Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry

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My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with an ARC copy of the novel I freely chose to review.

Although I had heard about the author and read quite a few reviews of his previous books, this is the first of his novels I have read so I can’t compare it to his previous work. I know from his comments in the book that it links to another one of his novels, Carla (I won’t mention how, first, because I haven’t read the other novel, so I can’t comment on how well or badly that works, and second, because I’m going to try very hard not to reveal any spoilers) but I can put at rest the minds of all readers who are in the same circumstances as me. This book can be read as a stand-alone, although I suspect you’ll feel as curious as I am about Carla once you finish reading this novel.

This novel is narrated in the first person by the eponymous Carol Prentice of the title. And yes, we get to know what the shiny coin means, but again, I’m not going to tell you. She’s a young woman; she’s just finished her degree at Manchester University and has to go back to her hometown because her father has passed away. She had avoided the town for several years (for good reasons as you’ll learn when you read the book) but she comes back to renovate the house and because the time has finally arrived to put her plan into practice. Of course, we don’t get to know about the plan until much later in the novel, but we have some hints throughout. She gets a job at a bookshop (so there are some interesting discussions about literature, mostly initiated by her boss, Steve, who is a connoisseur, not only of books but also of ales and many other things) and it’s not long before ghosts from her past come knocking. What at first appears to be a snotty and spoilt young man’s tantrum turns into a black hole sucking in everything and everybody. Almost.

The novel has some meta-fictional aspects. I’ve already mentioned the conversations about literature, psychology concepts (like the halo effect, perceptual closure), Steve was an author years ago back but did not make it and has strong opinions about popular literature and bestsellers (if you love James Patterson or Fifty Shades, look away now), and the author of this novel, Mark Barry, also makes a cameo appearance in it. As I said before, I haven’t read any of his other works but from some of the reviews, I get the sense that he has appeared in some others. He does not have a big part, and it reminded me of Hitchcock’s appearances in his movies (although Barry’s is a bit more significant than that).

As the novel is narrated in the first-person, we get a close look into the functioning of Carol’s mind and we get to know her better than other characters. She seems to focus a lot of her attention on how people smell (and it’s not always pleasant), what clothes they wear, and how they look. She has some annoying speech habits. There are plenty of ‘like’, ‘I so’, ‘totally’… Those appear not only when she’s talking to others but also when she’s thinking, despite the fact that she’s fairly articulate and perceptive in other ways. It might be funny for some readers and perhaps somewhat annoying for others, but it keeps her real and the story will hook everybody in and will make you keep reading no matter what. Carol says quite a few times that she cannot feel, that she observes things but does not feel them, and when we’ve gone over half the novel she eventually tells Steve why. I had my suspicions but the truth is worse. From her description of the events (that of course, I won’t reveal either) it becomes clear that she was experiencing them she tried to focus on anything but what was happening. She concentrated and observed objects, smells, décor, and it seems her current focus on describing things is a defence mechanism to keep events and people at bay, a way of remaining in control of what is happening as she felt powerless at the time. After her confession to Steve, the floodgates open and she starts feeling again, including acknowledging her complex feelings for Steve, that is difficult to know if they are projected from her need to have support as he becomes some sort of a father figure, or are genuine. She herself is not so sure.

Steve is the other character we get to know in detail, although of course always from Carol’s point of view and this is biased. She likes him from the beginning and he seems a genuinely nice man, much older than her, who’s tried many things and seems to have settled into a quiet life. He is not one for talking much about his feelings (he talks about everything else, though) and he is a recognisable and multi-dimensional character, with a strong sense of moral, that gets caught in a situation not of his making, but doesn’t seem willing or able to extricate himself from it.

Other than Carol and Steve, there aren’t many characters we get to know through the novel. There’s Toby, the baddy, a handsome and rich young man and a bully who believes rules and laws don’t apply to him; there’s also his father, and some other characters that only appear briefly (like the chief of police) but they aren’t as well developed. They only play a minor part in the drama and don’t hold that much of the narrator’s attention. By contrast, the town becomes quite a recognisable character in its own right, with its social mores, its politics and its royalty (so to speak).

The novel is written in a very colloquial way as pertains to the character narrating it (I’ve already mentioned the characteristics of Carol’s language) and there are plenty of references and words very local that might be a bit obscure to readers from outside the UK (or even the region) but that is part of what makes it so distinctive and vivid.

