*REVIEW* – The Path to Horn Cottage: A Cunning Folk Mystery, by Prudence S Thomas

#fantasy #alternatehistory #suspense #magic #crime #mystery

Blurb

Horn Cottage, an ancient cave house, has been home to the cunning folk of Thornton Cleveleys for generations. The early death of her mother left Meryall as the cunning woman for her village before her training was complete. A young man seeking Meryall’s help to find his missing sister draws her into an ever more complex and sinister mystery. Can she use her divination skills to help solve the mystery of the missing woman and avert a tragedy? An atmospheric journey through a mystical land, The Path to Horn Cottage is the first book in the Cunning Folk Mysteries series.

My Review

A Delightful Read – 5 Stars *****

I found Prudence S Thomas’ A Path to Horn Cottage to be a thoroughly entertaining read, which effortlessly transported me into a world of magic and belief in the old gods and their ways.

Also what a gorgeous cover – it perfectly reflects the essence of the story and it’s central character, the young ‘cunning woman’ Meryall, as she strives to reveal the whereabouts of a missing woman whilst balancing her own responsibilities to fellow villagers. As the story unfolds Meryall finds she has to journey from her home in her quest to uncover the shocking truth.

The author does an excellent job of creating an alternative reality where England has resisted the conversion to Christianity, instead cleaving to the old religion and its associated magic. I liked the central character Meryall: a strong and capable young woman, who is finding her way in life. She harbours her own doubts and frustrations as she seeks to balance her duty as her village’s ‘cunning woman’ with her natural curiosity to explore more of the world. Her partner Madoc is a perfect foil for her. The book is full of many interesting secondary characters, not least Meryall’s adversary.

I enjoyed the world the author has created,  – it is clear she has done a considerable amount of research into making it both credible and diverting. I look forward to reading more about Meryall in future works.

Recommended for readers who enjoy a suspenseful read set in a historical/fantasy context.

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 UK 

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://prudencesthomas.com/

https://www.facebook.com/prudences.thomas.9

 

*REVIEW* ~ Deadly Lies (DI Mariner #1), by Chris Collett

#crimedrama #policeprocedural

Blurb

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe is in his arm and a note by his side reads, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a woman in a bar. And then Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie is the only witness to his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. Is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion, Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson.

My Review

A Cracking Crime Drama – 5 stars

Deadly Lies by Chris Collett is a cracking character driven crime drama which had me guessing until the thrilling denouement. The book introduces the reader to DI Tom Mariner, the central character in the ensuing series, and can be read as a standalone. It is the first book I have read that is billed as a Police Procedural, and I was unsure as to what to expect. What I did find was that I was very quickly sucked into the suspenseful plot and the relationships between the chief protagonists.

Although the death of the journalist Eddie Barham in his home at first appears to be an open and shut case of suicide, DI Mariner is determined to leave no stone unturned. He focuses his investigation on not only the woman who he saw the deceased pick up at a Birmingham bar but also on attempting to communicate with Jamie Barham, Eddie’s severely autistic younger brother, who was found locked in a cupboard at the scene.

The latter part of his investigation brings him into contact with Anna, Jamie’s sister, and the very personal connection they forge adds further tension to the novel. Both have baggage from their past and I found their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship particularly well portrayed by the author.  DI Mariner’s relationships with his colleagues are depicted in a realistic way and I found him to be a fascinating albeit flawed character. The novel is full of suspense as the investigation leads Tom Mariner into the underbelly of the city of Birmingham and to adopt some unexpected and often unpalatable leads involving drugs, prostitution and criminal gangs. I enjoyed the numerous twists and turns as he strives to solve the case.

One of the big pluses in the book for me was the complexity and humanity of the main characters, who due to their various foibles came across as very believable. It also examines the challenges faced by those with autism and their families.

All in all an enthralling start to the series. The author has created a fascinating character in that of Tom Mariner. I am curious as to how his crime solving journey and his personal one progresses and will be reading other books in the series.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.chriscollettcrime.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/chriscollettcrime/

Twitter

Goodreads

*REVIEW* ~ Rex (A Stepbrother Romance), by Saskia Walker

#erotic #stepbrother #romance #romanticsuspense

Blurb

Rex Carruthers can have any woman he wants, but he wants only one — his stepsister, Carmen Shelby.

Their desire was once forbidden, and Rex walked away from his heritage as a result. Now, the reading of a will brings them back together, and Rex has something Carmen wants – his birthright, the stately home, Burlington Manor.

Carmen Shelby is haunted by her desire for her stepbrother, Rex — a dangerous, masterful player, the man who broke her heart. Then Rex makes an outrageous suggestion — he will give her the Burlington Manor Estate, in exchange for the affair they were denied.

To resolve the desire that haunts her, Carmen must risk her fragile heart and explore a new, submissive sexuality with Rex, a natural Dom. But while they thrash out their mutual passions, Carmen and Rex discover family secrets threaten and surround them. Carmen learns Rex is her true Master, but can he control the powerful forces that both drew them together – and threaten to tear them apart.

Please note: This book was previously published with a different cover under the title The Burlington Manor Affair. This book has been substantially revised.

My Review – 5 stars

Secrets, Suspense and Hot Sex!

Rex, by Saskia Walker is a super hot and swoonworthy erotic stepbrother romance containing scenes of light BDSM. Rex is such a devilishly sexy Dom – be sure to have an iced drink and a fan at the ready! The romance is central to a solid and well constructed narrative which also explores family secrets and contains danger and suspense. It is the second book I’ve read by the author, the other being her erotic historical romance The Harlot  (click on title for review) and I enjoyed this contemporary read just as much. 

