#Bookreview for A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62 #psychological #suspense

Shiny Coin Final

‘…it’s all about the writing as art.’

This is a love story… this is what it says at the beginning of Shiny Coin but if you’re looking for hearts and flowers, tears and romance, walk on by, because this is not one of those. This is the other sort. This is the type of love story that tortures breaking hearts, the type of love story that can’t ever be, and that happens in real lives only too often.

Because this is what Barry writes, real lives. His characters, and their interactions with each other, are honest and totally believable, even when they do things we could never imagine. Nothing is shied away from and while we love the rapport shown between some of his people, the faults, failings and weaknesses of all are viscerally depicted on the page.

Carol has moved back to Wheatley Fields following the death of her father. I imagined her as glamorously gothic and totally cool, but her fabulous hair, makeup and clothes make her an oddity in the conservative passages of her home town. She gets a job at the book shop working for the older and wizardly wise Steve and they hit it off, becoming friends as well as work colleagues.

One day there’s an altercation between the odious Toby and Steve, when the former tries to buy a comic, and it is this that is the catalyst for the shocking events that unfold.

While Steve bears the brunt of what is to come Carol knows it is not aimed at him, because following a terrible betrayal when she was last home she has returned with a plan for revenge, and it’s one she’s determined to see through.

Readers familiar with Barry’s work will recognise references such as the Arkwright Trust from The Night Porter, The Jacket, a short story in Punk Rocker, and Carla, of course, as this is its loose sequel. There’s a brief cameo by Mark himself as the writer in Wheatley Fields the setting for many of his novels.

I enjoy reading Barry’s work in total silence and ideally in the dark, my screen the only illumination. I don’t like there to be anything to distract me from the precision of his words, the fabulous one liners and flowing passages, and throughout, the observational wit. This read was to be no exception, and it really is that cliché of all things, a page-turner, because you simply have to find out what is going to happen.

This is no boy meets girl romance but Barry is right, this is a love story, albeit a deeply saddening one which he makes you feel, all the way to its end. Because when you take away everything else there is only one thing left, hope, and I was left hanging on to that. A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice made me shed tears, and when a book does that to me I know it is truly special.

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#Bookreview for #crime #novel, Long Shadows by Julie Haiselden, @juliehaiselden

Long Shadows

I wasn’t sure about Long Shadows when I started it. The story begins quite slowly and at times is overly detailed but I soon got drawn into Lizzie’s tale. Lizzie Tennyson is a loving wife and mother. Somewhat grudgingly she gives up her nursing career to move to the Lake District and run a pub with her husband and son, Alex. She really didn’t want to do this but surprisingly finds herself settling well into their new life and becomes an integral part of the village community. She’s sociable, always willing to help out with village events, and popular, making many friends along the way.

Tragedy does strike but then everything settles again and appears perfectly harmonious in Lizzie’s life so I have to admit that when the ‘incident’ came it took me completely by surprise and seemed totally out of kilter with the character’s personality but then the more I read the more I realised why. There is a lack of emotion in this read which eventually made sense and I was drawn on as the reveals came, one a chilling reminder right from the beginning that I had completely forgotten.

This story develops over many years and I don’t have the necessary psychological knowledge to know what was going on with Lizzie but something most definitely was and I enjoyed watching her thought processes, and consequent actions, throughout this read.

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#Freeebooks plus Gift Card #Giveaway in this Fun and Spicy Romance Promotion!! #romancebooks

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I’m excited to share with you a special treat today. I’ve teamed up with a group of other romance authors to offer you FREE EBOOKS when you sign up to learn more about what they write. You’ll download the book directly from this link—I think you’ll find great new authors to love. We’re also offering a $25 gift card giveaway, and you can gain more entries by sharing. But it’s only through March 30th, so fill up your reader now. Enjoy!

My Book Cave

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#Bookreview for The Old Man At The End Of The World by AK Silversmith @AkSilversmith #RBRT #zombie #apocalypse

Rosie's Book Review team 1

The Old Man At The End Of The World

I’ll be honest and say I don’t know much about zombies but thought I’d try this and see what they’re all about. I’m assuming that some other books of this genre are considerably more gory and scary but this one is a different sort of read. There is a bit of zombie like behaviour in it – blood and gore and what have you, but overall it came across as more a humorous telling of a terribly British reaction to the whole situation.

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter is earthing up leeks one minute and being attacked by a fellow allotment holder the next. Hamilton comes to his rescue and after a bit of toing and froing, and taking pity on the rather smug Finnbar they manage to find sanctuary at Gerald’s house.

