My #Bookreview of #Paranormal #Fantasy The Magician’s Curse by @LindaGHill

The Magician's Curse (The Great Dagmaru, #1)The Magician’s Curse by Linda G. Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Magician’s Curse is a romance with a paranormal twist and is set in Canada.

Herman Anderson is almost eighteen; handed down a predominantly male name in a family tradition, she has decided to drop out of school and take up a job on a horse farm. On her way to her new job, she meets a handsome man on her train journey and they both feel an instant love connection. Twenty-three year old Stephen in a successful magician who immediately offers Herman a job as his magician’s assistant, believing she will be a great addition to both his act and his life.

Herman then changes her plans and leaves the train with Stephen for a new adventure. He is very attentive and domineering, but he has his secrets. A family curse ties him to the Curry family, which ultimately puts a potential wedge between himself and Herman.

The prologue gave a strong opening scene; it introduced us to the demon blood causing through the veins of the Dagmar family. I looked forward to reading more about this demon in the following story. I also liked the idea of the magician. However, for me, there was missed opportunity to further develop the magic and illusions so that they really ‘popped’ with those moments when an audience are struck dumb with amazement, by making them a more prominent part of the story.

The book description spoke of a Gothic tale of romance and magic, lace and leather. I enjoy dark Gothic romances, but this aspect faded in comparison with the dominant modern themes and situations. The author did use old railways stations and some lace frilled clothing, but I remembered Stephen’s lipstick, eye-liner and modern transport more.

I felt the weakest part of the story surrounded the romance and Stephen’s role in the curse. The romance bounced from the love-at-first-sight style of a young adult book, then popped in hints and innuendos that boarded on erotica, before returning to chaste kisses because Herman was under-age. Then we were taken back to the curse that had Stephen fornicating with a servant whilst blaming the curse, all behind Herman’s back. I can understand the story ideas, I think they just need a bit more polish and some re-working to make them believable, perhaps with more depth to the main themes and cutting other lines that were wordy and clunky.

This book has a complex mix of themes which makes it hard to recommend a particular genre for readers to associate it with. The title might suggest fantasy, the description a romance, but just which age group of readers would it suit? I’m not sure.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.
Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?
Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.

About the author

Linda G. Hill was born and raised an only child in Southern Ontario, Canada. She credits the time she spent alone when she was growing up, reading books and building worlds and characters of her own to keep her company, as the reason she became a writer.

A stay-at-home mom of three beautiful boys, Linda is a graduate of the Writing Program at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. Aside from caring for her family, she enjoys traveling the world, eating trout cooked on the barbecue, and, of course, reading.

Linda G. Hill

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#BookTwins If You Liked Flora Banks, You Might Like Biddy Weir #AntiBullyingWeek @Lesley_Allen_ ‏

“If you read … you’ll like …”

When you’ve read a book, do you sometimes find yourself thinking “oh, that really reminds me of *insert name of another book*”?

Welcome to a new feature, in which my team and I make reading suggestions based on your favourites, be they classics, or newer best sellers.  Our recommendations consider not just genre, but writing style, plot—and that ‘feel’ you can’t quite put your finger on.

If you liked The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, you might like The Lonely Life If Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen

 

Flora Banks is a YA book by internationally acclaimed author Emily Barr, about a girl with no short-term memory, while Biddy Weir is by the perhaps less well-know Lesley Weir, on the theme of bullying, but my reading mind connected them because Flora Banks and Biddy Weir are both isolated from society due through no fault of their own.

Although Flora has no memory, she one day remembers a single incident and she grasps at this one shred of hope.  Biddy Weir suffers from a seven year bullying campaign which almost destroys her. Circumstances of her upbringing kept the usual teenage opportunities closed to Biddy. She fell through a network of support systems and, sadly, people chose to gloss over her problems rather than offering help.

Biddy’s journey reminded me so much of Flora’s, although one is from rock bottom and despair, the other of hope. I found Biddy’s story heart-wrenching; the level of bullying was shocking. The book is split between Biddy’s teenage life and her still troubled adulthood, which provides plenty of opportunity for the book to appeal to a wide reading audience.

