*Interview with Ian Cawley, author of GNOSIS*

#technothriller #thriller #politicalthriller #futuristic #mysticism

Today we are thrilled to welcome Ian Cawley, author of Gnosis, a thriller which blends big business and politics with world events, climate change and ancient mysticism. I was fortunate to meet Ian (pictured above) when he visited Tamworth Literary Festival in March this year and I am very much looking forward to reading Gnosis.

Scroll down to read the interview Ian with and find out about Gnosis. 🙂 

Book Blurb

How far would your conscience take you?

In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe.

His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience.

This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

Q & A

1. Tell us about yourself

Born in the Manchester area, I’ve worked in jobs that have ranged from loading fruit & veg vans to running a film school, but mainly in the graphics and the audio-visual industries. I wrote my first screenplay in 1989, shortly after graduating, which gained the attention of Channel 4, though the project was scuppered with all the others thanks to Lady Thatcher selling off the TV franchises at that time.

Since then, encouraged by a year’s MA of Scriptwriting at Film School, I have endeavoured to continue my writing of unique stories with some success through independent fiction films and documentaries.

Now living in the Midlands, I’m married with two children.

2. Tell us about GNOSIS.

I had become tired of trying to get writing and film projects up and going, so I decided on a different approach to getting my work out there.

The advent of Amazon’s self-publishing option came as an obvious outlet; a relatively easy way in which to get your work out to a wider public and see how it’s received. It was also a fresh challenge since I had never attempted to write in the novel format before.

The idea for GNOSIS came about, I think, after watching Tobias Churton’s documentary series on ‘The Gnostics’ whilst at the same time reading up on some of the ideas of two scientists – Fritjof Capra and James Lovelock. Capra was postulating theories of connectivity of all matter in the universe whilst Lovelock was expounding his Gaia Theory – the earth being a self-regulating organism.

I found myself intrigued by these philosophical ideas and pondered the prospect of weaving them into a fictional story using conventional narrative devices. These creative musings, however, have taken twenty-five years to come to fruition.

The story

Gnosis is the story of Max, a digital engineer who wants to save the world.

How far would your conscience take you? In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe. His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience. This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

3. I understand that one reviewer has called it ‘The Da Vinci Code meets Big Data’?

Yes. I can see why that may have occurred to the reader since it is a traditional mystery plot involving the lust for power and control (information being the asset) whilst having undercurrents of possible supernatural forces at work, the use of codes and mysticism.

4. Lots of people have also said that they can see GNOSIS as a film

Absolutely. GNOSIS is really a movie script hiding in a novel. Given that my first love is cinema and all my previous writing has been for the screen, it was inevitable that that style would surface in the way it came off the page. It is also structured very much like a movie.

5. How long did it take you to write the novel?

The idea for GNOSIS had been kicking around for over 25 years, but I only really started writing it up in anger (as a novel) in 2011 and published it in the summer of 2016.

6. It’s extremely topical, and in that respect I am talking about the political, EU, terrorism, climate change, big data and hacking themes. Readers have called GNOSIS ‘an uncanny prediction”.

Are you psychic?

Well to quote Bob Dylan “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

7. What kind of research did you do?

As I went through the story, the technical details were served purely though the internet. For example, YouTube showed me the drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  The internet is a wonderful tool for the writer and it can allow you to do neg checks as well before releasing the story.

Characters

8, Which is your favourite character in GNOSIS, and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard – like saying who is your favourite child. That’s a tough one. If I had a few I’d pick – Max of course, but I do have a soft spot for Brent McGregor. He’s an utter buffoon. I also like the character of Francois because he cares and doesn’t care in the same measure.

9. Are any characters like you?

Of course. Max. In my fantasies. 🙂

10. When you were writing it could you see certain actors as the characters?

It was only towards its completion that we began to fantasise about potential actors. Kevin Spacey I thought would be excellent for Joe Green. Emily Blunt for Georgina.

And for Max…? I never really came up with one for Max. My wife came up with several. 🙂

Clifford? Maybe Derek Jacobi as Clifford…

11. Are any of the characters real life people – politicians for example?

There are elements drawn from people who I have never met but know of, and there are elements of people I know and have known quite well.

12. Your favourite football team has made its way into GNOSIS. You support Manchester City. Tell us more.

It just seemed a fun thing to do for City fans. Some of the in-jokes are a bit obscure and you would have to be a City fan of some long standing to get all of them.  I’ve supported Man City since leaving primary school.

13. You have several films featured in GNOSIS (Night of the Demon etc.) – are they your favourites? Why were they included….

The 30’s horror films tend to be a motif for my childhood. The reference to Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 film ‘Night of the Demon’ has two significant elements to it – firstly, I saw it as a kid and it had me absolutely captivated. Secondly, I saw it when I was older with a group of mates; it being part of a BBC 2 double bill with The Ghoul starring John Hurt.

Night of the Demon is a bizarre collaboration of a European director using American money for a British production. Without going into all the politics behind the film, the mix of the American star Dana Andrews, the perverse American view of what “English countryfolk” are and the types of dwellings they live in, along with a stunning performance by Niall MacGinnis as the evil Dr Karswell, it’s an utter delight to watch. I would suggest the séance where they all sing “Cherry Ripe” together to be a moment of cinema legend.

Some of the motifs throughout the film seemed to marry so well with some of the elements and ideas in the story.  It just seemed fitting to put it in. Also, it might tempt readers to search out the film and watch it.

