*RELEASE BLITZ & EXCERPT* ~ Come Hell or High Water (Water Trilogy #3)

Author: Britney King

Title: Come Hell or High Water

Series: Water Trilogy #3

Release Date: April 19, 2017

Synopsis:

“I’ve been studying her for weeks. I know how she takes her coffee, the color she prefers on her nails, the way her mouth moves when she sleeps. I don’t know what she looks like when she’s happy. But I will.”

When Cheryl Steinbeck-Edwards makes the decision to get in a car with a potential contractor, meticulous hitman Jude Riley and his lovely wife Kate, it appears to be the perfect partnership. Turns out, nothing is perfect, and getting in that car was a poor choice, to say the least.

When Kate decides not to kill the woman, as she and her husband agreed, a series of events, some might even call it karma, conspire to turn their worst fears turn into reality.

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2nXQ8bM

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/2oDej1Y

Kobo – http://bit.ly/2nEgptX

iBooks – http://apple.co/2oDiAT3

Excerpt:

I’ve been studying her for months. I know how she takes her coffee, the color she prefers on her nails, the way her mouth moves when she sleeps. I don’t know what she looks like when she’s happy. But I will.

That’s not to say I meant to keep her this long. And, of course, you, well you, never intended to keep her at all. But then, what’s done is done.

“I want you to be happy here,” I told her the first week she was here, not long after we let the drugs wear off completely.

“I don’t see how that’s possible,” she said.

“Tell me what makes you happy.”

I could see her thinking about my question; I could see that I’d set something into motion. It wasn’t immediate—most things that are truly great rarely are, but eventually her lips turned upward. Slowly, she broke out into a full-on smile, and it was like the sun coming out on a cloudy day. “He makes me happy.”

“Your husband,” I said. It wasn’t a question. Mostly because it hadn’t occurred to me that it should be.

She laughed just slightly. The smile remained. “Something like that

“I see,” I told her, raising my brow.

She looked at me then, really looked at me. The smile faded but her eyes lit up. “Not yet, you don’t,” she said. “But you will.”

Trailer:  

Direct Link

Author Info: 

Britney King writes modern love stories for mature audiences. She also enjoys suspense and often finds her sweet spot penning a good mixture of the two. Britney is the author of eight novels and is currently at work on number nine. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat and a partridge in a pear tree.

Facebook – http://bit.ly/1Mwe1LG

Twitter – http://bit.ly/2ell0jN

Website – http://bit.ly/2iw8hcp

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2exNnIR

 

*REVIEW* ~ Dark Fragments, by Rob Sinclair

#psychological #crime #thriller

dark-fragments

Book Blurb

Dark Fragments: an edge of your seat thriller from the best-selling author of The Enemy Series

Murder. Money. Revenge.

Outwardly, Ben Stephens appears to be a normal, hard-working family man. In reality, his life has been in turmoil since the murder of his wife, Alice, seven years ago. The killer was never caught.

Now re-married – to the woman he was having an affair with while still married to Alice – Ben’s life is once again spiralling out of control, and he’s become heavily indebted to an unscrupulous criminal who is baying for Ben’s blood.

When Ben’s estranged twin sister, a police detective, unexpectedly returns to his life, asking too many questions for comfort, it becomes clear that without action, Ben’s life will soon reach a crisis point from which there will be no return.

In order to avoid falling further into the mire, Ben must examine the past if he is to survive the present – but just how much pressure can one man take before he breaks?

Dark Fragments is a fast-paced thriller with a blend of mystery, suspense and action that will appeal to readers of psychological thrillers, as well as a broad section of crime, thriller and action fans. If you like authors like Mark Edwards, Robert Bryndza and C.L. Taylor you will love this unforgettable thriller.

#psychological #thriller #crime #action

My Review ~ 5 stars

Addictive and Action Packed!

This is a fast-paced psychological crime thriller that sucked me in and left me gob-smacked with its unexpected dénouement. It’s the second book that I’ve read by the author, the first being Hunt for the Enemy (click on the title for my review). Once more it contains a flawlessly constructed and suspenseful plot that kept me guessing throughout.

Ben appears to be just your average hardworking guy with a wife and young family. Yet we soon find out that his first wife Alice was brutally murdered seven years previously, an episode that preys on Ben’s mind, particularly as the murderer has not been found. Ben’s marriage to Gemma, the woman with whom he was having an affair with when Alice was murdered, is far from rosy and his job is in the doldrums. Crucially the reappearance of Callum O’Grady, a crime lord to whom he turned to after Alice’s murder, puts Ben on the defensive and in fear of his safety and that of his family. At the same time Dani, his estranged twin sister, a detective inspector, walks back into his life.