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What is it about isolated individuals that makes an appealing read?

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller The Angel Killer by April Taylor @authAprilTaylor

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs here http://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading The Angel Killer by April Taylor

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It’s been a little while since I’ve read a suspense/thriller, and with the main character having a psychic gift allowing him to ‘read’ people, this one grabbed my attention.

Deryn Steele is a likable MC, and I have a soft spot for anyone who loves their pet as much as he does.  I enjoyed the spin his gift/curse put on the story, sometimes giving him an advantage.  He’s had somewhat of a rough life, but his problems aren’t yet behind him.

This is a well-written novel offering a number of characters with varying motives for the reader to eliminate as suspects.  I have to admit, I figured out ‘who dunnit’, but the reason was somewhat of a surprise.  The author does a wonderful job at characterization, making even the supporting cast well-rounded.

Something I didn’t care for, and this is just a personal preference, is the amount of romance (insta-love) in the novel.  There was such an emphasis on the romantic aspect, I felt it overshadowed the urgency of tracking down a serial killer/rapist of 12-year-old girls.  I’d even consider classifying this as more of a romantic suspense novel.

If thrillers and romance with a dash of paranormal is your preferred brand, I’d definitely recommend The Angel Killer.

 

Book description

Deryn Steele has an unwanted psychic gift leftover from a near-death experience. He can read people just by touching them. His friend, DCI Harry Curzon pulls him into the hunt for the killer of blonde, blue-eyed 12-year-old girls in the Lincolnshire seaside town of Thorpe St David, the Angel Killer..
Deryn meets Terri Fordham, aunt of the latest victim, who has survived an attack. It is a shock when he cannot read Terri, but this feeds his growing feelings for her making him determined to catch the predator. It soon becomes clear, however, that this killer won’t stop and is not only still targeting Terri’s niece, but also Terri. Can Deryn keep the girl and her aunt safe and unmask the murderer?

About the author

Author of The Tudor Enigma series. High Treason in an alternate Tudor universe.

April Taylor

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My #BookReview #WW2 Family saga Pocketful Of Dreams by @JeanFullerton_ #TuesdayBookBlog

Pocketful of Dreams (The Brogans of Mafeking Terrace #1)Pocketful of Dreams by Jean Fullerton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pocketful Of Dreams is a World War II family drama set in London and features the loves and losses of the Brogan family; a hard-working Irish family, they live in London’s East End.

Father Daniel McCree has arrived in London to assist Father Mahon in serving the parish of St. Bridget and St. Brendan. The young priest has a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye, which got me thinking about the Thorn Birds. But is he all that he seems?

Christopher Joliffe is a pro-Nazi fascist; networking on the streets of London, he is making connections to help Hitler’s proposed invasion of Britain. He meets Mattie Brogan whilst signing up as an Auxiliary Police Constable. She has just taken on a role of an Air-Raid Warden, whilst studying for her Higher Certificate of education. Christopher is attracted by her brains and beauty and asks her out.

In the months of the ‘phoney war’, Mattie is flattered by Christopher’s attentions, but it is Father McCree who haunts her dreams. One night on patrol, Mattie becomes suspicious that her brother-in-law, Stan, is lying about his involvement in the Briton’s For Peace Union, and turns to Father McCree for advice; soon, her life takes on a new direction.

I liked the way the author took this book down a darker side compared with many home front war stories. The hostility in London towards Jews and Italians was shocking and believable. I was also interested in the thoughts behind those who supported Hitler, however unpalatable the story. Alas, I felt that the ending was wrapped up a little too neatly.

Father McCree was one of my favourite characters; I did wonder where the author was taking his story at the beginning, but it soon became apparent and I became a firm supporter of his role. I loved the outrageous Queenie; did she have the ‘sight’, or was she just very observant? I enjoyed the illegal gambling bets she took and the glimpses of her past life.

Recommended for readers who enjoy family sagas set in the war years of London; soaked in nostalgia of the times, it mixes romance with a sprinkle of the darker aspects of the early war years.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

It’s 1939, and the Brogan family of London’s East End are ready to show Hitler what for. But things don’t seem so rosy when rationing, evacuation and air-raids start to put this larger-than-life family to the test.

