Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller Hiding by @jmortonpotts #SundayBlogShare

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Hiding by Jenny M Potts

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to the plot lines covering Rebecca and her family, and Keller Baye.

With Hiding, Jenny Morton Potts has created a quite intriguing mystery, starting with two plot lines. It is at first on the slowish side, introducing the main characters and pieces of their pasts. After a few chapters, the story settles at a good and steady pace. Jenny Morton Potts created a good suspense story with some twists, and more insights in Keller’s motives. I did not get close to the characters – I followed them and their stories from a comfortable distance. I wanted to learn the reason why, even if I could not get very close to any of the events. Even if the story did not fully meet my expectations, it is a good read with believable characters, interesting turns, and a good flow.

This is a book for you if you like suspense with interesting turns and sidelines, believable characters, and if you appreciate the art of forgoing excessive details.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #psychological #thriller Hiding by @JMortonPotts

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

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Hiding by Jenny M Potts

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My Review:

I enjoyed this book; Jenny Morton Potts has created a good psychological thriller; great plot, believable characters, good dialogue.

Hiding follows two main characters from different countries, both well-rounded and many layered: Rebecca, the protagonist, brought up in the Scottish Highlands with her siblings by her grandparents. It’s a bleak seemingly loveless household according to the narrative from Rebecca’s point of view.  But there are many unanswered questions, especially about the death of here parents; killed in a car accident. And Keller Baye, the antagonist;  an American youth, and son of a murderer. His narrative is revealed slowly and is, initially, more difficult to grasp. But what is obvious is the lack of love in his upbringing, and explains his total absence of empathy for anyone in his world. (I use the word ‘world’ on purpose, rather than his ‘life’; right from the start his character is portrayed as distanced from any other character in the story – he seemed to me to be more of a spectator). The most unsettling is his graphic, almost internal narration of his presence at his father’s execution.

Told alternately from each of the two main characters’ point of view, the plot lines are related  both in the present and in flashbacks, (a device I like as a reader; to me this always adds so many more layers).

But it wasn’t only these two characters that came alive for me; most of the minor characters are many layered as well; some I liked, some I didn’t – which, is, undoubtedly,  as the author intended

And both  the internal and spoken dialogue expands on all the characters and there is never any doubt who is speaking.

The descriptions of the settings give a great sense of place; it’s easy to envisage each scene. From the descriptions of the isolated chilly mansion in  Highlands of Scotland to the cramped unloving house that was Keller Baye’s home with his aunt in the USA, to the external scenes when each character is telling their own narrative and on to the scenes where they are eventually together.

As I said earlier it’s a great plot; seemingly separate tales with no connection, both well told, until a sudden realisation that there is an inevitable link.

Initially there is an even pace to the two separate narratives but then the suspense builds up as threads of the parallel stories intertwine and connect.A gripping read.

And right up to the last chapter I would have given Hiding five stars. So many small twists and turns, so many suspenseful moments joining up all the past narrative. But then, for me, it ended too abruptly. I won’t say how, and no doubt other readers will have their own opinions. But the gradual deepening of the plot and the lead up towards the end worked so well – and then…it was over; a sudden and unsatisfying denouement.

A last point; I love the cover; the silhouette of the woman looking outwards as though searching, the grim image of the man’s face as though watching; the contrast of light and dark. Wonderful!

Despite my reservations of the ending (and I leave that point for other readers to decide),  I would certainly recommend Hiding. Jenny Morton Potts has a great style of writing.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Sandra reviews #thriller Hiding by @jmortonpotts

Today’s team review is from Sandra.