Rex is on a mission – to make his stepsister Carmen his – their mutual attraction has been smouldering for over  decade since she became part of the family. His father’s will offers him the perfect opportunity  – the ancestral home of Burlington Manor has been bequeathed to both Rex and Carmen. Whilst Rex has had no love for his former home, Carmen loves the manor, which for the most part harbours happy memories for her. She intends to buy Rex out. Yet Rex does not want Carmen’s money. Instead he wants her body and offers her a deal – spend four weekends with him allowing him full access to her body as he sees fit in return for the house. How can a girl refuse?  😉

Carmen is conflicted – she wants the house, yet also wants Rex (in fact she has wanted him for SO long, only to witness him go from one short term relationship to the next). This man-whore of a man has shown no wish to settle down and attracts women like a magnet. She resolves to enjoy him whilst she can, without getting too emotionally involved as she needs to protect her heart. Of course this is easier said than done as Rex is very persuasive both in and out of the bedroom… As to Rex, I found him to be an uber sexy alpha male with a heart.

The book contains a combination of scorching and heartfelt scenes as the couple explore their sexuality and feelings for each other, feelings that have laid dormant for far to long. Their  relationship was hampered in the past, a stepsister/brother combo being verboten. Can Rex and Carmen overcome what happened in the past, especially when a series of family secrets begin to reveal themselves? Can Carmen trust the womanising Rex? Will the couple admit their feelings for each other before it is too late and they walk away from each other? When Rex suspects that Carmen is in danger will she trust him enough to allow him to protect her or will she think it is another one of his games? I was on tenterhooks as the plot unfolded. 

A super read which I highly recommend to lovers of contemporary erotic romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Check out the following links to find out more:

http://www.saskiawalker.co.uk/theharlot.html

Amazon US

Amazon UK

*REVIEW* ~ Along Came The Rain, by Alison R. Solomon

#suspense #psychological #thriller #womensfiction #lesbian

Blurb

Wynn Larimer would be the first to admit she has a bad memory and that lately it’s been getting worse. But that doesn’t explain how she has ended up in jail, accused of kidnapping two teenage foster kids. Now she’s in the fight of her life to clear her name. Her burning question: who has framed her and why?
Wynn’s partner, Barker, is hanging by an emotional thread. Not only are the missing girls her social work clients, but to make matters worse, her beloved Wynn seems to be losing her mind. How can she ensure the girls are brought to safety while dealing with a partner who is increasingly scattered?

Wynn and Barker must race to uncover the truth before Wynn is charged with a serious crime that could imprison her for years. But what will happen to their relationship when both discover things about each other that will change their lives forever?

My Review

Twists and turns a plenty ~ 4 sand a half stars

There’s twists and turns a plenty in this page turning psychological thriller from Alison R. Solomon. It is the author’s debut novel and she has done an excellent job in creating a suspenseful read which kept me on my toes and guessing until the end.

Wynn is shocked when she is accused of kidnapping two teenage foster children. There is no question of her innocence in her own mind. However, when the police produce a series of evidence which points to her guilt, she begins to feel a net closing in on her, a net of someone else’s making. Can she prove to them and to her partner Barker that she had nothing to do with the crime? With issues round her memory loss that appear to be worsening she battles against the odds to gather evidence that the police may have overlooked as the fate of the girls hangs in the balance. Meanwhile her partner Barker, a social worker to the two girls, struggles to prove Wynn’s innocence whilst maintaining her own and Wynn’s sanity.

Barker and Wynn are a loving couple: Barker a social worker, well thought of by her colleagues and clients, and Wynn the homemaker  trying to get her jewellery making business off the ground. They have a good life together but will their relationship survive? Has Wynn been framed and if so why? In the course of their efforts to uncover the truth revelations about their respective pasts come to life and they will have to live with the consequences, that is if they can prove Wynn’s innocence and keep her out of jail.

I was gripped as Wynn struggles to clear her name whilst grappling with her own issues around memory loss. The author tackles this issue in a knowledgeable and sensitive way as she does with other issues explored in the read: dementia, memory loss, mental health, abuse and aging. The trials and tribulations of the foster system are also explored in the book and again this is done in a knowledgeable and insightful fashion.

The novel is cleverly written, with different POV and timelines and I was totally gobsmacked at how the plot unravelled. Recommended for lovers of a suspenseful read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15095074.Alison_R_Solomon

 

*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* ~ 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

 

 

 

 

*NEW RELEASE & GIVEAWAY* ~ Anti Hero by Skye Warren

#romanticsuspense #eroticromance

sw1

ANTI Hero is a sexy + dangerous + suspenseful romance, kind of like those summer action movies? But with more dirty parts 😉

sw2

“Thrilling, suspenseful, sexy as hell. Skye Warren can simply do no wrong.” – Book Bellas

Blurb

Nate Gaines knows he’s no hero. After losing his team in a fiery betrayal, he left the army. Now he works for cold hard cash. And the girl he loves? She’s better off without him. Until her story makes her a target. Then he’ll protect her. He’ll kill for her. He just won’t let himself fall for her again. That would be dangerous, for both of them.

WARNING: Contains an inked military man, a plucky reporter on a mission, and explosive chemistry!

Purchase Link ~ currently 99c

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

Giveaway

Enter the $100 gift card giveaway here ~ good luck!

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