When a mysterious young man arrives at the Brogans’ local parish church, he provides just the dazzling distraction they need – and for eldest daughter Mattie, the promise of more than she’d ever wished for. But as the pair fall deeper in love, they are drawn into secret dangers, rife on the very London streets they call home.

As the young couple race to protect the East End as they know it, can their dreams survive the darkening backdrop of war-time…?

About the author

I was born into a large, East End family and grew up in the overcrowded streets clustered around the Tower of London. I still live in East London, just five miles from where I was born. I feel that it is that my background that gives my historical East London stories their distinctive authenticity.

I first fell in love with history at school when I read Anya Seton’s book Katherine. Since then I have read everything I can about English history but I am particularly fascinated by the 18th and 19th century and my books are set in this period. I just love my native city and the East End in particular which is why I write stories to bring that vibrant area of London alive.

I am also passionate about historical accuracy and I enjoy researching the details almost as much as weaving the story. If one of my characters walks down a street you can be assured that that street actually existed. Take a look at Jean’s East End and see the actual location where my characters played out their stories.

Jean Fullerton

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Inner City #Thriller Breaking Bones by Robert White @robwhite247

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Breaking Bones by Robert White

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3 stars

Robert White is a talented writer, and what I liked most about this book is its authenticity.  It is always clear when a writer truly knows the world and characters he has created; this is no chronicle of inner city crime attempted by a middle class scribe from the suburbs relying on research to produce a lucrative piece of gangster-lit.  The plot is interesting and the novel well structured; White understands the building of suspense and how to keep the reader turning the pages; the pace is perfect, the dialogue realistic, and the characters are all three-dimensional.  I was impressed that he can write convincing women, too.

So why only three stars?  Sadly, Mr White has been let down by his publisher.  The book does not appear to have been either edited or proofread with any kind of professionalism, experience, knowledge or care.  There are numerous punctuation errors on every single page (missing vocative commas is the most common error) as well as typos, spelling mistakes (‘hand-full’ instead of ‘handful’, for instance), and missed words.  Sometimes, the lack of punctuation actually changes the meaning of a sentence:

“He was just asking Eddie,” chipped in Tony.  

…which reads as though a third person was just asking Eddie something; in fact, Tony is telling Eddie that the person was ‘just asking’.  Thus, the correct version:

“He was just asking, Eddie,” chipped in Tony.  

As far as the editing is concerned, there are many instances of exposition, ‘telling not showing’, and unnecessary or perhaps slightly amateur sentences.  For instance: ‘Frankie was the epitome of the Italian gangster caricature.  He hunched his narrow shoulders, tucked in his elbows, palms up.  “Like, y’know…Blondie…Boomtown.”.

Any editor worth their salt would have removed the first sentence; it is ‘telling not showing’ and superfluous, as Robert White has depicted Frankie’s gesture perfectly, without it.  Never mind the lack of spaces before and after the ellipses; they probably should have been commas or full stops, anyway.

In short, the lack of work on this novel turned the reading of it into something of a chore, rather than the enjoyable experience it should (and would) have been, otherwise.  A shame, indeed.

Book description

The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.

But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.

Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.

The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.

Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.

Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.

Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.

Every dog will have its day.

This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties.

About the author

Robert White is an Amazon best selling crime fiction author.
His novels regularly appear in the top ten downloads in the Crime and Action and Adventure genres.
Robert is an ex cop, who captures the brutality of northern British streets in his work. He combines believable characters, slick plots and vivid dialogue to immerse the reader in his fast paced story-lines.
He was born in Leeds, England, the illegitimate son of a jazz musician and a factory girl.
He hated school, leaving at age sixteen.
After joining Lancashire Constabulary in 1980, he served for fifteen years, his specialism being Tactical Firearms.
Robert then spent four years in the Middle East before returning to the UK in 2000.
He now lives in Lancashire with his wife Nicola, and his two terrible terriers Flash and Tia.

