved and studied writing and journalism. She spent a while freelancing for women’s health and fitness magazines, volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases, and eventually began writing fiction in 2011. And now, she thinks she may just have found her dream job.

Helen currently lives in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband and their children.

Social Media Links –

Helen loves to hear from readers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. She can be found at:

www.helenjrolfe.com
https://www.facebook.com/helenjrolfewriter
https://twitter.com/hjrolfe
www.instagram.com/helen_j_rolfe/

Thank you Rachel for inviting me to the tour and copy of the delightful novel for me to give my honest review.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Scenes from a Country Bookshop by Victoria Connelly

This is my final day on this tour for the Book Lovers series. I am pleased to share my review for the forth book in the Book Lovers Series by Victoria Connelly, Scenes from a Country Bookshop. If you have read my previous reviews for the first three books, The Book Lovers and Rules for a Successful Book Club  and Natural Born Readers you will know I binge read these in a few days. This one was no different. Scroll down to find out more.

Book Review: Scenes from a Country Bookshop by Victoria Connelly

Scenes from a Country Bookshop - Victoria Connelly

Scenes from a Country Bookshop by Victoria Connelly

Title: Scenes from a Country Bookshop

Author: Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Notting Hill Press

Release Date: 6th Nov 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Purchase: Amazon

BLURB

Love can sometimes be really complicated…

Josh Nightingale has always been married to his books. Happy to run his bookshop in the small town of Castle Clare, he’s never really had time for romance and truly believes that he’s never going to fall in love. But, when April Channing opens a new shop opposite his, everything changes.

Sweet and attentive one moment, abrupt and aloof the next, Josh really can’t understand April at all. What exactly is going on? Josh is pretty sure that the answer can’t be found in a book.

Join the Nightingale family once again for this deliciously heartwarming novel, the forth in The Book Lovers series, by the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and A Weekend with Mr Darcy.

My Thoughts

This novel is all about colour. Josh lives his life in books  as his home testifies this with his boring beige walls. He is happy living in a fantasy world which is a trait I can understand. April is the opposite and is a colour magpie, like myself. I related to her appreciation of colour and bohemian ways. This is an aspect I love about this series, I relate to many of the characters which adds an extra layer of enjoyment and involvement in the story. It makes you turn the page. The new characters introduced in this book are adorable and I would love to meet them in real life.  It is difficult to say more about the novel without giving away any spoilers but I enjoyed the twists and unexpected events. 

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a lovely addition to the Book Lovers series. Overall, this series highlights an author with deep characterisation and observational skills making her novels a delight to read and love. The words bring the Nightgale family and Castle Clare alive giving the reader a chance to escape and enjoy. My TBR list has grown with the recommendations of the fictional book club and they have encouraged me to explore different music and appreciate things a little bit more.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Victoria Connelly Author Photo

 

Thank you for Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing me with a copy so I could give my honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Captive by Madeline Dyer

Following on from my last blog with Madeline Dyer I am pleased to share my review for her latest book, Captive.

Book Review for Captive by Madeline Dyer

Captive cover

Captive

Title: Captive

Author: Madeline Dyer

Genre: Biography, poetry

Publisher: Ineja Press

Release Date: 14th Jan 2020

Blurb

I just want to get better and see the stars and believe in hope again.’

Captive, Madeline Dyer’s first poetry collection, is based on the therapy writings she produced when she was experiencing psychosis and OCD due to Autoimmune Basal Ganglia Encephalitis, a rare type of brain inflammation caused by the immune system attacking the brain. While her communication skills and cognitive abilities diminished due to the effects of the inflammation, she was able to share her thoughts and emotions via the written word, a process that gave her great comfort when she otherwise felt possessed.

Captive provides readers with a glimpse of her tormented mind during this dark time of loneliness, loss, and fear.

My Thoughts

A few years ago I was diagnosed with cerebral vasculitis, which is another rare form of inflammation in the brain, and also having problems with my basal ganglia I was intrigued by the blurb to read someone else’s experience of a neurological disease. Reading Madeline’s poems made me appreciate how lucky I was in experiencing mainly physical symptoms. They are raw, honest  and haunting giving an insight into the terrifying world of OCD and psychosis. The panic, fear and confusion comes through with the imagery she uses and I feel privileged to have read them. I wanted to reach into the book and give her a hug and tell her she will get through it. Mental health is rarely discussed at the level it should and as an outsider it is hard to understand how it feels. These poems opened my eyes in a similar way Still Alice by Lisa Genova did for early dementia. It makes me see things differently and have given me a greater awareness and compassion for these conditions.

Would I recommend?

Yes, read them. They are emotional and sometimes hard to read but you will come out of the book a different person which is a sign of a good book and in this case an important collection of poems to raise awareness of mental health.

