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: 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

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Other blogs on this tour

Book and First Chapter Cover Reveal: The Things We Need to Say

This is the first time I have taken part in a book cover reveal and I am excited that Rachel Burton’s  The Things We Need to Say is the first one. It is atmospheric and fits so well with the blurb. There is also the first chapter to read to tempt you and anticipate its release in May.  It is already on my TBR pile.

6 The Things We Need to Say_Final Cover

Blurb

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

 Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

 

 

First Chapter of The Things We Need to Say

DECEMBER 2004

 

It started at the party. His hands on my hips, my forehead against his shoulder. He asked me to dance but he didn’t know how. We stood together at the edge of the dance floor shaking with laughter at his two left feet. I don’t know how long we stood there. I don’t know if anybody noticed.

He’d waited for me, sitting with my friends, not sure if I’d turn up or not. I wasn’t in the habit of going to work Christmas parties; I only went in the end because he said he would be there, because he said he would wait for me. I arrived just as the main course was being served. I slipped into the seat next to him. His hand brushed against my thigh as I sat down. He held my gaze for longer than he should have done.

I fell in love with him that night as we stood on the dance floor laughing, my hands on his waist, feeling the muscles of his back, the warmth of his body, through his dress shirt, the press of him against my hip.

That was where it began. I sometimes wonder if that should have been where it ended.

But later that evening, as I got out of his car, and I said those words I should have kept to myself, we both knew there was no going back.

 

JULY 2016

Fran

 

She wakes up in the same position in which she fell asleep, her husband’s arms around her, their hands entwined on her stomach. Neither of them have slept that deeply for months. Fran remembers something: a hotel room on a Greek island, a feeling of hope, of new beginnings. She doesn’t allow the memory to linger. This is what they have now. They can be happy again if they allow themselves to be.

The hot, humid weather has broken in the night and she listens to the sound of summer rain on the roof. Will moves gently against her, pulling her closer. She feels his breath against her neck and the sensation of hot liquid in her stomach, a combination of desire and need. This is their second chance – she can’t let it pass her by.

‘I love you,’ Will says sleepily.

‘I love you too,’ she replies. It feels good to be saying it to each other again. She’s never stopped loving him; she just forgot how to tell him for a while.

‘Do you want me to go and make coffee?’ Will asks, nuzzling her neck.

‘Not just yet,’ she replies, turning around to look at him. His brown eyes are dark, impenetrable pools. His hair is pushed back off his face. Sometimes she forgets how much all of this has affected him too. Sometimes she forgets everything except her own pain. She feels his warmth against her, his strength. She feels as though the gulf that had been threatening to open up between them for the last year is slowly closing. She realises they have so much life ahead of them. So much time to learn to be happy again.

‘I thought I’d lost you,’ Will says quietly, reaching up to stroke her face. ‘I thought you’d gone, but recently I feel as though you’ve come back to me.’

She smiles softly. ‘I thought I’d lost you too,’ she says. ‘This last year has been …’ She doesn’t finish. She can’t finish.

She watches as a shadow of anguish crosses his face, as his brow furrows, as his jaw tightens. She recognises that look, recognises the pain he is trying to hide. She hears the shudder of his breath. His eyes flick away for a moment; he pauses for a fraction too long.

‘No,’ he says. ‘You never lost me. I’ll always be here.’

She kisses him gently then, and feels his hand drift down the bones of her spine.

Later, showered and dressed, they finally appear in the kitchen; Will’s younger brother, Jamie, is already sitting at the table drinking coffee. Will and Fran are hardly able to stop touching each other.

Jamie smiles at them, raising an eyebrow. ‘You’re up late,’ he says. Fran feels herself blushing, her stomach flipping over, and turns away towards the toaster.

‘Thanks for last night,’ Jamie goes on. ‘I needed that.’ Recently separated from his wife, living apart from his children, Jamie is lonely. Last night wasn’t the first Saturday night he’d spent with them. Fran knows Will has been throwing himself into cheering his brother up. She doesn’t mind. Jamie makes Will smile and it’s good to see him smile again.

As Will and Jamie start talking about the cricket, she feels her husband’s hand on her thigh, the warm, solid sensation of him right there next to her. They have been given a second chance, and they have grabbed it with both hands. She isn’t naive enough to think everything is going to go back to the way it used to be, but she knows that they can move on; they can talk and heal together. They can take another chance on living, find a new kind of normal.