Robert White

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #SciFi Chimera Catalyst by @SusanKuchinskas @OxytocinConnect

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas

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CHIMERA CATALYST by Susan Kuchinskas

4 out of 5 stars

‘The planet is getting drier and drier.  In fifty years, it won’t be able to support human life – not as you know it’ …

Chimera Catalyst takes place in an unspecified time in the future ~ from the information given, I am guessing around 150 years on.  The world as we know it now is gone, following the Big Change (some apocalyptic climate disaster, I gathered); water is a luxury, seas are brown and murky, weather is punishingly hot.  The gap between the ‘1 per cent’ (the rich) and the poor is vast.  Children are for the rich only; meanwhile, the manipulation of genes and DNA and advanced cosmetic surgery enables the creation of fantasy creatures and beings.  Religion is a mish-mash of science and hippie spiritualism ~ ‘mystical neuroscience crap’.

Most of life is lived virtually; following pandemics, people are scared of human interaction.  Food is scarce, the air inhospitable, and life is maintained via cocktails of chemical supplements.

The novel is written from the point of view of The Finder, who searches through data to fulfil his commitments to those willing to pay him the coin.  He has a pet he has made himself; the Parrot, who is actually part parrot, part dog.  The story centres around his search for the mysterious Miraluna Rose, but I found that the plot took second place to the fascinating and convincing picture of life in this future world.  It’s very readable and intelligently written, sometimes amusing, sometimes sad.  The Finder, for instance, knows little about human contact, and is baffled by how comforting he finds the ruffling of the Parrot’s feathers, or his warmth lying beside him.

Although the world functions ‘normally’, I found this more terrifying than any epic about a pandemic or zombie apocalypse, simply because it’s what could happen if the world carries on down its path to destruction; it is far more of a living hell than any return to medieval times with no power, etc.  It’s a jolly good book and I enjoyed it ~ I hovered between 4 and 5 stars throughout and my only complaint is that I wanted to know what the Big Change was, how it came about, and what happened immediately afterwards.  This is a series; I very much hope it will include a prequel!

Book description

When Finder is hired to locate charismatic, green-haired Miraluna Rose, it seems like an easy job. Crack into corporate databases, brew up some biologics to enhance his thinking, and get the job done with the help of the Parrot, a bird/dog chimera with the finest traits of both species.

The search takes Finder and the Parrot to the sun-broiled streets of Laxangeles, the canals of Seattle and the weirdly mutated vegetation of the Area. It turns out that it’s not a simple missing-person case after all.

Finder discovers that ReMe, a corporation providing medical cloning services, is illegally breeding human/animal chimeras. ReMe is selling these exotically beautiful female creatures, branded as ArcoTypes, as playthings to the wealthy and ruthless.

Miraluna Rose is its finest creation, but she has other ideas. She’s holed up at Refuge, a haven for runaway ArcoTypes, where she’s planning a future of freedom for her sisters.

To help the ArcoTypes fight ReMe, Finder and the Parrot will need the help of a couple of sympathetic AIs, the CEO of the world’s largest advertising company and a posse of highly modded, celebrity-crazed media kids.

About the author

As a kid, Susan Kuchinskas spent hours catching toads, watching rabbits and starting ant wars — and reading, reading, reading.

She’s never lost her love for creatures of all kinds. In fifth grade, she discovered the bookmobile’s science fiction section and read nothing else until she got to college.

After the usual writer’s mix of odd jobs – gogo dancer, housepainter, office temp – she happened into journalism. As a technology journalist, she covered the rise and fall of the dotcoms, the move to digital and mobile, and the ascendance of social media.

She’s the author of two previous books, Going Mobile: A Guide to Real-time Mobile Applications that Work (CMP Books 2003), and The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love (New Harbinger 2008).

Her short stories have been published in anthologies and journals including Deep Space Dog Fight and Chicago Literati. This is her first novel.

To exercise the parts of her body and mind that don’t get a workout from writing, Susan is an organic gardener, beekeeper, sculptor and DIY re-modeler. She enjoys uncovering exotic cultures at home and abroad.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her mate, Mike, and their socially challenged dog and super-chill cat.