It soon becomes clear that her reappearance is not a coincidence and Ben struggles to cope with current and past events, all of which shape his actions. He is under unimaginable pressure and despite his best intentions his life very quickly spirals out of control until he reaches his breaking point which has implications for all around him.

Once I started to read the novel I was hooked, not only due to the unfolding plot but also to the way it is written. The story is told in short punchy chapters, narrated in the first person point of view, by the protagonist Ben Stephens. Some chapters are written as the main events unfold and others retrospectively, as Ben is encouraged to reflect on what has happened, with a person whose identity we can only guess at.  This has the effect of creating a suspenseful read, not only allowing us into Ben’s thought processes, but often foreshadowing events and putting a different perspective on what we have just witnessed.

There are some violent and disturbing scenes in the book but they are integral to the plot. I found myself at first rooting for and then cringing at Ben’s actions in response to events as the tale unfolded.

I will not reveal any more. It is enough to say that I hugely enjoyed this read. The characterisations, particularly that of the volatile Ben, are superb and the plot clever and suspenseful. It left me wondering to what extent we are all victims of fate or whether we ultimately have control over events.

Recommended for fans of crime thrillers, particularly those who like a psychological read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book 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://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Sinclair-746087495413628/

https://twitter.com/RSinclairAuthor

 

 

 

 

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…

**Author Interviews** ~ Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Regular readers of this blog know that Caroline, my BFF and co-blogger, and I love to read a variety of genres. Both of us have a penchant for dark and psychological reads. Since reading The Ghosts of Ravencrest (an erotic Gothic horror par excellence), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross I have become a HUGE fan of their work.

Either writing alone or in partnership their work includes the paranormal, horror and dark, psychological thrillers such as their current collaboration Mother. Their writing, which can be downright S-C-A-R-Y, is often shocking and infused with dark humour, but is always a rollicking good read  and I love the devilish plot twists these authors inflict on their readers!

I was delighted at the chance of interviewing this writing duo and I hope that you find their candid responses to my questions as fascinating as I did. Tina ❤

Mother cover

1. Can you share with our readers a little about yourselves and your writing careers?

Tamara and Alistair both began writing around age eight  – both loved ghost stories most of all – and both wanted to be writers when they grew up. Tamara has been in print since 1991 and Alistair since 2012.

2. I understand that you have been collaborating since 2012, and have written, amongst other works, The Cliffhouse Haunting and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest Saga. How did you begin working together and what special elements do you each think the other brings to the partnership that distinguishes the works of Thorne and Cross?

Alistair became a fan of Tamara’s work in the 90s, and when social media sites like Facebook came along and made it easy to connect to others, he looked her up. Having just been published for the first time, Alistair was doing author interviews on his blog as a way of meeting other writers. Tamara was one of the first people he asked. We became fast friends and were brainstorming ideas for new books before we’d even conceived of the idea to officially write together. It flowed very naturally – it was simply meant to be. We soon found that our writing style – as well as our personal and professional ethics – was so remarkably similar that continuing on the path together was simply the instinctual thing to do. Alistair brings an intense work ethic to our virtual office while Tamara brings jolly good fun. We need each other for balance. And hard work. And fun

3. Why do you think there is such an appetite for horror and psychological thrillers amongst readers? TamaraWhat is it within the human psyche that craves such stories?

People crave (safe) danger. Danger fascinates us, but things like scary movies, horror novels, and roller coasters are a way of facing our fears without risking our lives. These things force us to explore those uncharted parts of ourselves which can teach us proper response in the face of real danger. It’s a survival mechanism. Avoidance of fear is fatal, and the human psyche understands this. Thus, it draws us toward the things that frighten us. Plus, scary books are just awesome. 

4. The flipside of this – why do you both enjoy writing in these genres?

Horror is a release from the everyday. Neither of us watches the news – real horror is too depressing. But fictional horror and suspense provides a rush akin to amusement park thrill rides. Fiction, by its very nature is escapist and, to us, there’s nothing better than a toe-curler to escape reality for a little while. We are especially partial to suspense and supernatural horror because ghosts, vampires, and assorted elementals are literary equivalents to a carnival where we can find lots of thrills and chills. In Mother, our heroine, Claire, starts with a turn on the merry-go-round, then soon ends up on a scary roller coaster and finally enters the dark ride, which is too frightening to be fun for her.