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

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Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts is a well-written and tightly plotted thriller that keeps you guessing right to the very end. Keller Baye’s father is being executed on death row for his involvement in a crime we know nothing about. Rebecca Brown is living on the remote northwest coast of Scotland with her brother, sister and grandparents, overshadowed by the death of her parents in a mysterious accident. Keller and Rebecca are introduced to us in alternate chapters and to begin with their stories have no obvious connection but gradually converge as we learn more of their backstories. The characters are believable if not entirely sympathetic (except perhaps Rebecca’s grandfather); Rebecca is weird and Keller is completely loathsome (in no small part due to their strange childhoods), but you still want to know how it will all work out. Why did Keller target Rebecca (and not one of her siblings) as the cause of his father’s incarceration and death?  This is left to the reader to decide for themselves. The pace is slow to begin with to build up the suspense then rushes towards an ending with even more surprises in store. The cover art is striking and would stand out on a bookshop shelf. This is the first book by Jenny Morton Potts that I have read but it certainly won’t be the last. Thanks to the author for a free copy of this book which I review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

#Newrelease My #Bookreview of magical realism #fantasy #romance RIVER by @TheIndiaRAdams

River (A Stranger in the Woods, #2)River by India R. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four point five stars.

River is book #2 of The Stranger In The Woods series of magical realism tales. Set in woodlands of North Carolina, book #1 introduced us to Guardian Warrior Elves, entrusted to guard humans against evil and bring balance to the universe.

In a complex love triangle, two elves fell in love with Rose, a human, who became pregnant. She could not choose between her half-blood best friend and her soulmate, but the child she carried was surrounded by a prophecy, and blood demons wanted to kidnap her for their leader.

In book #2 baby Rain has been born. Rose and her baby are now part of the Elven community and live with them deep in the woods. Guards are assigned to protect both Rose and the baby, but will it ever be enough against the evil of the one called King? This powerful entity of the underworld is able to manipulate time and slip beings into alternate universes. No one knows the lengths he will go to, to have Rose by his side.

This is an emotion filled book. Adams knows how to write characters that grasp you and tie you to their story. It is written in alternating chapters from points of view of Rose and Ryder. There are multiple layers of themes within the story: the Elvish ways, spirituality, the good versus evil and sexual relationships. But they are written in such a way that they also reflect deep human needs, emotions and teachings that have got lost into today’s speeding world of consumerism. However, the book isn’t slowed down by the emotional depth, or lost on a spiritual path. Adams uses plenty of light-hearted banter to lift the mood and show us the camaraderie of the Elves.

A good second book to a series, but I would recommend reading book #1 (Rain) first to get the most from this fantasy series.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads

Book description

He wipes blood from his mouth with his bare arms. “I need you to hold still so I don’t feel the need to chase and conquer. Do you understand?”
I feel his breath on my skin. “My chances if I run?”
“None.”

I had wondered if I would be strong enough to love Ryder, my stranger from the woods. I learned that I was—still am. But now Ryder, Gunner and I have a young together, Rain, the Princess go the Guardian Warriors. And a very powerful being, King of the Shadow Clones, wants her dead. The only time I ever saw King was in the dream where forced a kiss on me, sending me into labor. Yes, I learned I was strong enough to love Ryder, but with a new stranger in the woods, will he be strong enough to love me?

About the author

India is either hiding away and writing in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, in a studio writing and recording songs for the Forever series, in yoga trying to find her Zen (that keeps escaping her), walking down an old dirt road (no joke), outdoors with her dogs and family (because to live without the sun is a crime), in a coffee shop talking books, or floating in a lake (when the weather permits). She thinks reading books is the answer to all problems (and having a glass of red wine is a fabulous second solution). She loves to chat with readers because she says they are brilliant and most passionate.

India R. Adams

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @SassyKebkerr reviews #NewRelease HIDING by @jmortonpotts

Today’s team review is from Karen B, she blogs here http://sassyredheadbookreviews.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Hiding by Jenny M Potts

A different read for me, with a different twist at the end. Not what I expected at all.

Keller is looking to get pay back for his father’s sentencing after a heist gone wrong with the murder of an ex judge. He wants retribution for his father taking the fall for the disaster that occurred that day in NC.

Rebecca wants answers as to where her parents are and what happened to them. When she begins to dig around in old newspapers she only ends up with more questions.

This book goes back and forth between years with the history of what happened and present day. The story is well written and the back and forth between the years is done well.