Susan Kuchinskas

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #MiddleGrade Garbage Collectors by @MikeGrabois #Shortstories

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading, Garbage Collectors by Mike Grabois 

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Garbage Collectors: Stories for Young Engineers is a middle grades book about kids who use their own ingenuity to solve problems and improve the world around them.

When I first saw the description for Garbage Collectors, I wanted to get a copy as soon as possible. Garbage Collectors is a collection of short stories about heroes and heroines who do not have anything extraordinary or magical happen to them, but they positively change the world around them by using their intellect.  As the author points out, the process of solving problems is not just a mental exercise.  It involves all of them. While solving problems, the characters experience “anger, happiness, sadness, ecstasy, amazement and more.”

The collection features six short stories that feature Jack and his cousins Alex and Ria.  The trio face realistic problems that they attempt to solve such as pollution, the impact of natural disasters, and even a creating a new science attraction for an amusement park. Throughout all the stories, the characters are positive role models who seek feedback on their ideas and willingly incorporate and build off of the input of their peers and mentors. Some of the characters struggle with the courage to voice their ideas for solutions. And the intelligent Jack sometimes thinks his friends are just using him for their own benefit. But ultimately teamwork wins out. They rely on one another for emotional and intellectual support to successfully impact their world.

I heartily recommend Garbage Collectors to any middle grades student for two reasons.  First, when I was a student, I didn’t have the faintest idea what an engineer did. Garbage Collectors provides clear examples of how science class can translate into action in the real word outside the classroom.  Second, even if the reader has little interest in engineering, the team dynamics in each story are surprisingly realistic and reflect issues that all types of professional and academic teams can relate to.

My one disappointment is that some character and setting descriptions Garbage Collectors are told rather than shown. Sometimes characters and settings are explained in general terms, or the details can get confusing. Some of the stories are stronger than others when it comes to character and setting descriptions, but overall a worthwhile read I highly recommend to middle grade students and teachers.

Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book description

Jack Drozd thinks he’s an ordinary boy-but how come he and his friends get involved in crazy adventures? Could it be because they love mystery and suspense, the excitement of chasing ideas and are filled with a desire to figure things out? But their adventures don’t require travel to remote or dangerous places, or transformation into creatures with magical powers. All they have to do is… think like engineers. In each of these stories the kids encounter a problem, such as garbage in the middle of a pristine pond, a snowball fight or a flood that might damage their school. They don’t need to be special geniuses to solve these difficulties, just willing to think. This process, however, isn’t purely mental, it also engages all their emotions, anger, happiness, sadness, ecstasy, amazement and more. And even better, these stories also invite the reader to think about the method, find flaws in the presented solution or find a better answer.

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My #Bookreview of smouldering #Romance Educating Dr Mayfield by @RebeccaHeflin

Educating Dr. Mayfield (Sterling University, #3)Educating Dr. Mayfield by Rebecca Heflin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Educating Dr Mayfield is book #3 in the Sterling University romance series set in Georgia.

Delaney Driscoll lectures at Sterling University and is hoping to persuade the curriculum committee to agree her new proposed major in fine arts.

Devon Mayfield is the new Dean of Sterling’s College of Business. He meets Delaney at a local bar, but any sizzling attraction between them is denied. Later he turns the curriculum committee against Delaney’s proposal and ruins her hopes.

When Dr Sam Love seeks new participants for a highly scientific ‘love test match’, Devon decides to take part hoping it might find him a suitable partner without the need for any romantic effort on his part. However he’s not prepared for his perfect match to be Delaney. Will Dr Love’s theories be proved correct?

This is a series of easy read smouldering romances set amongst academia; I’ve now read and enjoyed books #2 and #3. Following a popular story arc, they can be read as standalones or part of the series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

He has plenty to learn about love. She’s just the woman who can teach him.

Creative writing professor, Dr. Delaney Driscoll, has an ambitious plan: establish a new degree in romantic fiction. There’s just one problem, and his name is Dr. Devon Mayfield.

Devon, the gorgeous, uptight, all-business college dean and newest member of the curriculum committee thinks Delaney’s proposed degree is useless and a waste of university resources. What’s worse, he convinces the rest of the committee to follow his lead.