14. How do you pick character names? Do they have any special meaning to you?

Yes. Because they have need to suit the characters and there is always an opportunity to play an in-joke. For example, Colleen Bell – is one of the major characters to survive into the sequel. Those who can make the link with the other characters in the book will find the entire MCFC 1969 FA Cup winning side appearing here, there and everywhere.

Writing

15. Do you ever surprise yourself with what you’ve written?

Yes. When it’s a good gag and you are the first one to hear it.

16. What’s the best and the worst thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is filling white spaces with words. I don’t think it ever gets any easier. However, once you are through the process having produced what you believe to be a credible novel, there is a sense of achievement and legacy that stays with you. There’s also nothing better than to receive a glowing review from a complete stranger.

17. Where do you most like to do your writing?

In solitude and silence but that is very difficult with a growing family and several pets.

18. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you tackle it?

No. I just get ‘lazy-itus’.

19 What is the best writing tip you have ever been given? How has it influenced you?

Alan Plater, acclaimed writer (who mentored me in the early 90s) corresponded with me frequently. To be honest, I learned more from Alan, in a few sentences amongst the paragraphs, than a whole year studying at film school.

Diana Hawkins, Film Producer. She advised me on the importance of structure. She encouraged me to get my stories into a proper structure and from that point on I understood how important it is to make your story really work.

20. How much of your own life experiences appear in your writing?

I think it’s inevitable that your own daily experience of living will find a way into some aspect of the stories, plots, characters, settings and dialogue. Writers often start writing from a point of something they already know or have an interest in.

21. What’s your usual writing routine?

My usual writing routine is to steal what time I can and promise myself that unless I write at least two paragraphs City will lose at the weekend.

Is that true? – Yes.

Self-publishing

20. You self-published GNOSIS. Why, and how easy did you find it – the process?

As I said earlier, I just wanted my work out there, read and enjoyed.

In retrospect it was fairly easy, but having my own design and computer skills helped the process immeasurably.  Someone who isn’t tech savvy might need to seek help or buy the service in. For example, I designed and created my own book cover using Photoshop and After Effects with some photography. I also handle my own Social Media accounts.

The sequel

21. You are presently writing a sequel. Care to tell us anything?

The sequel picks up the story where GNOSIS left off.  It is a time for justice to be meted out and certain individuals to get their comeuppance.  A lot of readers have already got in touch with me, and asked what’s going to happen to the ‘baddies’… Hopefully soon they will find out, and they might even get a happy ending. 🙂

**REVIEW** GUARDIAN (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part III (Jezebel’s Journey Part III) by C.J. Pinard

The Daughter of Darkness series finale is here in GUARDIAN. Following Lotus’s Journey has been a pleasure. Lotus, half-vamp, half-faery, has been teased and beckoned in her dreams by her evil father, Vlad Montour (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler). Discovering his ideas for taking powers and controlling all supernaturals, his methods for achieving that, and many other evil acts, it becomes clear that he has to be stopped. But, will meeting with her sisters to discuss a plan of action turn sour? Especially since one was once on the dark side herself not too long ago?

Guardian (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus's Journey Part III: (Jezebel's Journey: Part III)Title: GUARDIAN (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part III (Jezebel’s Journey Part III)

Author: C.J. Pinard

Genre: Paranormal mystery, thriller

Release date: August 22nd, 2016

Length: 127 pages

Buy Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Blurb: Realizing that a confrontation with Vlad had slipped out of her grasp, Lotus sets off with Drew and Jezebel to formulate another plan of action. But then a phone call from Tori, the sister she’d just learned about but had never met, changes the course of their plans.

Lotus now has to search for some kind of heirloom or jewel left to her by her biological mother. But where would she find such a trinket? She’d been orphaned for over 100 years and didn’t even know her mother’s name, let alone anything she’d left her. With more determination than ever, the assistance of a witch, and her other gifts, they will help guide Lotus to find it. But what else will they find when going on such a hunt?

The final showdown to kill Vlad has been set and as Lotus and Jezebel finally meet their long, lost sisters, Tori and Blair, they realize the chances of them getting away with killing Vlad and living to tell about it are very slim. Still, their resolve is strong; the sisters are strong. The question is: Will it be worth it? Giving their lives to rid the world of their evil father, Vlad the Impaler, for good?

Find out in this heart-stopping final instalment of the Daughters of Darkness series.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

I have followed Lotus’s journey through each book of the series, and GUARDIAN is a brilliant story to end the series. Lotus has certainly come a long way throughout the series; although half-vampire and half-faery she has lived most of her life in a most human-like manner. Over the course of the series she has learned so much about herself, her capabilities and her family. She has even sustained a long-term relationship with cute, hot Lycan, Drew, a neighbour and protector. And yet, she still loves to make her everyday life as human-like as possible, i.e. going to work and general life as a mortal.

“… why was I living as a mortal? I’d told them that it was because I knew no other way. That was the truth, partially, but the other half of me knew it was because it was safe and harmless to pretend to be human. However, deep in my dark heart, I knew I should venture onto the wild side – the dark side of the supernaturals – and see what it had to offer.”

It is very easy to connect with Lotus’s character in this manner. Her character, within the story, acts as a bridge between the reality and the supernatural world. In Guardian, Lotus has to make some uneasy decisions and to take chances, along with her sisters, in the hope of defeating their evil, vampire father, Vlad Montour (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler). And, the reader can sense a change in Lotus in exploring more of her supernatural side, especially as she would need this to help be rid of her father.