Author Biography

Madeline Dyer photo

Madeline Dyer

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and holds a BA honours degree in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, Untamed (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged.

Social Media links:

 

Thank you Madeline Dyer for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Do you have any poems that touched you and changed the way you see the world? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

Book review: Wrapped up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

The festive reads continue with a new author for me, Katlyn Duncan.

Book Review: Wrapped Up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

Wrapped Up for Christmas_FINAL

Title: Wrapped Up for Christmas

Author: Katlyn Duncan

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Festive, Romance

Release Date: 1st October 2019

Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NGuQyc
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HBoxs2
B&N: http://bit.ly/32fCF1R
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NGvUlG
iBooks: https://apple.co/2LmsotI
Kobo: http://bit.ly/32jrSUl
Books2read universal link: http://bit.ly/34deOBH

My Thoughts

I loved the overall Christmas feel of this novel with the decorations, trees and festive food leaping off the page but it was the shopping mall which resonated with me most. In my student days, my first job was working in a mall at Christmas and I loved it – the atmosphere, people watching and helping shoppers with their retail experience. Katlyn Duncan has captured the essence of that perfectly as Angie returns to the mall she once worked. She is a character I could relate too and Nick along with his dog, Charlie makes a good love interest. Their chemistry meant I was more than happy to have a duvet day to continue reading to discover how family feuds and trust issues played out.

It is heart-warming, reminded me of the important things about the festive season – love, charity and goodwill – and more importantly, gave me the tingle of anticipation that soon it will be time to decorate my own tree.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is entertaining, heart-warming and pure escapism allowing you time away from soggy days and gear up for the Christmas period which is on its way.

Author Biography

Wrapped UP Author Photo

Author Katlyn Duncan

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

SCBWI & RWA Member.

Social Media Links –

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katlyn_duncan

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/duncankatlyn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7060690.Katlyn_Duncan

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katlyn-duncan

Newsletter sign up: https://www.subscribepage.com/q6i5n1

 

Thank you Rachel Random Resources, and HQ Digital for an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion. It was a pleasure to read.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Today I am reviewing something slightly different to the usual books found on this blog. When I am not reading, blogging or sleeping I write fiction. Like many readers, I dream of seeing my book in a book shop surrounded by authors I love so when I was offered a chance to review this book on writing fiction I knew I had to take it.  My writing journey can be found here.

Book Review: Writing Fiction A User-friendly Guide by James Essinger

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Title: Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Author: James Essinger

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Publisher: The Conrad Press

Release Date: 1st August 2019

Blurb

‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

My Thoughts

James Essinger is a novelist, non-fiction writer and publisher so he has the experience to write a writing guide. This is a concise, useful and easy-to-read book for beginners and breaks down the important elements of fiction writing. Examples are given to illustrate the advice with links to Back to the Future, Titanic and The Day of the Jackal.

I enjoyed learning about how the oral tradition of telling stories around the campfire has evolved through time to Dickens, Conrad and more modern novelists like Ken Follett and the importance of picking a role model suitable for today’s readers. He gives a good overview of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey which gives a story a solid structure. There are several tips that will help my writing but as a writer of women’s fiction and magical realism some suggestions were not applicable. If I had read this before learning the expectations of readers from those genres, I think I would have come away disheartened after trying to fit my manuscript to all the points given and failing. The bias to male authors made the book less relatable to what it could have been.

Would I recommend?

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide is useful and the length makes it ideal to read  between writing your own chapters. It is worth reading for writers of crime and thrillers.


Author Biography

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)

James Essinger

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger  

https://twitter.com/jamesessinger

 Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and The Conrad Press for the copy of Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide to review and give my honest opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

 

 

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

I am pleased to share my review for Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation as part of a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Title: Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Genre: Supernatural  historical thriller

Publisher: magnificent!

Release Date: 10 Mar. 2019

Blurb

If a ghost appeared from nowhere, rescued you from suicide and then ordered you to start solving crimes to help dead people, what would you do? When it happens to Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. But now he has to atone for the family curse that has seen all the men die at their own hands for five generations. The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now and see and hear the Dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because only fools believe in the supernatural, don’t they? Full of pop culture references, banter and twists, the story takes us from present-day London and Flanders to scenes from World War 1. As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 pursues them all.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PLLNB4M

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PLLNB4M

My Thoughts

I’m not sure what I was expecting but this novel exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t a book I wanted to rush but longed to savour each scene. This is unusual for me as I am a reader who likes to gallop to the end if I am immersed in the story. I enjoyed the style, pace and Torchwood-like content – full of distinctive characters, supernatural battles, suspense and danger. The pose was a good balance of description, dialogue with banter and action creating vivid, highly visual scenes. It is easy to imagine the story on the screen.