This thriller will keep you hoping for the best for both of these young people who are thrown into this predicament because of their parents. This story shows that things aren’t always as they seem and that we may not always have the power to make our lives out to be what we hope for. I give this story a 4.5 star review. Although, the end left me with more questions than answers.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #BookReview of magical #Fantasy The Peach keeper by @SarahAddisonAll #fridayreads

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Peach Keeper is a magical fantasy romance set in a town called Wall Of Water in North Carolina. The town, at the edge of a national park, is often shrouded in dense fog from the nearby falls.

Paxton Osgood and her family have been renovating an old building known as The Blue Ridge Madam. Once the home of a logging family, it fell into disrepair. Willa Jackson is a descendent of the owners of The Madam, but she’s never stepped into the house, once rumoured to be haunted.

Chairwomen of the Women’s Society Club, Paxton has sent out invites to the clubs 75th anniversary celebrations which will be combined with the grand opening of The Madam. Paxton wants to see the granddaughter of one of the founders of the club (Willa) to bring her grandmother along, but Willa is reluctant.

The discovery of a skeleton under a peach tree in the grounds of The Madam threaten Paxton’s plans. Believed to be the remains of magical travelling man Tucker Devlin, secrets from the past buried with the body come to light; none are more shocking than Nana Osgood’s revelations.

There’s a wonderful magical element to this book, from the storm that caused the invites to be delivered to wrong houses, the store bell that rang when no-one was there, to the magical smell of peaches wafting on the air. Love and true friendship mix with this cosy mystery.

Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book:

‘Happiness means taking risks, and if you’re not a little scared, you’re not doing it right.’

‘If you make room in your life- good things will enter.’

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

About the author

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Sarah Addison Allen

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #BookReview of Magical #Fantasy The Sugar Queen by @SarahAddisonAll

The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sugar Queen is a magical fantasy set in Bald Slope, North Carolina. Josey Cirrinis is the twenty-seven year old daughter of the late Marco Cirrinis who put Bald Slope on the tourist map with his ski resort. Josey’s mother despises and continually puts her down, clipping Josey’s desire to leave the town and travel. Years of this treatment have turned Josey into a secret comfort eater who hordes sweet treats.

With the arrival of autumn, Josey is relieved because the colder weather means she can wear her lucky red jumper again. But today she awoke to find local waitress, Della Lee Baker, had taken up residence in her closet. They strike up an amicable friendship. Apart from her crush on the mail-man, Josey’s adult life has, so far, been boring and predictable.

The arrival of Della Lee changes all this, and Josey discovers a life outside her home; with Della’s encouragement, she breaks the bonds that tie her down.

This is a gentle slow burn romance with a magical twist or two. There’s a character who has the power to attract books. I loved the quirky idea of books appearing just when you need them; as a bookworm, for me, that seems like a dream come true. I also liked Della Lee, obviously someone for whom life had dealt a difficult hand, but she played her cards well in the end. She was both fun and sad; I liked how she teased the Cirrinis’ house-maid, but showed fierce loyalty to Josey.

Recommended for an enjoyable few hours of magical escapism.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Josey lives an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her only consolation the sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to in her hidden closet. But one day she finds it harbouring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis and two parts fairy godmother.

About the author

Sarah Addison Allen

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014) and First Frost (2015).

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #BookReview of magical #Fantasy First Frost by @SarahAddisonAll #TuesdayBookBlog

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Frost is book #2 in the magical fantasy, Waverley Sisters of Bascom novels. Set once again in North Carolina, this book takes place ten years later than book #1, Garden Spells. (read my review of book #1 here)

Claire Waverley’s catering business has now changed and she makes candy, which is believed to have magical properties. Demand has grown so much that she can no longer use her own garden flowers and she unhappily supplements them with commercially bought flavours and essences.

Claire’s sister, Sydney, now owns the hair salon in town and uses her own magical Waverley gift to create hairstyles that leave her customers feeling special. Her daughter, Bay, is now fifteen; she sets things in order and has a great eye for knowing where everything belongs. However, she’s currently suffering from the teenage anxiety of first love.