Told not only from Lotus’s point of view, the reader also follows Jezebel’s as it is also her final book of the series too! This is very fitting as these sisters are so close at this point and in almost every scene together. In fact, aside from Drew, Jezebel is the closest person to Lotus. Both become cautious when they meet with their other two, newly-found sisters, Tori and Blair, especially Tori as she was brought up and worked for their father.

However, there are some emotional twists when we learn about the sister’s backgrounds, their mothers, and just why Tori may have turned against their father. Along with the final showdown, I felt that the meeting scene of the four sisters was a vital part of the story. Were they going to turn on each other? Could they be trusted? These were just some of the questions running through my mind. It is written really well, and the caution and emotion felt real.

The overall atmosphere of the story, and indeed the series, is dark, eerie, and full of suspense and mystery. It darkens still as the sisters try to take on their powerful, evil father. And, it is he that creates the mood and tension. Trying to take the power and control all supernaturals is his goal, including his own daughters. But, did he really love them? Can they really take on their own father?

Complete with witches, succubi, werewolves, faeries and vampires, Guardian has a thrilling, fast-paced story line with plenty of action, especially as the story moves towards the end. A brilliant read for this Halloween. But, I would advise to read Lotus (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part I and Watcher: Lotus’s Journey Part II before finishing with Guardian.

A copy of Guardian, Lotus’s Journey Part III was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Summer Review Round-Up 2016

Dear readers,

img_0166It may be Autumn, but we’re still clinging on to the end of Summer with our Summer reads from June, July and August recapped for you to check out. We hope you all had some great hols and had the chance to read a book or two!

One of the perfect summer reads for me was Alison Brodie’s THE DOUBLE, where the setting on a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur really grabbed me. A perfect read even if not on holiday as it certainly makes you feel like you are!

And, with many of our reads being dark, paranormal, sci-fi and HOT erotic, they’ll be perfect for warming up your evenings for the following months.

For more info on each book and our full reviews please click on the titles.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Caroline & Tina 🙂 ❤

Shannon 1Angelis Vampire Series by Shane North, fantasy, paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

SHANNON (book 1) Blurb: Shannon’s life is happy except for her nightmares, but when she watches her mom and dad being murdered by the monsters in her dreams, her life falls apart. Her best friend turns out to be a werewolf, the man she thinks of as her other father is the alpha male, and her long lost uncle is a vampire lord from Angelis. Angelis is in another time dimension, a world ruled by Royals, a pureblooded line of vampires with powers never seen in this time dimension. Angelis is a medieval world of castles, and ancient magic that her mother and uncle were forced to leave to save their lives.

Shannon’s journey leads her to follow her destiny and meet the love of her life. Destiny and her uncle lead her to find out what she really is, where she came from, and to become the strongest immortal to live. Shannon learns to kill quickly, and to love like there’s no tomorrow when she meets her mate from her dreams. Simon, an eight-hundred year old Viking has searched the world for his true love when he meets Shannon. What will Shannon’s uncle, Simon’s maker, have to say about this? A young woman from South beach, destined to overthrow the vampire council and rule the immortal race with the help of the ancient Shaman Neeb.

Shannon 2SHANNON’S REVENGE (book 2) Blurb: My name is Shannon O’Callaghan and I’m immortal. I live in an amazing world of time travel and magic, where vampires and werewolves are normal and I call them family A family some would say are monsters, but they love me unconditionally and it’s the life I was meant to live. My father was Connor O’Callaghan, a visionary that led the wolves to peace and prosperity. My mother was Callidora Angelis, a Royal vampire from another time dimension. Their love and life together are what made my life possible, but, it is also what caused their death. And, it’s their death that fuels my journey of revenge on those who stole my life.

This immortal word is controlled by The Vampire Assembly. The Assembly is an evil group of twelve who decides the fate of its followers. They are devils dressed like mortal men who kill with pleasure and live off of blood slaves they keep in their dungeons. They are evil, they are responsible for my parents’ death, and I will see them dead. My day for revenge is finally coming and The Assembly is mine to kill. Then and only then will I rule this land as their queen.

ReaganREAGAN’S DESTINY (book 3) Blurb: Death has arrived in earth’s time dimension. A foul stench filled Shannon’s nose, a smell of sulfur and death. This might have been a vision, but her power spiked as she sensed the source and moved towards it. Her life force surrounded her as her swords appeared in her hands. She gripped them tightly and stepped through a massive oak door. Before her stood a giant of a man.

His essence was black as coal, and his soul had long been lost to his dark side. His ancient leather armor looked old and battled; it smelled musty from the dried blood and looked dry and brittle. This had to be Kyran. Evil always had a dirty, unkempt appearance, and his aura was encircled with death. She could sense his blood was similar to Damon’s, and she knew she would take great pleasure in killing him someday. But what happens when Kyran is taken to earth’s time dimension by Neeb’s evil brother, seeking to kill the remaining royal Angelian family and end their bloodline forever.

In this riveting spin off from Shane North’s Angelis Vampire Series, an unknown Angelian is faced with death, her new life and the destiny the fates have planned for her.

FigsFigs by Tabitha Rayne, erotic lesbian menage/romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Two girls, some fruit and an office perv—what could possibly go wrong?