5. You must have both been asked this question in many forms before – but do you base any elements of your characters on anyone you know or are they purely fuelled by your imaginations?

AlistairEvery character is imaginary; it would be no fun for us to plunk down living people in our books! That said, we are the products of our lives and experiences. Everything around us, from sights, sounds, and tastes, to hoarders, psychopaths and ghosts are inspired by lifetimes of observation and experience.

  1. 6. Would you both like to tell us something about your latest release, Mother?

Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young, expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

7.  Did you have to carry out any research into the issues explored in Mother, before writing the novel?

All books require research. Mother’s research was relatively easy compared to other books. It consisted primarily of a brush-up on sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. We also researched topics like hoarding, epilepsy, flight schools, Catholic funerals, and ugly furniture from the 1970s and 80s. When we write books that include science or a good deal real history that must be woven into our fictional characters’ lives, as in our Ravencrest novels, the research is far more intensive. All fiction must have its roots in reality to keep it believable.

8.  I am delighted to learn that you host a horror themed internet radio show, Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE! What have been some of your favourite moments on the show to date?

There have been many great moments. We loved hearing The Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga tell us his thoughts on why zombies are so popular, and Charlaine Harris’ stories about about being recognized in public were hilarious. We were laughing out loud when Christopher Rice told us what it was like for him to read his mom’s (Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty series. Chet Williamson’s reading from his novel Psycho: Sanitarium gave us chills. Chatting about twisted family dynamics with Andrew Neiderman, who also authors the V.C. Andrews book series, was fascinating, and talking with Laurell K. Hamilton about vampires was a lot of fun. Those are just a few of our favorite moments. 

Mother teaser

9. Are there any collaborative projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

As always, we’re working on the continuing Ravencrest Saga and have just released the second serialized installment titled, Dead of the Night. We are also working on a sequel to Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which also serves as a continuation of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. The Darling family of Candle Bay made appearances in Corset and that set the course for Candle Bay II – we decided we had to get our vamps together in a serious way. As soon as Candle Bay’s sequel is complete, we will begin work on the second book in our Trilogy of Terror. Mother was the first. The second is unrelated to Mother as far as characters are concerned, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Father Andy show up, assuming we set the next book in Snapdragon, where Mother takes place. The Trilogy of Terror is made up of three psychological suspense novels that are more about human monsters than supernatural ones. On the side, we’re also both knee-deep in a pair of solo novels.

10. Have you a message to readers, or to writers who are thinking of branching out into penning horror/psychological thrillers?

We always say that the most important thing is to write what you love. If you love what you’ve written, others will too. Also, writing requires dedication and discipline. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to write, but if you want to be a serious writer, you have to create time.

 

**REVIEW** DEMON (Kassidy Bell #3) by Lynda O’Rourke

Lynda O’Rourke’s début series, Kassidy Bell, is one of the most thrilling experiences you’ll have, if you can cope with psychological, paranormal horrors! I am ecstatic to discover that although originally planned as a trilogy, there are now going to be more books! Lynda has a special talent, for this genre in particular, to be able to darken real life situations and stretch them into a great fantasy as admitted in a recent interview. She is most certainly an author on the top of my list!

“…. I….feel like I’m in a bad dream…. like I’ve stepped out of reality and into hell.” (Drug, book 1)

Demon Kassidy Bell 3Title: Demon (Kassidy Bell #3)

Author: Lynda O’Rourke

Genre: Psychological thriller, horror

Date released: February 24th, 2016

Released by: Ravenwoodgreys

Length: 170 pages

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?

“Demon” – Book 3 in the #1 bestselling paranormal thriller series, by Lynda O’Rourke.

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Review ***** (5* rating)

Demon is the third instalment of the Kassidy Bell series, following Drug and Dwell. What begun as a small group of young, healthy volunteers taking part in a drugs test (VA20) has now become a full-on psychological and paranormal adventure of terror and horror; as the survivors of the group try to head towards the sister company of Cruor Pharma they hope they will meet with Dr. Langstone, a demon himself but one who chose to leave the original experiment due to differences of opinion.

The group hope that he may have the answer to prevent the VA20 from coursing through their veins and from them turning into demons themselves!  In the meantime they are being chased by the police, demons and ‘cleaners’ who are quite excited to take over their body, and it’s also possible that demon ‘Doshia’ is possibly travelling amongst them too. But which one of them, if any, has Doshia been lurking in?