The novel offers quite a few surprises and reveals them slowly. I think most readers will have a variety of hypothesis about what’s going to happen, what the baddies will do next and what the plan is. I’m not sure many people will guess right and is an interesting and effective twist. This is a novel of revenge and just deserts that highlights the fact that there is always a price to pay. We might feel we need to exact revenge to be at peace but things are never quite as easy. With regards to what sets off what Carol describes as ‘the war’ it is pretty banal but, as she acknowledges, it’s not really about that and unfortunately other people get in the middle and end up becoming ‘collateral damage’. It did make me think of Hannah Arendt and her concept of ‘the banality of evil’. In this case not only about the evil person but about what sets it all off. It does not take much for some people to ruin a person’s life, just because they can… I’ve already mentioned the ending but I wanted to add that the ending is also a beginning.

I know I’ve been a bit cryptic about this novel but I had to be. I recommend it to those who like stories with psychologically complex characters, where the how is as important as the what, and to readers who’re looking for an author with a distinctive voice and style. (There is some violence, some talk about sex and disturbing content but none of it is extremely explicit or gore. It is more what we feel at the time of reading it than what is on the page.)

Book Description

“I swore that I would never go home,  but in the end, I had no choice.  I had to confront what happened.  And them too.  It was going be icky. And totally scary.” Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.  She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself She had to come home: There was no other choice. Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.  Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.  Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:  A war which can only have one victor.  Soon, she wishes she had never come home.  But by then it was too late.  Much too late.

Biography

Mark Barry

Bio: Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.  He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people… He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.  Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

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2017 Kindness Challenge #RevOfKindness Week #2 Self-Compassion @NikiMeadowsWA

The 2017 Kindness challenge has been created by Niki Meadows Week #2 is all about Self Compassion What is Self Compassion? Self–compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Kristin Neff has defined self–compassion as being composed of three … Continue reading

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Blind Side by @Jennie_Ensor Thriller #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Blind Side by Jennie Ensor

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My Review:

I liked this book. Jennie Ensor writes in an easy to read style and, after an initial fairly slow start, the book flows with various story lines interwoven so I was soon absorbed. And, although Blind Side can be seen as a romance novel it is much more than that; the story reveals the darker side of relationships, of life in a contemporary world, of remorse and self-reproach, secrets and lies, of disappointments and  regrets

The author has obviously researched into both the political, societal and historical backgrounds for the fairly recent settings that the characters move in and this is equally dark. And so realistic; I love when there is such a good sense of place.  Here the background reflects some of the underlying themes of racism, terrorism, immigration. Chilling stuff!

And against this there is the personal turmoil of the characters. Well played out, with enough tension and suspense to keep the reader on their toes.

The main characters are well portrayed with many levels to their personalities. I liked the protagonist, Georgie; despite the fact that I first thought her shown to be quite cold. The character is well rounded and the author gives her a history that explains much about her actions in the story; her fears, her suspicions, her obsession, her need to trust in Nikolai.  This character is also well written and given a past life that shocks. Despite not understanding his motives at first (and it took me a while to get used to the way the dialogue is written for him) I liked Nikolai. And then, the character of Julian; initially seemingly naive and harmless (in an obsequious way, I thought) but is ultimately shown to be less than the friend first portrayed.

Told mainly from the point of view of the protagonist it would be easy to see the plot only from her side of things but the author manages to insert enough external detail, away from Georgie, to give more depth to the story.

There were a few parts of the plot that slowed the story (only a few though) and I found it trailed off a little at the end but, as I’ve said, I enjoyed Blind Side.  All in all, it’s a good debut novel from Jennie Ensor and one I would recommend. I look forward, with anticipation, to further offerings from this author..

Book Description

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? 
London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time. 
But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her. 
Then London is attacked… 
Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears. 

About the author

Jennie Ensor

Jennie Ensor is a Londoner descended from a long line of Irish folk. She has worked as a freelance journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to the fate of Aboriginal Australians living on land contaminated by British nuclear testing. 
Ms E lives in London with her husband and their cuddle-loving, sofa-hogging terrier. When not chasing the dog or dreaming of setting off on an unfeasibly long journey with a Kindleful of books, she writes novels, short stories and poetry (published under another name). Her second novel, to be finished in 2017 with any luck, is a dark and unsettling psychological drama.