When Mae finally confronts the office perv, Rory, by taking part in one of his suggestive pranks with a fig, she starts a journey that changes the way she thinks and feels about her current partner, Janey. Janey lost her sight just before they met and Mae realizes she has been keeping Janey like a prisoner in her own home—safe, protected and unseen. After the scene with Rory, Mae decides to take Janey out and show her off to the world—something she should have done a long time ago…

Little does she know what a hellraiser her girlfriend can be.

Digital_Cover_ILLUS_2Sex Hell: A Love Story by Joe Canzano, comic fantasy, humour, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing–but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by a laughing demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid–or does she?

Sex Hell is an absurd comic fantasy about the confusion of relationships. How is love related to sex, and how is sex related to love–and do love and sex need to be related at all?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations

All that glistersAll That Glisters by C. J. Fallowfield, contemporary erotic romance, humour (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: The spin off to the best-selling humorous erotic romance standalone, The Temptress.

Hunter Donovan. He was everything I openly loathed, but everything I secretly desired.

Cocky, arrogant, and crude. When Hunter wanted something, he pursued, relentlessly, until he got it. And right now, I was his prey. The trouble was, I didn’t want to be added to his endless list of conquests.

Gorgeous, masculine, with a body made for sin. The most perfect specimen of male I’d ever set eyes on, and he knew it. The trouble was, I saw the pain he was trying to hide, and I wanted to heal him.

He wanted my body, but I wanted his heart.

Coco Barella. She was everything I openly desired, but everything I’d convinced myself I didn’t need.

Beautiful, sexy, and sassy, all of the qualities that I wanted in my bed. Compassionate, loving, and perfect, all of the qualities I didn’t need in my life.

I needed to pull her to me, but at the same time I wanted to push her away.

When the sexual magnetism between two people is so hot, that it can scorch everything around it to ash, who will emerge from the flames victorious?

A standalone erotic romance novel, which contains adult content and is only suitable for the over 18’s

Natasha BA Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure #2) by Natasha Blackthorne, historical, erotic regency romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Scorching Hot Historical Romance

Miss Miranda Jones is indisputably the most beautiful, elegant and sought after courtesan in all of London. She hides a past full of pain and rejection beneath an exterior of pride. She knows that noblemen put their own fickle interests first and cannot be trusted. Scorned by ducal father, she never needed or expected anything from a man, except his financial support. Luxurious living makes a soothing balm against the sting of the ultimate rejection.

Now she’s madly in love with a nobleman who cannot afford to keep her in such extravagant style. And she wonders if a courtesan can ever afford to indulge her own passions? Can she really gamble so capriciously on her own future and put the happiness of the moment above future security? Will her gentleman prove himself no better than any other nobleman that she has known?

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, has seen the men of his family destroyed through their obsessive need to possess beautiful women. He’d always thought himself immune to such unworthy drives. Now he’s fallen under the spell of Miss Miranda Jones.

Miss Jones’ high standards and past reputation foretells that she’ll be a most demanding mistress. Despite his relative lack of funds, Adrian is determined to work hard to protect and provide for her. Passion led this skeptical gentleman to declare himself in love. Yet as they enter a protector and mistress relationship, Adrian finds himself consumed with possessiveness. And he can’t help but wonder if is it true love that motivates him? Or is it the need to own her stunning beauty? He must find the answer before their tempestuous romance breaks both of their hearts.

A Most Demanding Mistress is part of the Fashionably Impure Series and is best read after Miranda’s Dilemma.

Reader advisory: This story contains frank sexual language and general bedchamber naughtiness. Abuse issues are alluded to in the backstory.

The General’s Daughter & Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash, books 1 & 2) by Heather Knight, post-apocalyptic, dark erotic romance suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

HKTHE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER (book 1) Blurb: Eighteen year-old Ilsa’s father, General Balenchuk, is one of the few men with balls enough to build a tiny island of civilization after a global catastrophe sends humanity to near extinction. He runs Bluefield Mountain with an iron fist, and he’s even more controlling when it comes to his daughter. Ilsa’s been dead inside for years—that is, until the person who hates her most takes her hostage.

When twenty-two year-old Talon Heinesman kidnaps Ilsa Balenchuk, it’s not just because the leader of a rival territory ordered him to capture the general’s daughter. Four years ago, her selfishness set into motion a series of events that resulted in his mother’s and sister’s murders. He’s buried his rage for four years, and now it’s time to mete out the punishment she deserves.

Their story sets Ilsa and Talon on a steamy, turbulent path full of danger, incendiary passion, and a bond so deep it could kill.

This romantic suspense novel contains dark, mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

STOLEN MELODY (book 2) Blurb: The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a HK1volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole persona of Melody was a corporate fabrication, and Imogen would like to forget that part of her past.

Ex-felon Axel Diehl is scouting ahead for a well-organized gang when he spots his fantasy girl. There’s no mistaking the small scar on her hand, those full lips, or that kick-ass figure. It’s too good to be true, and when the gang takes control of Sadie’s Bend he publicly claims Melody for his own.

Can sweet Imogen become the sexy Melody of Axel’s dreams? Can Axel give his poster girl the love she craves? Or will the violence of this new, post-apocalyptic world tear them apart?