Placing doubts in Kassidy’s mind, Raven shares her suspicions with Kassidy in regard to Max and Jude. But, Doshia can’t be in both. I find Raven to be quite irritating and constantly on Kassidy’s back, pointing out everything she finds odd with Jude or Max. This makes you wonder if she is in fact Doshia and trying to throw Kassidy off the scent. However, she could also have a point due to the behaviour of the others at times. I love the to-ing and fro-ing to keep the reader on their toes.

Despite Dr. Ben Fletcher having the demon Quint within him, both seem to be protective of Kassidy, even if she fears him at times. The electricity between these two characters is powerful, and I can’t help but be attracted to Ben, just as Kassidy is, regardless of his attentions! However, Kassidy’s friends are quite peeved when she defends him a little. From their point of view he has a demon inside of him, and he was the one to inject them with VA20! Why Kassidy listens to him they don’t know and this causes tensions between the group.

I feel the author displays a great deal of empathy towards Ben from Kassidy’s point of view, despite how the other characters feel about him. This not only makes you feel more kindly towards him and understand what he lives with on a daily basis, with Quint always ready to burst out and take over, but it also shows how considerate and thoughtful Kassidy is by recognising this.

It is this side to Kassidy which helps her try to reason with Quint early on in the story. When Quint takes over Ben and threatens Jude and Max quite strongly, Kassidy manages to talk him down when asking him to let go of them. I love the fact that Kassidy has this tiny hold over Quint, even if just in this instance. It shows the ability that Quint has to listen to her. This particular scene reminded me of John Connor talking down the ‘good’ terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day when the terminator tries to kill a couple of big, innocent guys that were just checking if John is okay after being grabbed by the terminator. John is able to order the terminator to leave them alone and he miraculously listens to John. Here, we find demon Quint listen to Kassidy. But, will this happen moreso as Kassidy gets closer to him/Ben, or is it a one-time occurrence?

This exciting, thrilling read will barely give you time to catch your breath as you find yourself in a very fast-paced read that is electrifying at every turn, whether it be the thrill of the chase or the powerful, intensifying moments between Kassidy and Dr. Ben Fletcher/Demon Quint.

Demon is great into picking up where we left off in Dwell (book 2) and reminding readers where Kassidy is at and what she has been through. Due to the author’s clarity, great description and some of the dialog it is clear what is happening with the story. That said, if you really want to feel every little bit of what Kassidy and the gang have gone through I would strongly recommend that you read Drug and Dwell too.

Demon is chilling to the bone – a raw blend of gritty horror and gore. All the strong feelings that make you feel alive are present within the first two chapters alone! You’re heart will be racing and you’ll put anything else off in order to finish the book. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it will leave you craving for the next adventure. An unforgettable experience!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**ARC REVIEW** ~ Mother, by Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne

Psychological Thriller

Mother

Book 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.”

My Review (Five stars *****)

Dark and Enthralling

Mother is a superbly crafted and enthralling psychological thriller which has emerged from the writing partnership of Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. For me, the novel has strong echoes of David Lynch and Stephen King: there are a myriad of secrets and dark deeds which go on behind the immediate visual landscape, complemented by a host of quirky yet intense characterisations and a devilishly twisted plot. The read also contains some very dark humour.

The words sociopath, narcissist and even monster fail to adequately describe Prissy Martin, the ‘Mother’ of the title. She is one evil package of destructive, controlling, self-serving and remorseless desires who will let no one get in her way. Indeed, this monster’s tentacles reach far and wide…..

It is into this that Claire, her estranged daughter, pregnant with her first child, reluctantly returns, accompanied by her husband Jason, the couple having fallen on hard times. Surely Mother is not as bad as Claire’s memories indicate? Indeed, at first Prissy appears to do all she can to make them feel welcome, but it is not long before they too become prey to her nefarious designs and her need to control all around her. Their marriage, health and Claire’s sanity is soon under threat as Mother reverts to form.

Mother has her own special plans (exactly what we are not made privy to until the novel reaches its conclusion) and will not be thwarted….. Family secrets, lies and the past intertwine to create a read where, with each turn of the page, my heart beat ever faster as the evil intent reveals itself as we approach the novel’s shocking denouement. Madness threatens to consume Claire and her mother Prissy and it is uncertain who will be the victor.

The novel contains some truly superb characterisations, not just Prissy herself but also the unfortunate Claire, the unsuspecting Jason, Barb, Prissy’s long-suffering neighbour and friend and Fathers Pike and Flanagan, the current and former local priests. The residents of Morning Glory Circle each have their own secrets and there are many surprises in store as they are slowly revealed.