It did start off a little silly but once I’d settled in I found much of the humour amusing and enjoyed the writing. There wasn’t a lot of emotion shown at all and it didn’t come across as if these characters feared the zombies but instead just found them a bit of a nuisance. There were reminders of Shaun of the Dead in there with the humour and also of Carry on up the Khyber. No zombies in that of course but it was the same stoicism as shown in the dinner towards the end of the film when bombs are falling all around but proper dinner etiquette must be followed. Nothing is more important to Gerald than getting back home in order to have, of course, a nice cup of tea, regardless of the mayhem playing out amongst his neighbours.

All in all this is a small bite of a light-hearted zombie tale, well written and amusing.

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What I should have said, and forgot, is that this book is also permafree, yay!

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#Bookreview for The Black Hours by Alison Williams @AlisonW_Editor #historical #fiction

The Black Hours

I have always hated hearing people bleat on about how life is not fair, because in my mind I don’t understand what right they have to expect it to be so. However, throughout The Black Hours I kept being reminded of just how unfair life was for those suspected of witchcraft.

At the beginning of this story we meet Alice Pendle and her grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Prentice, who provide midwifery services to the women of the Coggeshall as well as making up herbal remedies to help those who are sick. This way of life appears to be common practice at that time but when things go wrong there are those who, as some form of revenge, call in help from outside to rid the village of those suddenly perceived as witches.

Matthew Hopkins tackles his role as Witchfinder General with a passionate almost evangelical zeal and there is never even the faintest waver in his belief that he could in any way be wrong in what is he doing.

Following a successful hanging of five witches at Halstead he arrives in Coggeshall and sets to work immediately.  I found him a vain and arrogant man, deluded in the way his went about his business. There was nothing fair about his treatment of Alice and Maggie, who were brutalised and battered into submission. He obtained ‘evidence’ by twisting people’s words and this supposed man of God tricked and lied his way into gaining confessions.

I could go on and on but I hope you get the picture that this was a real page-turner of a book for me. Fantastically well researched and superbly written I thoroughly enjoyed, if that can be the right word, what was at times a harrowing and heart-breaking story. Highly recommended to all lovers of historical fiction and anyone looking for a terrific read. Oh, and I should add, it has the most satisfying ending.

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#Bookreview for #crime #thriller Blood Money by E. L. Lindley @LindleyE

Blood Money

I felt Blood Money took a different turn to the previous stories in this series. Marilyn, Georgie’s overpowering mother, reveals a huge family secret to Georgie which sees the two of them, and Georgie’s boyfriend James, travel to visit Aunt Serena in London, and this is where the rest of the story takes place.

I don’t want to reveal any details about the secret but when they set out to try and trace a missing person the situation that person has found themselves in becomes more and more problematic and sinister. Help arrives in the form of Eric and Callie and then later when Julie and Sean turn up and although I breathed a sigh of relief that the gang were back together again they find life difficult because they are working in an unfamiliar country. I should add that I found their desperation to find a decent cup of coffee highly entertaining.

Before the team know it they are mixed up with the most unpleasant Des and involved in the shady world of the Triad. Although the previous storylines have had at the centre of them Georgie’s documentary making career this takes a backseat in this tale and there is considerably more violence and bloodshed than there has been in the earlier books of this series. I loved the darker edge though, and also delighted in seeing a character from another series I have enjoyed make an appearance.

Georgie is the same infuriating and impulsive person she has always been and how the tolerant James puts up with her I will never know. But this story also ends with Georgie in trouble with the law which adds a further complication into the mix. I always highly recommend Lindley’s writing. It’s descriptive and flowing, the characters consistent and well rounded, though don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourselves.

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#Bookreview for The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon @MadameGilflurt and Willow Winsham @WinshamHistFic #RBRT #histfic

Rosie's Book Review team 1

The Crown Spire

What an utterly joyful read The Crown Spire was! Set in 1795 Alice Ingram and her niece Beth are on the road to Edinburgh when they are set upon by bandits. Out to steal their honour rather than their jewels the situation looks desperate indeed for the hapless travellers. However just when it appears all is lost in ride two mysterious highwaymen to the rescue. Or I should say one rides in while the other drops out of a tree, what an entrance!

Taking shelter at an inn for the night Beth is soon entranced by the landlord, Edward Hogan, while her aunt is considerably less so by Dr James Dillingham summoned to look at her ankle, sprained in the skirmish.

It soon becomes apparent that it is not only the highwaymen who are hiding their identities as Alice is introduced as Grace Lambert and has come to Edinburgh to hide out at her rather forbidding sister’s house.

I shall stop there for fear I shall soon be giving the whole plot away. Suffice to say there are some delightful characterisations in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the flirty interplay between the frisky Beth and undoubtedly handsome Ed Hogan and equally the frosty exchanges the good doctor shared with Grace. Terrifically well written the dialogue throughout this story was quick, witty and thoroughly entertaining.