This dark romance novel contains mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

THE DOUBLEThe Double by Alison Brodie, romance, mystery, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

BadNovember Rain (Bad Bloods #1) by Shannon A. Thompson, sci-fi dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

Beneath BrokenBeneath Broken (Imperfect Heroes #2) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary, military romance, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: He’s a clean-cut cop who loves a good challenge.
She’s a smart executive with no interest in falling in love.
It won’t take long for the flames of desire to scorch them both, forcing them to either douse the blaze, or succumb to the fire.

MASON
I don’t give up easily. My personality and training taught me that failure is not an option, and getting the attention of the beautiful executive president Harper Mathis is going to be my biggest challenge yet. But first I’ve got to find out why she’s so withdrawn. A woman that stunning must have secrets and I’m going to find out what’s hiding behind those baby blue eyes of hers. She’ll quickly see how much I love a good game of chase.

HARPER
I’ve gone through hell and am not ashamed to admit that I’m broken. Damaged goods. Used up and empty. I want nothing to do with men or love, especially not a cop and a veteran – one who puts his life in danger every day. I’ve been there, done that, and my heart has no interest in someone like Detective Mason Oliver. Even if he’s the hottest thing I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. I get the feeling Mason always gets what he wants, though. Well, he hasn’t seen my stubborn side.

Beneath Broken is book 2 in the IMPERFECT HEROES series and is for readers 18+.

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxThe Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense, mystery, drama (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

All That We Are Holly J GillAll That We Are (Trust #1) by Holly J. Gill, contemporary erotic romantic suspense, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: Holly knows that sitting behind her computer isn’t going to bring one of her romance heroes to life. And despite her matchmaking friend’s attempts, she’s still lonely, looking for her Mr. Perfect. Fairytales happen, right?

As a bestselling author, Ashton Noir doesn’t need anyone or anything in his life other than his imagination. That is until he comes across Holly’s Promotional Services’ website. Further exposure for his books can’t hurt.

Communicating through the Internet and then phone calls, professional interests turn personal. Realising they lack trust and confidence in different ways, can they have a future as a couple? Or are their dreams forever going to be their safe haven?

CaughtCaught by Lolita London, historical, erotic romance, erotica (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: A Lonely Doctor

His treatment for female hysteria calms his patients, and heats Dr. Thomas Winterbourne’s blood like nothing else. Unwed, and desperately lonely, he’s rejected the idea of marriage due to his singular desires.

A Thief

Jenny Marks feels no pity for the wealthy doctor who has more comfort than she has ever found in her nineteen years. She takes a job as his maid, intending on taking anything of value from him and any other upper class people that she can.

Caught

When Dr. Winterbourne finds her pilfering his mother’s jewels, he decides upon punishing her in the most scandalous of manners, unknowingly tying their fate together.

Mean GirlsMean Girls by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Adele Blackthorne is a big girl. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better.

BiancaHow to Capture a Duke (Matchmaking for Wallflowers #1) by Bianca Blythe, regency historical romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: One reclusive bluestocking…

Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.

One dutiful duke…

Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.

One fallen tree…

When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…

TVThe Virgin of the Wind Rose (A Christopher Columbus Mystery – Thriller) by Glen Craney, mystery, thriller (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

TIOHThe Image of Her by Lorna Peel, romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Rachel Harris had been abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England, then later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?

Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task, until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.

Then anonymous and increasingly frightening incidents begin and threaten to end their relationship. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s abandonment?

*REVIEW* ~ The Virgin of the Wind Rose, by Glen Craney (A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller)

Mystery-Thriller

TV

Book Blurb

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

My Review

Mesmerising! ~ Five stars

Glen Craney’s novel The Virgin of the Wind Rose is a read to both savour and ponder. Its fast-paced and engaging plot, coupled with complex and sympathetic characters, immerses the reader in a modern day quest for ancient relics, involving secret societies and conspiracy theories. It also brings alive the world of ancient mariners and throws light on the identity of Christopher Columbus.

I enjoyed how it combines a contemporary narrative with key personalities and events from Fifteenth century Portugal and beyond. The search for an important relic comes to dominate the minds of the novel’s main contemporary characters, as those who would thwart their efforts will stop at nothing to prevent them reaching their goals. Indeed, they desire the relic to bolster purposes which can only be described as sinister.

Jaqueline Quartermane, supported by the mysterious Elymas, an antiquities thief with a conscience, become obsessed with solving the mystery of a word square, to comprehend its hidden meaning. Their quest leads them to sites throughout the world. As they grow ever closer together, they discover that a rival is also out to break the code and acquire ancient relics. This unknown and sinister mastermind desires to use the relics for their own ends, inflicting potential devastating effects on humanity and the world order. I enjoyed how Jaqueline worked alone and with Elymas, and what begins as friendship soon blossoms into romance. Yet will the couple survive the powerful forces that are out to thwart them?

In the book’s parallel narrative, in Fifteenth Century Portugal, we follow a group of young men, including Columbus, whose lives become dedicated to working for the Order of Christ, which works to protect ancient secrets. Their dedication puts them at odds with those who wish to usher in the Inquisition and the End of Days. Both the contemporary and Fifteenth century narratives are intense, full of action, mystery and suspense and a great deal of self sacrifice. Its broad canvass references islamic terrorism, religious oppression, the pursuit of power and individual aggrandisement.

It was evident that the author has done a great deal of detailed research to give a true flavour of historical authenticity to the plot. I knew little of Henry the Navigator or Queen Isabella before reading this book and although it is fiction, I feel that it has shed much light onto a fascinating period of world history. I enjoyed how it linked societies such as the Knights Templar and the Masons and explored ancient mysteries. The references to shipbuilding, navigation and naval exploration were also fascinating.