I was open mouthed as the plot unfolded. This deeply psychological novel contains truly appalling revelations, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an unforgettable and heart stopping read that explores the depths of human depravity then this is the book for you. An unforgettable read by a writing duo that are at he top of their game.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Connect with the Authors

http://www.tamarathorne.com/

http://alistaircross.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29866355-mother

How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it, by Rob Watkins (Author Interview and Review)

Author Interview

Where I dig deep into the mind of Rob Watkins, author of How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it!

Genre: Revenge Thriller

Rob Watkins has recently published his first novel, How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and get away with it. I recently interviewed Rob in person and quizzed him on its publication, his writing and his future projects. A synopsis of the book and a review follows the interview. We wish Rob every success with the publication of this, his first novel. 🙂

rob watkinsThe title of this book really intrigued me from the off as did the synopsis as I am partial to tales where the underdog fights back and triumphs.  I invited Rob to tell us about himself and what prompted him to write it. Rob explained that although he has worked in many different roles throughout his working life – his current occupation is that of a painter and decorator, not once did he envisage that he would write a novel!

It is clear that the inspiration and compulsion for How to Kill a Minority Shareholder and Get Away with it was very much a personal one. Rob acknowledges that the first third of the story flowed from his experiences of witnessing someone very close to him suffer the crushing blow of having their successful career brought to an abrupt end, due to what he describes as the deliberate and questionable actions of others

The novel’s main themes are pretty dark: greed, jealousy, bullying, mental cruelty, violence and revenge, reflecting human nature at its worst. When questioned further about these themes, Rob stated that he finds it difficult to comprehend how the legal system can do little to protect employees subjected to situations such as those experienced by Deb, the heroine of his novel. He stressed how he wanted the book to serve as a warning to those in the corporate world, so that they take any necessary steps to prevent a similar event befalling them.

Although the issues raised in the novel are serious ones, there is a great deal of humour peppered throughout, much of it dark. Rob stated that the final two thirds of the book, where the hero Bob begins to contemplate and exact his revenge upon his wife’s persecutors, allowed him more scope to introduce humour into the narrative. One of my personal favourites is the passage where Bob dreams of exterminating his wife’s persecutors, in bloody technicolour glory! It comes at the point when I believed that those who destroyed the professional reputation and the life of Bob’s wife deserved to meet a grisly end! Rob underlined how he enjoyed injecting humorous elements into his novel, believing it important to lighten the mood for the reader. The passage in the novel where Bob attempts (with comical consequences) to secure the pontoons in the Venice canal so that his victim is forced out of his water taxi and onto dry land was one of Rob’s favourite passages.

Rob maintained that he endeavoured to illustrate to the reader how and why Bob was spurred on by a desire to avenge the wrongs that had been done to his wife. Before reaching this point Bob had tried to seek assistance from every avenue available to man or woman; personal entreaties; legal assistance and media coverage, but to no avail. Indeed, events soon spiral out of control and lead him deeper and deeper into darker actions and questionable moral behaviour. Rob stated that he was inspired by some of the scenes portrayed by the character William Foster played by Michael Douglas in the 1990’s film Falling Down. I remember this film well and think that he succeeded in doing this perfectly.  Throughout the novel I was constantly torn by the question of whether I believed Bob to be the hero or the villain of the piece! I will not say which side of the fence I opted for – you will need to read Rob’s work and navigate the moral dilemma it presents for yourself!

The metamorphosis that Bob goes through, from supportive husband to master avenger fascinated me and I was particularly interested in how adept Bob became at planning and executing the technical aspects of his ‘hits.’ Rob stressed that he tried to inject realism into his work, especially with regards to the systematic and ordered way Bob eliminated those who had wronged his wife. Rob explained that his penchant for crime thrillers helped to fire his imagination, particularly when it came to ensuring that Bob’s activities left no traceable clues for forensics to link him with a particular crime scene.

As much of the book was autobiographical Rob stated that he rarely experienced writer’s block. The challenge was not writing too much rather than too little. Rob reported that once he had the rough outline worked out, the main task was to weave the various elements of the narrative together, to create a book that offered an enjoyable reading experience but at the same time conveyed Rob’s message about how those in the corporate world should take care not to fall prey to the jealousy and greed of others.