A stranger comes to town; Russel Zahler, once the Great Banditi, is a down-on-his-luck magician and con artist. He begins to send unsettling ripples through the community. Before the first frost of the autumn, Waverley women become jittery, and this year it’s at its worst, no one can settle. What does the stranger want?

I enjoyed this book as much as the first and fans of Garden Spells should enjoy this sequel, with the magic apple tree and the mysterious skills of the Waverley clan. I’m glad Evanelle, the eighty nine year old relative, was still around with her own gift; she brings a lovely touch of eccentricity to the tale.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen’s enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

About the author

Sarah Addison Allen

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014) and First Frost (2015).

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #BookReview of Magical #Fantasy Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen @SarahAddisonAll

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Garden Spells is a magical fantasy book and is set in North Carolina.

Do you believe in magic? The people of Bascom do. Folklore has grown up around the long family lines in Bascom: all Clark women are proficient in the art of love, Hopkins men always marry older women, and Waverley women know weird things, and have a magical apple tree. Tradition said that if you ate an apple from the tree, you would be provided with a vision of the biggest event in your life.

Claire Waverley now owns the large Queen Anne style family home, where she runs a catering business, creating dishes infused with flowers and ingredients from her garden. Her life is quiet and orderly.

Sydney Waverley rejects her roots; she hates being labelled a Waverley, and fled Bascom as soon as she could.

Everything is about to change. Claire can feel it in the garden, sense it in the air. A new neighbour and the sudden return of Sydney are about to turn Claire’s safe world upside-down.

I loved Evanelle, a seventy-nine year old distant Waverley relative. People are amused and perplexed at the items she gives them. But however curious the gift, they find it to be just what they need, at some point later, be it a spoon, or a brooch, or any other random item.

This is a delightful book to escape into on a lazy summer day. If you enjoy tales of enchantment and romance with a touch of suspense then this book might be for you.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that’s been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys’ roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies – famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs – until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden…Claire’s carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

About the author

Sarah Addison Allen

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014) and First Frost (2015).

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HARBINGER: WAKE-ROBIN RIDGE #3 by @MarciaMeara #Paranormal #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3 by Marcia Meara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Harbinger is book#3 in the Wake-Robin Ridge series of paranormal suspense mysteries set in the Carolina Mountains.

The book opens with a scene from June 1994, eight year old Sissy Birdwell steps off the school bus on the last day of term and begins her walk up the long road to home, it’s not a walk she enjoys alone, sometimes things scare her, but she sets bravely off. Along the road she meets Cadey Hagen a boy and mountain neighbour. He is currently suspended from school and is a known trouble maker. He invites Sissy into the woods to show her a secret.

Twenty years later Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac Cole and his son for help with a cold case. Eleven year old Rabbit is the adopted son of Mac and Sarah, a gifted child who has the sight. Mac also owns a computer research company and Wardell hopes they can help him solve the case of a missing girl.

Several miles away Deacon Cadey Hagen has lived the last twenty years of his life as a reformed man, a husband and model member of society with an uneventful life, except for the recurring nightmare which haunts him. For some reason the dream has become more frequent – Ol’shuck a harbinger of death stalks and chases Cadey through the woods, forcing him to awake screaming.

Mac and Sarah have concerns about allowing Rabbit to be involved in the search for a missing girl, but Rabbit believes finding her can only bring peace to her poor grieving mother. Visions and messages give clues, but Rabbit also needs to protect himself from an overdose of voices all wanting to be heard. He learns to control and grow with his gift in a heart-warming manner.

These books have wonderful settings which come to life in the author’s pen, the slow build up of the suspense is an ideal pace, allowing details to be discovered. I really enjoyed the continuation of Rabbit who we first met in book #2, he really is a delight to read about and I can see that there may be many more tales and cases to solve for Cole & Son in the future.

Book description

The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.

But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.

When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.

As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Reviewed on Amazon as part of #AugustReviews

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