To conclude, The Virgin of the Wind Rose, recounted by a master storyteller, is a thoroughly thought-provoking read, highlighting lessons and messages from the past which resonate in today’s fractured world. Recommended for lovers of thrillers, especially those that draw on ancient and esoteric mysteries.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

http://glencraney.com/

http://historyintofiction.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GlenCraneyAuthor

**REVIEW** The Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax

The Scottish Diamond is a contemporary, romantic suspense novella by Helena Fairfax, which follows on from Palace of Deception. However, both books can be read as stand-alones. With a little more darkness and mystery in The Scottish Diamond, we find Elizabeth and Léon in Edinburgh as Elizabeth’s life returns to the norm, after having to impersonate to be the royal Princess Charlotte in Montverrier (Palace of Deception), albeit with her bodyguard in tow!

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxTitle: The Scottish Diamond

Author: Helena Fairfax

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery

Release date: March 12, 2016

Length: 104 pages

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK & Amazon US

Review ***** (5* rating)

Although a romantic suspense, Helena Fairfax takes us on a darker mystery than we are used to with The Scottish Diamond novella. Now back in Edinburgh with Léon, her former bodyguard, Lizzie’s life has to return to her normal routine with working with her theatre production company, rehearsing and preparing for term time when the schools open up after their summer break. And, what a huge difference it is being back after spending the summer impersonating and covering for the Royal Princess Charlotte of Montverrier, with the beautiful scenery and a suspenseful meeting of her bodyguard in Palace of Deception!

Lizzie notices Léon’s faraway looks as he stares from her bedroom window, not to mention the intensity he radiates. Wild thoughts go through her mind about whether he will enjoy being in Edinburgh, or whether he even loves her enough to stay. To make matters worse, the play she is to rehearse for is the dreaded MacBeth. Isn’t it just a whole load of bad luck, especially to those performing it?

The superstitions worsen as Lizzie overhears suited men speak in the language of Montverrier, possibly mentioning Léon’s name. Is she being paranoid? Meanwhile, Léon is struggling to find work and failing at interviews. Everything seems bleak and solemn. The mood of The Scottish Diamond is in complete contrast to Palace of Deception in terms of the setting, the emotional closeness of Lizzie and Léon, and where Palace of Deception focussed on uniting the two main characters and their success, in The Scottish Diamond there seems to be something between them. The reader fears that they will be pushed apart, and feels the negativity that is swamping Lizzie.

“… the truth is I was frightened of discovering the truth – that he bitterly regretted coming to Edinbugh and he didn’t love me enough to want to stay. During the day there was a thin sheet of glass between us, keeping us apart. At night, though, it was different. Our barriers melted – but even then, there was an intensity to Léon’s love-making that was new, as though each time were going to be our last.”

For a brief moment, this feeling lifts when Léon finds work. Strangely, after having a conversation with some fellow Montverrians he is given the chance to protect The Scottish Diamond. With the diamond about to be exhibited, the previous guard gone missing, and Montverrians that appear to be following Léon, what will become of the diamond? And, what will become of Lizzie and Léon as they get tangled up in the whole fiasco?

Regardless of the fears and mystery that the story holds, one of the enjoyable aspects is knowing that it’s very handy (and HOT), having a bodyguard in Léon around. And, I love his protectiveness of Lizzie; his masculinity ready and waiting for any threat. At the same time, he also allows Lizzie to be independent with her work and doesn’t suffocate her.

Told in first person from Lizzie’s point of view, the reader shares exactly the same worries as Lizzie; the main hope throughout is that they both come out alive, and together! However, there are twists and ordeals to get through which will keep you turning the pages, desperate to find the outcome.

Suspenseful from the beginning, and increasingly as the story unfolds, you’ll love this short adventure that can be read as a stand-alone, or following on from Palace of Deception. It is a story to be read until the very end to be appreciated fully.

A copy of The Scottish Diamond was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out our review of Palace of Deception (which also includes an interview with the author), along with reviews of Helena’s previous books below:-

PALACE OF DECEPTION – review and author interview

The Silk Romance – Tina’s review

The Silk Romance – Caroline’s review

The Antique Love

A Way From Heart to Heart

**REVIEW** The Double by Alison Brodie

It was a great pleasure to be approached by author, Alison Brodie, and be asked to read The Double. I am so very glad that she did. It’s an amazing adventure; a great book to read if you’re planning a holiday or even basking in the sunshine in your garden. Get ready for the most relaxing adventure you’ll experience!

“The luxury of living a lie.”

 

THE DOUBLE

Title: The Double

Author: Alison Brodie

Genre: Women’s fiction, mystery, romance, chick-lit

Date released: January 19th, 2016

Length: 294 pages

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

Buy Links: Amazon UK & Amazon US

REVIEW ***** (5 star rating)

Alison Brodie’s The Double has it all; from diva Sonita, the rock star, being stalked and threatened, to a gritty, realistic housing estate in Glasgow where nurse Beth is trying to make sense of her life, right through to a kidnapping followed by a luxurious adventure on a billionaire’s yacht on the Côte d’Azur. Meanwhile, Aleksandr, the captain, has had to deal with the effects of a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and is now fighting to save many children suffering with tuberculosis as medical supplies cannot reach them and warfare is threatening their makeshift hospital site. Yes, if you’re looking for a little drama and mystery in a well-constructed romance story this is perfect for you!