For those looking for fun romantic escapism, look no further, the women are strong, the heroes suitably dashing and there are horses – what more could you possibly want?

Click on a link below for a few hours of delicious storytelling…

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I am delighted to be a part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and confirm I received a free copy of this book. This is my honest opinion of it.

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Interview with Linda Huber @LindaHuber19 #Author of The Saturday Secret ~ All Profits to #Charity

Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my girls and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve just released

.Poppy as a puppyRuby as a puppy

‘My girls’ are Poppy and Ruby (I thought I’d give their puppy photos an airing :-))

Joining me in her walking boots today, and all the way from her home in Switzerland, is Linda Huber, who has just released something that is a departure from her more usual psychological thrillers but I will leave her to tell you more about that later on.

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Linda grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years being a full-time mum to two boys and a rescue dog. Linda’s writing career began in the nineties, and since then she’s had over fifty short stories and articles published, as well as five psychological suspense novels. After spending large chunks of the current decade moving house, she has now settled in a beautiful flat on the banks of Lake Constance in north-east Switzerland, where she’s working on another suspense novel.

Hi Linda, I hope you’ve had a good flight and are ready for a hike across the fields of a frosty Cambridgeshire?

Hi Georgia, and believe me frosty Cambridge is tropical in comparison with Switzerland this winter. We’ve had minus temperatures well into double figures this year. So let’s go! *puts on extra socks*

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Lake Constance – and quite a view!

…and there was me thinking it had been a bit nippy over here!

Now that you’ve got my undivided attention Linda this is your chance to tell me all about The Saturday Secret, encourage everyone to buy it and then to move it up their to-be-read lists?

 The Saturday Secret ebook for Amazon

The Saturday Secret is a collection of feel-good short stories, all previously published in women’s magazines in the first decade of this century. Some of them are romantic, some are (I hope…) humorous, but they’re all about friendship or family relationships, and all have a happy end. They’re probably aimed more at women, but one of my ARC reviewers is a man, and he liked it, so…

What was the inspiration behind putting together this latest book? And are you still writing short stories?

I started putting it together last year, when the rights to some of my old magazine stories reverted to me. It seemed a pity to have the stories gathering dust in the bottom of my wardrobe – and that’s literally – I only had them in physical magazines, in the bottom of my wardrobe. Originally, they were on the computer before the computer before last, and the typescripts hadn’t survived in digital form. So it was a big typing job, but I’ve been wanting to do a charity project for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

I don’t write many short stories now, though I have one in the anthology Winter Tales, also a charity book.

Can you tell me which charity you have chosen and why?

I haven’t actually chosen a specific charity yet, though I do have ideas. It’s actually quite complicated. It would swell the profit if the donation is tax-deductible, but not all UK charity donations can be deducted from my Swiss tax bill. Plus, I have friends, readers and family here in Switzerland, and I’d like them to be able to relate to the charity I choose too. So it’ll be an international charity, which should tick both these boxes, but I’ll be discussing it with my accountant this spring.

Another aspect is my interest (as an ex-physiotherapist) in medical progress, and aid. I’d like to support something medical. One idea is to wait until later in the year, see what’s happening in the world, and then choose the charity. Details will be on The Saturday Secret’s page on my website as soon as we have them.

Stop Press!! Linda has now confirmed that the 2017 profits will be going to Doctors Without Borders – a great charity!

Doctors without Borders

If you could have unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?

I was going to say ‘books’, but only if they were somehow stored here at home and not in a storage container! Or maybe shoes I never wear but can’t quite get rid of…

shoes

I’m guessing from your other answers, not many of these will feature 😉

A few quick fire ones.

India or Iceland?

India. I love both curry and hot weather.

Cocktail or cuppa?

Cocktail. (As long as I don’t need to wear a cocktail dress and stilettos to drink it.)

The Beatles or The Stones?

Ooh, tricky. The Stones, but I’m really not sure why.

Given the choice would you be a Bond girl, a Bond villain or James Bond? (Thanks to Victoria Coren-Mitchell for this one!)

I’d need to be able to wear cocktail dresses to be a Bond girl, so that’s out. And the villains all die horrible deaths, so that’s out too. Which leaves the man himself. I’ll do my best, but I’m not sure I’m fit enough…

As a thank you for being my guest today I’m going to become your fairy Godmother and grant you three wishes – what would you spend them on?

  1. The ability to put certain politicians on Mars. (Oh, if only!! Ed)
  2. 2. A permanently full freezer.
  3. 3. A never-ending story that I love.

Thanks for joining me Linda and I wish you every success for the sales of The Saturday Secret, my copy has already downloaded and I’m looking forward to reading it! 🙂

Thank you Georgia!