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Windstalker series by @KMBaginski #Fantasy books @wildboundpr #WeekendBlogShare

Windstalker: AwarenessWindstalker: Awareness by K.M. Baginski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Windstalker: Awareness is a fantasy and book #1 of a series set around a biblical story, fallen Angels and their descendants.

A very promising prologue sets a scene from 1975. Everett Langan visits a cave near Mount Ararat, Turkey, a place his archaeologist father discovered, before he disappeared. Robert Langan believed he’d found evidence of people, other than Noah, who survived The Great Flood.

2015 introduces us to Mitchell, vice-president of a New York energy company who are looking for alternative sources of electricity. Mitchell is attracted to Chelsea who lives with his sister Gina. Sadly for him, she loves Drew.

Chelsea has had an abusive upbringing and Drew has always been there for her, but he is associated with gangsters. One night he reaches breaking point when his drunk father attacks his mother; killing him, he ends up on death row.

Strange things begin to happen: a new company CEO begins working at Mitchell’s company and introduces plans to move the future energy supplies forward. Mitchell’s sister, Gina, is attacked in her department by a mythical being, and Chelsea believes she sees Drew, who should be dead. Devastating winds are causing havoc in New York. Decomposed bodies are piling up and battle lines are being drawn beyond the veil.

I had hoped that there would have been a good portion of the book dealing with the cave, Robert Langan’s discoveries and lots of details about the descendants of the Grigori, perhaps how they had evolved over the centuries and developing the archaeology theme, but in fact only tit-bits were given and Robert’s son Everett had only a minor role later in the book.

There was room for deeper development of the story lines and main characters. I wanted to get to know the characters better and the see the themes like the cave discovery and the alternative energy threads evolve. I felt these parts were rushed.

I would like to see this book have another run through both editing and proofreading. At times my reading experience was hampered, particularly by missing punctuation, meaning I had to re-read sentences to understand them.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Facing the elevator door in his company’s parking lot, Mitchell Geathers feels compelled to pinch himself for being elevated from the fear of gunfire in his childhood neighborhood. Now that he’s in control of his life, he won’t let anything take him back to the helpless existence of his youth. He approaches his love interest with the same zeal he does his career but isn’t as successful. Her heart belongs to Drew Royce, a bad boy from the same streets he wants to forget. When Drew is executed for patricide, Mitchell sees an opportunity to connect with her, fueling unexpected retaliation from a much more powerful – and undead – Drew. After receiving an eerie message, Mitchell is made to bear witness to a disturbing attack on his youngest sister by a ferocious “wind beast.” When Mitchell learns the source of her infection is a group of invincible, shape shifting Windstalkers, no measure of protection, logic or reason is enough to keep her from slipping further into an inhuman fate. Blind and vulnerable to their attacks, Mitchell must put his own life on the line to track the creatures and discover a weakness – or lose his sister forever.

Fueled by a familiar fear, Mitchell is running out of time in an unending nightmare – one in which he ultimately becomes the hunted.

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Rehumanized Drew: A Windstalker StoryRehumanized Drew: A Windstalker Story by K.M. Baginski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rehumanized Drew is book #2 in the Windstalker series of fantasy novels, I suggest reading book one first to understand the background and be introduced to the characters.

This book focuses on Drew. At the end of book one he’d been turned into a supernatural being with magical abilities, feeding on fellow humans and selfishly infecting Gina, in an act of revenge, and joining the group named Windstalkers.

Now Drew needs to convalesce and go into hiding from his sire, Sam. We learn that Sam is planning to move freely through other time dimensions to locate the Watchers, fallen Angels and brothers of Samyaza, leader of the Grigori Angels.

Drew is given a home by Nathan and his family on a farm in Indiana, where he learns to appreciate living, and falls in love with Amelia, Nathan’s daughter. But when Sam discovers Drew is still alive he comes to take back his protégé.

This is a slow paced book, I felt the story deserved less of the mundane everyday activities and more time spent giving depth and development to the themes, characters and their stories which make up layers of a good story. As with book one I would like to see this book have another run through both editing and proofreading.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Drew Royce was a lot of things he didn’t want to be. A murderer, rapist and ex-Windstalker. His humanity was poorly spent; and all he has after his taste of the supernatural is a battered and ignored soul. The weight of his actions visit him each night as proof he must still be alive. But now, even as an abducted criminal, kept ward by an evolved Nephilim race and used as a weapon against their enemy, he still has to defeat the beast who stole his humanity – himself.