The opening chapter sparks the interest of the reader immediately as we find a seemingly dark character acting secretly and wants Sonita La Cruz dead! This is a dark start for a fun, romance novel, but it captures a sense of fear and suspense from the offset, making the curious reader need to find out what becomes of both parties.

Although written in third person, the reader has an in-depth take on each main character as whole chapters are focussed on one at a time, as we discover their current situations as well as their background. My favourite character has to be Beth, partly for wanting the escape that she is able to have from her average life, and partly as she is the one that takes many risks throughout the story.

Beth is at the point in her life where, even though a mum, she is still young. Her kids are independents now, and aside from her nursing job, all  she has is a selfish man in Andy, and a shabby tower-block flat. Once the initial kidnapping is realised, Beth begins to come round to the idea, choosing to go along with it. I mean, after all, when does she ever feel free; free from routine, free from work, free from Glasgow, free from Andy and his controlling ways. Surely she deserves some luxury and freedom at last. Why not pose as beautiful superstar Sonita La Cruz? Beth begins to think that maybe her dreams could come true, and she doesn’t have to feel so trapped in her life. She adapts quickly and learns how to relax, to enjoy life, rather than stressing about her work, Andy, money, etc.

“This was so different to sunbathing at home. There, she had a tiny balcony, just about big enough for four plastic stools, a bike repair box and a scrawny plant….. In the summer, between five and six in the evening, the sun would touch one corner of the balcony – high up. Desperate for sunshine, she’d stand in her knickers and bra, one foot on a stool, one foot on the railings, her hand holding onto the washing line for support….

… Now, instead of teetering on the edge of a council block in saggy grey knickers, she lay on a cushioned sun-lounger alongside a luxurious pool, on a gorgeous yacht with a champagne re-fuelling depot nearby and an army of uniformed stewards, out of sight, but close at hand, ready to be summoned by the tinkling of a little bell.” (Beth)

That said, it is also clear that Sonita La Cruz is also looking for an escapism. Although a rock star, she is not recording the style of music she favours, she is very much subjected to media attention constantly, and her real feelings lie with being charitable to those, especially children, in need – something that her partner ignores. During the course of the story, ignorant of Beth’s situation, Sonita tries to find a relaxing moment herself, as she keeps her head down low from any threat, and her busy lifestyle.

It is a certain read in particular for the summer and holiday season. And, one of the most exciting and fascinating parts of the story were, for me, the way in which it provides a largely relaxing read despite the dark drama/mystery that lies beneath the surface. I just loved imagining myself to be in Beth’s shoes sunbathing on a luxurious yacht on the Med, blue skies, blue sea, with fine dining and clothes, etc, and not worrying too much about the consequences until I’d have to.

The icing on the cake is the knowledge that Beth is quite aware, certainly as the story progresses, that it is all in the name of charity; in being able to hopefully provide many children with the treatment that they need, during an absolutely crucial time when no one else can! Mix that in with a chance of romance and it is perfect. But will Beth realise where her heart is really at before it’s too late?

If you’d like a book to transport you on a relaxing holiday, with fun, drama and romance The Double is just the one!

A copy of The Double was provided by Alison Brodie in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also check out Alison Brodie’s author bio, along with an excerpt of The Double here.

Review Round-Up, April & May ’16

Hi readers, it has been a while since our last Review Round Up. Life certainly seems busy at the moment, and a little chaotic. With Britain’s EU referendum resulting in an ‘out’ vote, the government in turmoil with no real plan, and the weather just as changeable, I am sure many of us are looking for ways to keep calm and focus on other interests.

Tina has been working extremely hard with the Tamworth Litfest group, ensuring the smooth run of the Romancing the Word event, as well as setting up many author events over the next year. As a visitor to Romancing the Word, I have to say that it was a magical day for all – authors and visitors. It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Helena Fairfax, Pat Spence, J.A. Heron, Julia Ibbotson, S.J. Warner, and many, many more.

Meanwhile, I have taken some time away from the blog to build on the foundations of my family’s move to Scarborough. I have been volunteering at a local school, helping with reading, and joined a local Zumba class. Walking along the fantastic coastline and through beautiful parks and forests have also taken up weekends as we familiarise ourselves with this very beautiful corner of England. Another pastime has easily been taking my time as I have enjoyed photographing many a stunning view, and now with a new camera I am hoping to pursue this more too. And then, there is the Euro 2016 football tournament that I have been watching obsessively, as well as trying to fit in episodes of Outlander, Preacher, Outcast and Vikings!

Aside from this, we have our number 1 passion of reading some fantastic reads. Below you will find twelve reads from April and May that we have reviewed for you. From crime fiction, paranormal horrors and psychological thrillers to regency romance and erotic romance we hope, as always, that there is a little something for everyone. (Please click on the book titles for more book info and our full reviews.)

And please remember, whatever the weather, whatever the chaos find time to do a little of something you enjoy 🙂

Caroline & Tina ❤

Find us on Facebook and Twitter @areadersreviewb

bloqBloq by Alan Jones, crime fiction, thriller, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

This is a gritty crime novel with some sexual content.