You can find Linda right here:

www.lindahuber.net

lindahuber.net/blog/

www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber?fref=ts

twitter.com/LindaHuber19

viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber

And get your copy of The Saturday Secret here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

I have already read and reviewed Linda’s The Paradise Trees, The Cold, Cold Sea and The Attic Room and you can read my reviews by clicking on the covers below.

The Paradise TreesThe cold cold seaThe Attic Room

 

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#Bookreview for Utopia by Carla Eatherington @dystopicworlds #YA #NA

Utopia

In this dystopian novel, Utopia, Zia lives with her mother in an apartment block, in a compound, and like most young people she starts questioning why they live as they do. She begins work in the hospital and through the connections she makes there starts to discover the sinister reasons behind the existence of the compound, and everyone in it.

An icy billow of air barges its way past me as I pull the front door open. I shudder, reaching back inside to lift a heavy woollen coat off the hook. It’s my mother’s, and swinging it around my shoulders I’m swathed in a warm embrace which smells of her perfume. The scent is honeysuckle, like my mother’s namesake, but the wind soon carries it away.’

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, it has strong characters, a great setting and a believable plot. There’s a bit of romance brewing but no slushy soppy stuff (a huge bonus) because there simply isn’t time in the serious situation these characters are facing.

What I loved most of all though was the premise of the whole story because it has been informed by this author’s particular interest in animal and human behaviour. There is a short piece at the end to explain this further, and it is fascinating.

This is aimed at young adults but I am not one of those and yet still enjoyed it so I would recommend to all who are looking for a good story.

And if you are that person here are some handy links for you…

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#Bookreview for Rum Hijack by Phil Moss @Literastein

Rum Hijack

I originally read the first two parts of Rum Hijack when they were published as separate editions and I have been waiting for the third part to come out. The story is now published as one complete work, which is much more satisfactory.

I enjoy stories told in the first person, I like getting right inside a character, being privy to all their thoughts and emotions and those of the unnamed narrator of this tale are extraordinary. Our protagonist believes himself to be the all-conquering author of a masterpiece of literary magnificence. The only problem being that he hasn’t written one word of it…yet. He lives an eccentric lifestyle in his flat and tries to channel his Grandfathers spirit as if believing this will funnel some sort of divine inspiration that will overcome his writer’s block and allow his words to be unleashed upon the waiting world.

I thoroughly enjoyed Moss’s writing. Graphically descriptive it’s sharply quick witted and highly perceptive of this would be writer’s unusual lifestyle. An emergency potato – why haven’t I ever thought of having one of those? I loved the dark humour throughout this tightly written story and there were many, many priceless moments which made up a fabulous read.

By the end of part one our narrator has named himself Inkker Hauser. His relationships are disastrous and you would never want to have him as your neighbour but I liked him very much.

In part two you need to buckle up to take on the ride that is Inkker when he goes on a date with the lovely Tylissa.

He drinks a staggering amount and wanting to impress her with his intellectual and literary genius spouts all sorts of what to most people would be nonsense but which Inkker is earnestly serious about – this ‘A psychonaut. A sailor of the soul, a navigator of the mind. I happen to be something of one’ is how he describes himself to her. As the drink takes hold his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and you can only sympathise with poor Tylissa and admire her tenacity for hanging on in there particularly when he does something that is a definite no-no in my book!

Most of the second part of this darkly humorous novel is taken up with the date. That might seem like a lot of words just to describe a date but every one of them is needed in order to convey the sheer craziness as it descends into mayhem for Inkker. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t like this narrator and yet I really do. In some bizarre way, considering how he behaves, he comes across as fragile and endearing and I feel protective of him especially when he is aware of being mocked by others.

Because it’s written in the first person we are exposed to his thoughts, feelings and anxieties and these show his vulnerability and increasing desperation as the night unravels. But nothing that has gone before compares to the pain you can feel Inkker going through when he gets home and meets his new neighbour.
I was delighted to eventually get to read the finale to Rum Hijack and it is every bit as good as the first two parts.

The new neighbours, Claire, who calls him Inky, and Adrian, a writer of novels, invite Inkker to a flat warming party telling him to ‘dress fancy’ a term he misunderstands but I loved the amount of planning that went into his appearance.

Inkker’s behaviour is becoming more and more wild. He’s banned from his local, The Laughing Goat, but when he goes to make the peace in an attempt to be allowed back in he can’t help but cause more trouble. His eccentric domestic habits become more and more surreal, I mean, the mannequin, what is going on there? Throughout this final part his violent thoughts and destructive actions escalate to levels that wreak havoc on his life and then there is a devastating setback for him, the desperate grief that follows all consuming.

Excellently written I would recommend this to everyone who fancies reading something highly original and totally entertaining – and don’t we all want to do that? I truly hope to read much more from this terrific writer in the future.

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