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About the author

When not teaching science to middle-schoolers, K. M. Baginski enjoys reading and writing fiction. It was not always her dream to write but she believes serendipity likes to dwell with dreamers and the hyper-imaginative.

Since childhood, she can remember entertaining helfself and family with tales extended from television or movies. She was also quite the vivid-dreamer, recalling episodes she’d only seen in dreams as if she were present in a different dimension. So when enough of those experiences added up, she decided to commit them to pen and paper.

Windstalker began as a vivid dream she had as a new adult. In it were shapeshifting, wind creatures who, quite beautifully, were filled with expressions of longing, loneliness yet embodied the anger and bitterness that come with condemnation. They were destined to be misshapen, powerful and fearsome, while wishing for the opportunity to become fragile humans. While it may not be a story for everyone, it was certainly one she wanted to share with other hyper-imaginatives, like herself.

If you’ve enjoyed this installment, please check back to read more about the characters and upcoming Windstalker stories on windstalkerbooks.com.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Clay Tongue by @NicholasConley1 #YA #Fantasy #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Clay Tongue by Nicholas Conley

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Clay Tongue: A Novelette by Nicholas Conley

Clay Tongue was all too short for this reader. It is described as a short fantasy about the unspoken love between a shy little girl and her grandfather, the secrets of human communication, and discovered bravery, and it more than fulfills this description.

Katie Mirowitz lives in a household with her parents and her grandfather. She is so shy and afraid to speak she can’t even tell her mother she loves her, but her grandfather is her lodestone, the one person with whom she can talk. When he has a stroke leaving him with aphasia – the inability to speak anything other than gibberish – they still communicate, because she has the ability to interpret his facial expressions and meaningless words.

Her anxieties come to a crescendo when she overhears her mother telling the grandfather she is not sure how long they can continue to care for him because of the family’s finances. When Katie finds her grandfather with an old journal, which he doesn’t want her to see, she just has to read what is inside. She sneaks downstairs at night to read it and with it, finds an ancient key. The journal contains a story, written by her grandfather many years earlier, of a mythical being – a golem – who can grant wishes. Summoning all her courage and determined to help her grandfather, she goes in search of the golem, taking the key which will unlock the door to its hiding place.

How Katie finds the golem and what happens when he asks her for her wish is sweet and heart-warming. The story line is predictable, but the writing is superlative and the author creates a read-out loud story for both children and adults with truths about love and selflessness. The characters, especially the grandfather, colorfully and realistically drawn and stayed with this reader long after the end of the story.

I highly recommend Clay Tongue, five stars.

Book Description

From the author of the award-winning Pale Highway and the radio play Something in the Nothing comes a short fantasy of love, shyness, and the secrets of human communication. 
Katie Mirowitz is a small little girl with an even smaller little voice. She possesses a deep love for her grandfather, who suffers from aphasia after a bad stroke cuts loose the part of his brain that processes verbal language. When Katie uncovers a miraculous secret inside the pages of her grandfather’s old journal, as well as an ancient key, she goes out into the woods in search of answers — hoping to uncover a mythical being that, if it exists, may just have the ability to grant wishes.

About the author

Nicholas Conley

Nicholas Conley is a novelist, world traveler, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His passion for storytelling is evident in Clay Tongue as well a Pale Highway, the winner of the 2015 Predators & Editors Award for Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel. He has written for Vox, Truthout, The Huffington Post, SFFWorld, and Alzheimers.net, and his original radio play Something in the Nothing was performed live on the radio station WSCA 106.1 FM in 2016. He is a member of PEN America, the writers organization dedicated to human rights and freedom of expression.

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Murder At The Mystery Bay Hotel by Marcia Spillers @mysterywriter2 @BrookCottageBks

33952647My Review.

Murder At The Mystery Bay Hotel is a light hearted, fast paced, amateur sleuth story and Book One in the Mystery Bay series. Set on a small Florida island, Delphie Beauchamp has been asked to help Mystery Bay police chief Em Lander solve a double murder.