Cheri ChampagneLove’s Misadventure (Mason Siblings #1) by Cheri Champagne, historical regency romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Miss Annabel Bradley refuses to accept life as a spinster. Her many years of pouring greedily over gothic novels has put her head in the clouds; dreaming and hoping for the love she reads about. She has always held a tendre for her best friend, Lane Mason, seventh Earl of Devon, but she does not want to jeopardize their friendship by telling him about those indecent dreams of hers. Anna, therefore, makes a life-changing decision; she is going to accept the proposal of the next suitor to ask!

Lane Mason is an average aristocrat; absorbed in life in general, and content with his status in society. Amid a frequently occurring moment of self-loathing, Lane shockingly discovers his feelings for Anna. Now armed with the awareness of his love for Anna, Lane decides to perpetrate a devilishly clever scheme. He will pay actors to abduct the two of them in order to give Anna an adventure like the ones she reads in her treasured books.

Lane’s plans go awry, however, when they are kidnapped in truth.

Mother coverMother by Alistair Cross & Tamara Thorne, psychological thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

The Con ArtistThe Con Artist by Kitty Thomas, dark literacy erotica (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Art. Obsession. Twisted possession.

When starving artist Saskia Roth meets Lachlan Niche, a local art collector and tech tycoon, she has no idea how her life is about to change. One act of desperation, one con gone wrong, and she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful man she fears and despises–or so she thinks at first. As lines begin to blur, her life as his captive becomes something more… something that will both transform her and destroy her.

Demon Kassidy Bell 3Demon (Kassidy Bell #3) by Lynda O’Rourke, paranormal horror, psychological thriller (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: After escaping the Bishop’s house with Ben Fletcher, Kassidy soon learns that there’s more to Ben than the eye can see.

Still running from the demons and police, her journey takes her north in a frantic pursuit to find Doctor Langstone, in the hope that Kassidy and her friends can remove the ever-spreading drug – VA20.

But will Kassidy get there before it takes over her mind and body, before she is snatched back to Cruor Pharma? Can she really make it, now that the demon, Doshia, seems to be travelling amongst her and her friends?

Vampires of Maze 3Vampires of Maze (Part 3) (Beautiful Immortals series 2) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal mystery thriller (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From Tim O’Rourke #1 bestselling author of ‘Werewolves of Shade’ (Beautiful Immortals Series One) comes ‘Vampires of Maze’ (Beautiful Immortals Series Two) a vampire and werewolf romance with a twist.

Witch, Julia Miller, has been sent by the Wicce to bring an end to the war that rages between the Beautiful Immortals. Joining a pack of werewolves, Julia must travel with them to a land unknown to her. Here she will learn the horrifying truth about the dark secrets hidden in the town of Maze.

To stay alive, Julia will not only have to figure out who to trust but also who to love. For Julia’s worst nightmares are about to get a whole lot more terrifying as she heads into the war raging between the vampires and werewolves where even her own magic abilities won’t be able to protect her.

LabyrinthA Labyrinth of Love and Roses (Touchstone #4) by Beth Barany, contemporary fantasy romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: From award-winning novelist, Beth Barany, comes another magical tale of romance and adventure — a sweet, Hallmark-like tale.

What if what you wanted got in the way of your destiny?

French MBA grad Lili Grenault needs to succeed at her last pitch meeting to fund her international green tech business. But her grandmother tells her to drop everything, find her one true love, and embrace her magical legacy by Beltane, in one week, or chaos and failure in her life will ensue.

San Francisco investor Brett Barnaby wants to find his great-grandfather’s gravesite in Amiens, France, one of the primary battle sites of World War I. Family legend says that purpose, greater mission, and perhaps even untold riches, will be unlocked when he finds that grave. But his search in Amiens brings up fear, anger, and dire warnings about some wild Green Man. He turns to local Lily Grenault for help.

Can these two independent freethinkers work together to prevent chaos from triumphing and find love in time in the labyrinth of roses?

Pieces Like PotteryPieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri, contemporary fiction, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

One Night in BudapestOne Night in Budapest (novella) by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Hermione’s in Budapest on a romantic weekend break. Or at least it should have been romantic—an unexpected break-up means she’s visiting the Hungarian capital alone. Determined to make the most of it, she goes on a night-time river cruise, the perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s beautiful sights after dark.

On the boat, cute Budapest native, Emil, serves her cocktails. They chat a little on the journey, engage in some banter, and when Emil asks Hermione out for dinner, she’s seriously tempted. But she’s a long way from home, by herself—is dinner with a complete stranger a good idea? Hermione decides to take a chance, and what follows is an unforgettable night which will transform her life forever.

Rebel warriorRebel Warrior (Medieval Warriors #3) by Regan Walker, historical medieval romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

His PrizeHis Prize (The Cleaners #1) by Doris O’Connor, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: It’s the choice of her life—submit or die.

When Susie Elliot stumbles into the middle of a clean-up, undertaken by none other than Ellis Reynolds, she expects her life to be over. No one disturbs this ruthlessly efficient killer and lives to tell the tale.

The man they call Ren has no time for tender feelings, but there is something about the curvaceous redhead that calls to him. Rather than killing her he claims her as his prize. One night should be more than enough time to get her out of his system. However, Susie’s submission means Ren has to confront emotions, completely alien to him. Killing is easy. This relationship thing is fraught with problems.

When his criminal activities catch up with him, loyalties are tested to the max, and Susie has another choice to make—walk away, or stay and accept the darkness within.

In His CornerIn His Corner by Vino Arno, contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb:

WORK OUT

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild work-out…

KNOCK OUT

Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stiches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…