There are many memorable characters to love. Despite descriptions to the contrary, I visualised and heard The Gliss as the Max, the robotic commander in The Flight of the Navigator which added an extra surreal element to this wonderful book. The dynamics between the characters move the plot forward because of their different personalities  particularly Porter and his sister Cherry. It highlights the contrast between how siblings can react to a common upbringing which affects their adult life.  My favourite person has to be Feng for his unique, unhinged view of the world which is needed to add lightness because the book delves into the dark subjects of depression, suicide and horrors of World War One. Some readers may find some scenes distressing.

Would I recommend?

If you love supernatural thrillers with unforgettable and quirky characters, yes. This is one of my favourite supernatural books, on par with the early  Peter James books so I will be following this series and author closely. I would be pleased to have this book on my forever shelf as I suspect it is one which will improve with each rereading.

Author Biography

Dead and Talking - DES DARK

Des Burkinshaw

Born in the middle of the Summer of Love on a pre-fab council estate in Luton, teenage bitterness and a chance viewing of the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men, made him vow to become a journalist and bring down the government.

First he had to pay for his journalism course, so he became a civil servant. Literally the day he had enough for his fees, he packed it in.
Twelve years on from watching the film, he was a journalist at The Times and had a big hand in bringing down John Major’s government. News ambitions sated, he packed that in too.

Several years of working for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC as a senior producer saw him working across the world, but he eventually got fed up with asking bands how the new album was coming along, and packed it in.

He set up his own production company magnificent! in 2002 and simultaneously worked on the BBC Live Events team for another 10 years. But then six years of work on the Olympics came along, so he packed the BBC in. Again.

Des has jammed with many of his heroes from Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Queen to Nancy Sinatra. He has interviewed many A-listers, including David Bowie, Michael Caine, John Cleese and even Noam Chomsky.

He has directed/produced a fairly long list of people – Muse, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, produced BBC3’s Glastonbury coverage for a couple of years, made films about leprosy in India, comedy shorts with Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry and played guitar for Chas and Dave at the Hackney Empire.

He has made 300+ short films for the Queen, MI5, the BBC, Sky, Discovery, EMI, the British Academy and dozens of authorities, charities and private sector firms. His most recent publication was a series of interviews with leading academics like Mary Beard on the state of the humanities which was published as a standalone magazine by the British Academy.

Fed up with travelling and determined to be a half-decent dad, he now works in London as often as he can. He runs the Young Directors Film School making movies with young people and is about to head up the Digital Film and Video MA at Tileyard. An avid musician and producer, he releases his third album as Romano Chorizo (he plays drums, bass, piano, guitar and really bad sax).

He hates to be pigeon-holed, thinks creativity is a learned state of mind and wishes they would teach people memory and learning techniques at school.

Dead & Talking is his debut novel, the first in a series of Porter & The Gliss investigations.

 

Social Media Links

Website www.desburkinshaw.com

Twitter twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

Facebook facebook as Des Burkinshaw

Giveaway to Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dead & Talking (Open INT)*

I am pleased to offer you the chance to read this book.

Click here to enter

Reading this book reminded me of why I love book blogging; it gives the opportunity to discover an author and series which may have slipped under my radar otherwise. I loved the hours I spent immersed in Norton and Gliss’ investigation so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the tour and free ARC to read.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

I am pleased to start this week with a review for The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas. As many of you know I love books about the supernatural so I was excited to be given the chance to be on this blog tour organised by @rararesources

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

The House of Secrets_FINAL (1)

The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Title: The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book 2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: paranormal crime

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release Date: 11th April 2019

Blurb

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

Purchase News: The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also 99p throughout June.

My Thoughts

The opening scene grabbed my attention but the verdict of Sarah’s father murder trial clinched it, I knew I would like this book . The House of Secrets is the second in the Sarah Bennett series but it can be read as a standalone. It does make you curious about Sarah Bennett’s and Zeke’s back story which is why the previous one The Spirit of Grace is on my TBR list . The premise of a psychic protagonist investigating crime is not unique but set in the 1940s  the threat of being admitted to an asylum is ever present adding to the overall tension. Sarah is haunted by the past but determined not to sucked under by the spirits she hears or the gossip that follows her.