Delphie and her red Dachshund, Huckleberry, return to the bay from their home in Texas. Em reveals that she has recently been named as the murderer by an anonymous caller; unfortunately, her alibi is weak, especially when the murder weapon shows up with Em’s fingerprints all over it.

There is damage to several graves in the local cemetery and Delphie’s skills in historical research are called to solve the case. But she’s made to feel unwelcome by several long standing locals, and is attacked whilst out on a late night walk. Salvage diver Josh Porter comes to her rescue, and ends up helping Delphie with her case, especially after the police chief is kidnapped.

Delphie is a reluctant psychic, and finds herself listening to several ghosts who provide clues and help to solve the mystery.

Recommended for those who really like their cosy mysteries to be lightweight and fun.

 

 

Genre:  Cozy/Amateur Sleuth Mystery

Series: Mystery Bay Series #1

Release Date:  January 18, 2017

Can Delphie Beauchamp, a Texas born research librarian fresh from a break-up with her two-timing boyfriend, help best friend and newly elected Chief of Police Em Landry, solve a double homicide in the old Mystery Bay Cemetery? Chief Landry needs Delphie’s help in solving the murders, along with determining why specific graves from the early eighteen-hundreds have been vandalized. Her canine best friend in tow, a twenty-two-pound dachshund named Huckleberry, Delphie heads for the tropical island of Mystery Bay, Florida where she begins a journey that includes a pinch of gold, a touch or romance, and a wallop of ghosts, in a race to solve the mystery, of the Mystery Bay Hotel.

EXCERPT

The smell of the ocean, crisp and briny like a jar of pickles, held just a hint of murder in the air. I picked up my luggage from the small carousel inside the terminal and opened the glass door of the Mystery Bay International Airport. The sultry, mid-October sunshine hit me all at once, along with the sweet fragrance of the red, frangipani trees that bordered the edges of the sidewalk. Amazing how paradise was just a plane ride away.

“God, what a beautiful day.” I dropped my suitcase on the pink-hued coral sidewalk and pulled out my sunglasses. Before I could slip them on, Huckleberry, my twenty-two pound, red Dachshund whined for me to take off his winter sweater. Poor little guy. The outfit worked great for the chilly October weather in central Texas but not the south Florida humidity.

“Sorry, Huck.” I unhooked his leash and pulled off the sweater. Stretching out his long body, Huckleberry trotted over to the nearest hibiscus bush and hunched over.  Seconds later he sighed in relief.

I coughed and fanned the air. Guess he wasn’t that hot in his sweater after all.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

ABOUT MARCIA SPILLERS

Marcia Spillers has been a Librarian/Archivist for more than twenty years.  Currently a school librarian, she lives in Austin, Texas with her two chows, Bella and Susie Bear.  Marcia spent seventeen years in south Florida perfecting her writing skills, along with completing the Writer’s Program at UCLA.

Blog:  http://www.marciaspillers.com/blog/

Website:  www.Marcia Spillers.com

@mysterywriter2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.spillers.7

Brook Cottage Books

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#Win #HistFic The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland with the #CornishReadingChallenge

As part of the third annual #CornishReadingChallenge over on The Bandwagon , historical fiction author Karen Maitland is giving away a copy of her latest book, The Plague Charmer.
For 3 days only, the #CornishReadingChallenge opens up to include the entirety of the West Country. The Plague Charmer, set in Somerset, is another wonderful work of dark fiction by Maitland, and is not to be missed.
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Book Description

The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages and bestselling author of Company of Liars, will chill and delight fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse’s Citadel in equal measure. ‘A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists’ – Daily Mail

Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.

1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time. Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children. 
Only a dark-haired stranger offers help, but at a price that no one will pay.

Fear gives way to hysteria in the village and, when the sickness spreads to her family, Sara finds herself locked away by neighbours she has trusted for years. And, as her husband – and then others – begin to die, the cost no longer seems so unthinkable.

The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.

1361. An unlucky thirteen years after the Black Death, plague returns to England.

When the sickness spreads from city to village, who stands to lose the most? And who will seize this moment for their own dark ends?

The dwarf who talks in riddles?
The mother who fears for her children?
The wild woman from the sea?
Or two lost boys, far away from home?

Pestilence is in the air. But something much darker lurks in the depths.