Delaney is instantly attracted to Devon’s Darcy-like broodiness—until he stands in the way of her career-long goal. And like Austen’s famous character, Devon’s first impression of her is far from flattering. But even as the two clash over academic philosophies, Delaney becomes the teacher and Devon the student in a remedial course on love.

In the end, can Delaney convince Devon that her effervescent love of life is exactly what he needs to forget the pain of his past and embrace a future with her?

About the author

Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

Rebecca Heflin

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My #BookReview of #WW2 Family #HistFic saga Foxden Hotel by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ

Foxden Hotel (The Dudley Sisters Saga Book 5)Foxden Hotel by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Foxden Hotel is book #5 in The Dudley Sisters family saga. It covers the World War Two period of history. To get the most from this series, I do recommend reading the previous books as many of the characters’ stories and conflicts are concluded within the pages of this final book.

The year is now 1949. The Dudley sisters are celebrating the New Year at the recently opened Foxden Hotel. As the chimes of New Year fade, Bess is confronted by a horror from her past. She recognises Dave Sutherland, a man she hoped she’d never see again.

A few days later a body is found in the hotel’s lake and local police point the finger at Bess and her husband, but soon MI5 are joining the investigation with their suspicions about a larger fascist network.

During the war years all the Dudley sisters played out their roles; in this book they come back together in a grand finale. I liked the fact that the nostalgia was subtly sprinkled through the book. There were one or two areas of weaker dialogue used as info dumps, but on the whole the book didn’t disappoint.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

The war is over. It is time for new beginnings.

Celebrating the opening of Foxden Hotel, New Year’s Eve 1948, an enemy from the war years turns up. He threatens to expose a secret that will ruin Bess’s happiness and the new life she has worked so hard to create. Bess’s husband throws the man out. So is that the last they see of him? Or will he show up again when they least expect?

Bess had hoped fascism was a thing of the past, buried with the victims of WW2. Little does she know the trouble that lies ahead, not only for herself, but also for her family.

About the author

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

Madalyn Morgan

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#BookTwins If You Liked..The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold..You Might Like Silhouettes by @ELTenenbaum

Book Twins

“If you read … you’ll like …”

When you’ve read a book, do you sometimes find yourself thinking “oh, that really reminds me of *insert name of another book*”?

Welcome to a new feature, in which my team and I make reading suggestions based on your favourites, be they classics, or newer best sellers.  Our recommendations consider not just genre, but writing style, plot—and that ‘feel’ you can’t quite put your finger on.

This week’s choice is from team member Olga:

If you like…The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, then you might like Silhouettes by E.L. Tenenbaum.

The Lovely Bones is a novel that follows the experiences of a 14-year-old girl who was murdered and from heaven checks on her family and tries to keep in touch with them. There are thriller elements, as she also follows the investigation into her murder, but what readers remember most are the reflections about memory, family, and what life is all about.

In Silhouettes, Brooke, an 18-year-old girl, dies in a car crash and discovers that she is not quite gone. She is hanging around on Earth, but her friends and family cannot see her, only others like her. She was a popular girl, a great dancer, a good student, and came from a happy family. She meets Tyler, a boy from her school that she’d never noticed but who is in the same situation and they both try to make sense together of why they are still here, whatever ‘here’ is. He was neither popular, nor well-off, and his family situation was far from happy, but they discover they have more in common than they ever realised when they were alive.

The story, written in the first person, from Brooke’s perspective, is beautifully reflective, as she comes to understand that people might appear happy on the surface but most have experience hurt and loss, and she gains insight into what are the really important things in life. There are secrets we discover as we read and, despite the subject, the message is positive and hopeful. The novel is classified as Young Adult and it is a clean read, with no swearing or sex scenes, but I would recommend it to anybody looking for an inspiring and spiritual read that goes beyond specific religious beliefs. I would especially recommend it to readers who loved The Lovely Bones but were concerned about the most gruesome aspects of the plot.

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Have you read The Lovely Bones?  Would you try Silhouettes?