The prose and imagery made it a relaxing read and reminded me of the Agatha Christie Mysteries but with ghosts which I think is a wonderful combination. I was immersed in the working of the Geisler household and its occupants. It has been converted into an institute for psychiatric patients but with Dr Geisler’s interest in the occult some are also believed to have psychic abilities. Minna is a classic damsel in distress from a Gothic novel and was fun to read but my favourite character was sophisticated Cynthia. I would love to read about her and hope she plays apart in any future books. All the characters including Dr Gleiser have an air of secrecy about them and I felt any of them could prove to be Sarah’s undoing. Like Sarah I was unsure who to trust and where the story would go.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a refreshing, cosy read for lazy days on the beach, Sunday mornings or hiding under the duvet. I am looking forward to reading more of the series and other books by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Author Biography

The House of Secrets Headshot

Author Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources, and HQ Digital for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. For more information and reviews on The House Of Secret why not visit the other blogs on the tour.

I love ghostly reads so feel free to share your recommendations below and if you have read this series please let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Love

The House of Secrets Full Tour Banner

Other blogs on this tour

Blog Tour: Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner @rararesources

I enjoy paranormal romances so I was excited to be invited by @rararesources to join this blog tour. Unfortunately, it has been a difficult few weeks and I have been battling brain fog so reading has been put on hold. Instead of the review I was hoping to post I am pleased to share with you the information of the book waiting patiently on my TBR and an exciting giveaway. Thread of Hope is the second book of the Choices and Consequences series by Rachel J Bonner. When  my reading mojo returns, I  will share my review so watch this space.

During this blog tour the first book of the series Strand of Faith is available for the promotional price of 99p but if you would like a chance to win both books, read on.

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Thread Front Cover

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Title: Thread of Hope

Author: Rachel J Bonner

Publisher: Isbin Publishers

Release Date: 2nd May 2019

Blurb for Thread Of Hope

The enthralling sequel to the compelling Strand of Faith.

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?

Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…

Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…

Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?

Purchase Links:

 Amazon Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NBH7J2T

Google Play –
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Thread_of_Hope?id=bMCSDwAAQBAJ

Other ebook retailers – https://books2read.com/threadofhope

Need to know more about the first book? Here is the blurb.

Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner

Blurb

A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

 Strand of Faith Purchase Links

Strand of Faith Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GKZT8LF/

Strand of Faith Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Strand_of_Faith?id=bQyBDwAAQBAJ

Strand of Faith Other retailers    https://www.books2read.com/strandoffaith

Author Biography

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, was released in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Target shooting only, honest.  Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

Website                               http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/

Blog                                       http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/blogofweek.html

Twitter                                 https://www.twitter.com/racheljbonner1

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

Newsletter sign up          http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/newsletter.html or https://www.subscribepage.com/o8x8t3

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Thread of Hope you have a chance  to win a signed copy of both Strand of Faith and Thread of Hope, plus bookmarks and business cards that match each book, and one of the Holding Crosses that the monks and nuns have.  (Open INT)

Thread of Hope Giveaway Prize

Bundle of goodies to win

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494222/?

Good luck!

Have you read the series? I would love to know your views in the comments below.

Love

 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

 

 

Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

It seems ages since I reviewed a book that was not women’s fiction so I am happy to be part of the blog tour for Two Little Girls by Frances Vick.

Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

Two-Little-Girls-Kindle

Two Little Girls Book Cover

Title:  Two Little Girls

Author: Frances Vick

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: 17th April

Purchase Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07MW3ZSDYSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2CrlQ9I

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yb5m7j6r

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/ybdgj2kg

Blurb:

An innocent girl is taken. The killer confesses.
But that’s not the whole story. That’s not even the beginning…

It’s 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook family’s lodger behind bars.

…But what if Kirsty made a mistake?

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates – tortured by her memories, she’s determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago…

An absolutely gripping emotional drama for fans of The Couple Next Door, Whisper Me This and Laura Elliot

 My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read from this author but it will not be the last. It began in 1985 with two best friends Lisa and Kirsty pushing the boundaries and rules of childhood. I was a similar age at the time; I could visualise their lives easily with the mention of Grange Hill, Care bears and Smash Hits but it took me a while to get into the book and relate to both girls. It became easier to form the connection to Kirsty as the harsh consequences of Lisa’s disappearance were revealed. There were times I thought I knew what had happened as she began to uncover the truth but the introduction of two psychics turned my assumptions around. I love books with a potential supernatural element so I became gripped as the tension increased and the pace escalated to the surprising finale.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a strong psychological thriller with an interesting premise and many twists making it a good book to snuggle down under the duvet with at a weekend. I am looking forward to adding more of Frances Vick book on my TBR list.

Author Biography:

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Frances Vick

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. 

Author Social Media Links:

TWITTER: @franvicksays

WEBSITE: www.francesvick.co.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/FrancesVickAuthor/

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9843604.Frances_Vick

Thank you Bookouture, NetGalley and Frances Vick for the opportunity to be part of this tour and an advanced copy of the book so I could give an honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love