About the author

Karen Maitland

Karen Maitland has recently moved to the wonderful county of Devon and has a doctorate in psycholinguists. She is fascinated by the myth and magic of the Middle Ages, which she draws on for her novels. She experienced the medieval lifestyle for real, when she worked for eighteen months in a rural village in Nigeria, living without electricity, plumbing or sanitation. 

Her first medieval thriller was ‘Company of Liars’, was set at the time of the Black Death in 1348. This was followed by ‘The Owl Killers’, about the beguinages, the medieval cities of women. ‘The Gallows Curse’ is set in the reign of bad King John and ‘Falcons of Fire and Ice’, which is a dark thriller, set in Portugal during the Inquisition and Iceland at the time of the Reformation. She is published by Michael Joseph/Penguin.

Karen is also one of six historical crime writers known as the Medieval Murderers – Philip Gooden, Susannah Gregory, Michael Jecks, Bernard Knight and Ian Morson – who together write an annual joint murder-mystery novel, including ‘The Sacred Stone’, ‘Hill of Bones’ and ‘The First Murder’ published by Simon & Schuster.

 

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of The Plague Charmer, simply email thebandwagonreviews@gmail.com with your name and delivery address. The competition closes on 27/05.
#CornishReadingChallenge | @VikkiPatis

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#NewRelease The Last Piece Of My Heart by @PaigeToonAuthor @simonschusterUK contemporary #Romance

31573350My Review

The Last Piece Of My Heart is a contemporary romance. Bridget is a travel magazine writer and an aspiring novelist. When her synopsis for a book about her broken relationships is shelved by her agent, she’s offered, instead, a ghost-writing job.

When the author of a best-selling contemporary romance died suddenly, she never got to see her book flying off the shelves and receiving great reviews. The sequel had already been planned, and Bridget is asked to step into the author’s shoes and complete the job. It entails her going to Cornwall to access all the author’s notes, from which her still grieving husband can’t be parted.

Adventurous Bridget borrows her Dad’s camper-van, setting herself up near Padstow. Here she can read the draft notes and research the local area, much of which was used as the book’s setting. Nicole left behind husband Charlie and their baby daughter. At first, Bridget’s working relationship with them starts off shaky; not helped when certain family relatives aren’t happy with the ghost-writing plan.

Bridget and Charlie’s friendship grows; he shares his grief whilst she shares her own ideas for the book her agent shelved. With part of Nicole’s book taking place in Thailand, Bridget later travels there to complete her research before finally writing the long awaited sequel.

I loved the Cornish setting and the camper van was so much fun. My respect to Paige, as well; I cannot imagine the complexities of writing a book about a ghost-writer writing a book for another author. This ticks all the boxes for a good contemporary romance and is a must for all Paige Toon fans.

Book Description

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …

About the author

Paige Toon

I was born in 1975 and my dad’s career as a racing driver meant that I grew up between Australia, England and America. I worked at heat magazine for eight years as Reviews Editor, but left to have a baby. I’m now a full-time author and freelance journalist. I live in North London with my husband Greg, son Indy and daughter Idha.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Curse Of Arundel Hall by J New @newwrites Vintage #Mystery

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

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Noelle has been reading The Curse Of Arundel Hall by J. New

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Book Review: The Curse of Arundel Hall by J. New #RBRT #Vintage Murder Mystery

The Curse of Arundel Hall is a cozy, the second in the Yellow Cottage, Vintage Mystery series. There is a lot to like about this book, but it does have its drawbacks.

Ella Bridges, following the death of her husband, is the recipient of a strong suggestion from his boss, the British Home Secretary, that she forget about him and move away. She decides to live on Linhay Island and take up residence in a refurbished cottage that was once a part of the Arundel Hall estate. There is a ghost living in a secret dining room that Ella discovers behind the kitchen, and she visits her friend, Harriet, the local librarian, to find out more about her cottage and its history in relation to Arundel Hall. Her friend tells her a curse was placed on the hall by its first owner. Ella discovers a secret stairway from the hidden dining room to the cottage’s upper floors, and a century-old skeleton of a woman at the bottom of the stairs. The skeleton gives evidence she was murdered. Ella is invited to the manor hall for a celebration dinner of the engagement of the elderly owner to a much younger woman who claims to have been a stage actress. The evening takes a shocking turn when one member of the dinner party is murdered. Ella again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner, her uncle, to find and catch the killers, both old and new.