Rob makes us look at our own friends and acquaintances and begs the question “how much would it take for the people you know and trust, and class as best friends, to betray and denounce you to get a share of the pie or increase the size of their slice?” Even when they know the “pie” is only there thanks to you? The answer, and how small the amount might be, may make you look at your closest friends and people around you in a new slightly sinister light and will shock even the most cynical of readers.

The book is Rob’s first published novel, taking four years to write, and I asked him if he had any experience of creative writing prior to penning it. Surprisingly, given the literary quality of the work, Rob stated that he had no prior experience, although he conceded that he has always been artistic, having attended art college in his youth. Although the characters per se are purely fictional, they nevertheless reflect Rob’s own experiences of a lifetime of people watching! Rob is particularly well traveled, often to places off the main tourist map and writes with authority about a number of these far flung places in the novel. Thailand in particular features heavily, and it is there where he met a number of acquaintances who inspired many of the characters in the book, including the Lady Boy owner of the brothel and the expat ex-military personnel whose activities sail close to the wind!

Rob explained that as this was his first novel he wanted to find an established publisher, rather than self-publish, partly because he felt it would validate the book to himself and also because the world of publishing and book marketing was very much outside his realm of experience. He feels very fortunate in that he found a publisher in Book Guild (now part of the Troubadour publishing group) and a very supportive and enthusiastic editorial team.

What of Rob’s own reading material and future works? Rob’s favourite genres to read are sci-fi, fantasy and crime and thriller books, although he laments that since becoming a writer he does not have he chance to read as extensively as in the past. He confirmed that he has another work in the pipeline, also set in the corporate world, involving a character who is being blackmailed and set up to be the fall guy. This work he explains contains more humour, although it too deals with questionable morals and business practices. He hopes to progress this further at some point.

As to all the readers out there, Rob very much hopes that they have as much fun reading his novel as he had writing it; that they laugh and cry at what he writes and that they learn something from it.

Disclaimer: All the characters mentioned in the above interview and in the author’s work, How To Kill A Minority Shareholder and get away with it are purely fictitious.

Book Blurb

Deb had worked and fought her way from council estate to a position that promised a comfortable retirement for her and her husband, Bob, and would make all their sacrifices over the years worthwhile. Her skill, dedication and knowledge had enabled her to take a failing, small family business she had joined a quarter century before and turn it into an international empire. She had made her boss and the shareholders multi-millionaires. On paper, even Deb would walk away with a few million when it came time to retire.

At the happiest and proudest point of her hard-working life, Deb’s evil boss, Ms Summer Ponsenbury, after twenty-five years of festering, hidden jealousy, shattered Deb’s world. With the help of her unscrupulous cohorts, Summer took everything she had promised. She destroyed Deb’s reputation, took her rewards, trashed Deb’s achievements and dumped her at rock bottom.

All concerned believed they were above the law. They were too powerful and too rich to have to worry about Deb getting justice. They thought no one would care… they were wrong. They had forgotten about Bob. The fight was just about to start.

Review

A Dark and Humorous Revenge Thriller *****

I am drawn to tales of where the underdog fights back and triumphs, and this gripping read fits the bill! It dramatizes how Bob, after witnessing how his wife’s business associates deliberately destroy her credibility and career, avenges her by making them pay with the ultimate price, their lives.

The first third of the novel illustrates how easy it can be for those in the corporate world to destroy the life and reputation of another human being. Bob’s wife, Deborah, a brilliant and successful businesswoman, has dragged herself up from her humble beginnings to reach top management. If Deb has a fault it is that she is too trusting of others. She is secretly resented by all around her, who use her to further their own careers, at the same time despising her for her competence and intellect. This hatred and jealousy goes so deep that one woman, the villain of the piece, Summer Ponsenbury actively sets out to destroy her, urging others wield the knife on her behalf or sit passively on the side-lines.

In many regards, the reader is presented with a very negative version of the human condition, delving deep into greed, jealousy, bullying, mental cruelty, violence and revenge. Yet the read is not devoid of humour, albeit much of it dark! Bob’s metamorphosis, as he goes from supportive and angry husband to avenger extraordinaire. is at the heart of the final two thirds of the novel and the author executes the narrative with flair. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not the central character, Bob, is the hero or the villain of the piece. Many of the descriptions are very visual and this aspect coupled with the personal drama and humour make the book ideal for  TV adaptation.

The read will appeal to thriller readers who are looking for a satisfying read which delves deep into the psyche of its characters, is peppered with dark humour and which contains a serious message on human nature for us all.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of the book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rob-Watkins/e/B00XNQSSS4

http://www.facebook.com/100008589104341