Will stretches, draining his coffee cup. ‘This weather isn’t going to let up is it?’ he says looking out of the window where the rain is rattling against the frames like beads in a jar. ‘I’m going to have to cancel the cricket.’ As captain of the village team it is up to him to reschedule this afternoon’s match. Fran is quietly delighted that the weather means she doesn’t have to spend her last afternoon with her husband before she goes away watching him play cricket. Will gets up and walks into his study, shutting the door behind him.

‘How are you feeling about tomorrow?’ Jamie asks.

‘Nervous,’ Fran replies. ‘It’s the first time I’ve been on a plane on my own, which is pathetic at my age, I know.’

‘It’s OK to be nervous.’

‘It’s the first time Will and I have been apart since …’ She trails off. Jamie knows what she’s talking about. ‘I’m worried about him too.’

Jamie smiles. ‘I’ll look after him,’ he says.

After a moment Jamie gets up and follows Will into his study. He doesn’t knock; he just opens the door and walks in. As Fran starts to clear the breakfast dishes she hears raised voices but can’t quite make out what they are saying. She rolls her eyes to herself. As an only child she has long since given up on understanding Will and Jamie’s relationship: best friends one minute, bickering the next. She just hopes Jamie doesn’t stay too long – she wants her husband to herself for the day.

 

Will

 

It rains all day, the sky grey and waterlogged and heavy with cloud. After Jamie leaves, Will pulls Fran towards him, his hands at the back of her head where her skull meets her neck, where her hair is cut so short.

‘No cricket,’ he says. ‘I’m all yours.’

She smiles, standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

‘Can we just watch a film or something?’ she says. ‘I’m tired and I have to pack for Spain later.’ His stomach drops at the thought of her going away. He wishes he’d never encouraged her to do it.

‘I’d forgotten about Spain,’ he says.

‘No you hadn’t. It’s the only thing we’ve talked about for ages.’

Will had watched Fran spend the last few weeks flipping back and forth between excitement and terror at the thought of going to Spain on her own. He knew she was strong enough to do it; he knew she was stronger than anyone realised. But he also knew that she wondered if she was ready. When she first mentioned Spain to him he had seen it as a perfect opportunity to help her begin to put herself back together again after what had been the worst year of both their lives. He tried to believe that everything life threw at him was an opportunity.

Fran had been teaching at a studio in central Cambridge for six years and had been asked to teach for a week on a retreat in Spain. Will had always supported her teaching, always tried to put her career on a level par with his own and had done everything he could to help her find the strength to go back to work in January. None of it had felt as though it was enough. None of it would make up for the last year, the things he had said, the things he had done. Suddenly he is terrified about being on his own. Neither of them have been alone for months.

‘What do you want to watch?’ he asks, squatting down in front of the TV.

‘Can we watch Some Like it Hot?’ Fran replies.

Will rolls his eyes. He must have seen it a hundred times, but puts it in the DVD player anyway and goes to settle himself on the sofa. ‘Come here,’ he says, and she sits with him, leaning back against his chest.

‘Are you OK about Spain?’ he asks quietly.

‘I think so,’ she says. ‘I’m nervous, but I’m excited as well.’

‘Elizabeth will be there with you, won’t she?’

‘Yes, and Constance. In fact, I already know most of the other people who are going. I’ll be fine.’ She pauses. ‘Are you going to be OK?’ she asks quietly.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ he says, lying back on the sofa, wrapping his arms around her. He doesn’t know how to answer the question. He wants to tell her everything but knows that now is not the right time.

‘I’m going to miss you too,’ she replies.

He kisses the top of her head as she presses ‘play’ on the remote control. He watches her as she watches her favourite film, her lips moving along with the characters – she still knows every word by heart. They used to spend rainy Sundays like this when they were younger, when life seemed easier.

Halfway through the film he realises that Fran is crying – fat, salty tears running down her cheeks.

‘Fran?’ he asks quietly, pressing pause on the remote.

Fran doesn’t reply, she just turns around and he takes her in his arms. He feels her body against his. She clings to him as though her life depends on it and he holds her close as she cries and cries. He can’t remember the last time he saw her cry like this. They had both done their grieving in private over the last year but to Will it feels as though Fran has been holding all this in for months, shutting herself down. He’s relieved that she finally seems ready to let go.

‘I want my old life back,’ she sobs. ‘I want to be happy again.’

‘So do I,’ Will whispers. ‘And we will, in time. I promise.’

‘I wish we’d never bought this house – we had so much hope.’

‘Shhh …’ Will says softly, stroking her hair as she weeps against him.

 

Pre-order on Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2kLqSYL
Publication Day – 11th May 2018

 

Author’s Bio

Things We Need to Say author Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton Author

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts, she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday…
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelburtonauthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi/ 

 

Happy reading!