The author creates a colorful world in Linhay Island, with wonderful, well-drawn characters, and after I got into the book, I found it very entertaining. Her descriptions convey the life on an island, the charm of Ella’s cottage and the menace and gloom of Arundel Hall exceedingly well.

I did struggle for a while, to recognize that Ella saw ghosts, of which one was her cat, Phantom, possibly because I haven’t yet read book one in the series. Some added detail for other readers without the benefit of the first book might be helpful. Chapter one was written with beautiful detail about Ella’s childhood, but for me it slowed my introduction to the main action which I was eager to get my teeth into. The era in which the book was set did not register until a closer inspection of the book cover, which got me back on track.  I did enjoy the author’s style and would like to read another by this author, but for me, there were a few areas which needed a little tidying, perhaps a final polish from a copy edit. Nevertheless, I will read this author’s next in the series.

Book Description

One ghost, one murder, one hundred years apart. But are they connected? 
Ella has discovered a secret room in The Yellow Cottage, but with it comes a ghost. Who was she? And how did she die? Ella needs to find the answers before either of them can find peace. But suddenly things take a nasty turn for the worse. 
Ella Bridges has been living on Linhay Island for several months but still hasn’t discovered the identity of her ghostly guest. Deciding to research the history of her cottage for clues she finds it is connected to Arundel Hall, the large Manor House on the bluff, and when an invitation to dinner arrives realises it is the perfect opportunity to discover more. 
However the evening takes a shocking turn when one of their party is murdered. Is The Curse of Arundel Hall once again rearing its ugly head, or is there a simpler explanation? 
Ella suddenly finds herself involved in two mysteries at once, and again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner to try and catch a killer. But will they succeed? 
‘Miss Marple meets The Ghost Whisperer’ – Perfect For Fans of Golden Age Murder Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Clean Reads and British Amateur Sleuths 

About the author

J. New

J. New Haas been a voracious reader and writer all her life. She took her first foray into publishing in 2013 with An Accidental Murder, the first in her Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series. Originally from a small picturesque town in Yorkshire, she relocated in 2007 and currently resides with her partner and an ever-expanding family of rescue animals. She particularly loves murder mysteries set in past times, where steam trains, house staff and afternoon tea abound, and surmises she was born in the wrong era. She also has an impossible bucket list: to travel on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot, shop in Diagon Alley with Sirius Black, laze around The Shire with Bilbo and Gandalf, explore Pico Mundo with Odd Thomas and have Tea at the Ritz with Miss Marple.

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Redemption Lake by @SusanCGoldner Murder #Mystery set in Tucson #wwwblogs

Redemption LakeRedemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Redemption Lake is a murder mystery. The book opens in 1989, and is set in Tucson, Arizona.

Eighteen year old Matt Garrison is a troubled teenager. Holding guilt from six years ago when he blamed himself for the death of his cousin, he’s since faced the break-up of his parent’s marriage and, when the novel begins, hearing his mother make new long-lasting wedding vows. Telling himself and everyone else that “forever” didn’t mean a thing, he dramatically leaves the wedding.

Matt seeks out his girlfriend for the comfort he needs, but finds her with another boy; they argue and he flees again, this time looking the stability of his best friend, Travis. But Travis is out, and only his mother, Crystal, is home. Crystal has been like a second mum to Matt for years, and she offers him a listening ear and a beer. One beer leads to two and both find comfort in each other, but they cross a boundary. Crystal insists Matt sleeps off the beer for a few hours, but he wakes twice, hearing cars leave the house. Needing the bathroom, Matt makes a gruesome discovery; he panics, then leaves, hoping to stop Travis returning home.

Detective Radhauser is called to a possible suicide; however, the autopsy disproves this result, and the case changes to a double homicide.

Throughout this book my heart bled for Matt. Trying to do the right thing only compounded situations and complicated his life further. There were plenty of red herrings along the way and I didn’t guess the ending or solve the mystery before the last pages, which was good.

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Book Description

Tucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead in a bathtub of blood. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal.
Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his father is arrested for Crystal’s murder, and Travis breaks off their friendship.
Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?
 

About the author

Susan Clayton-Goldner

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. 
Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. 

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