*ARC REVIEW* ~Trailblazer (Verdant String #3), by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifiromance #suspense

 

Book Blurb

He’s on a mission . . .
She’s running for her life . . .
And if they get off-planet alive, she’ll have to trust he won’t reveal her darkest secret.

Tally Riva is not what she seems, and even she’s not happy about it. Infected, invaded, she’s not quite sure how to describe it, but on a disastrous mission to a ghost ship, something burrowed its way into her body. Into her mind.

When her commander decides the best cure for what he thinks is Tally’s trauma is to send her on the famous Veltos Trail, Tally goes without revealing what’s really behind her mental anguish. Anything to be seen as normal again, anything to ignore what she’s afraid is happening to her.

But Veltos isn’t the safe place it seems. The chosen military personnel lucky enough to be offered the chance to walk the Trail are supposed to be the only people on Veltos. But Ben Guthrie, a captain in Arkhoran Special Forces, knows they’re not. He and his team have been on Veltos for a month already, tracking suspicious enemy activity, and he’s gone undercover on the Trail in search of a satellite his superiors are sure has been shot down.

When Ben’s worst fears become reality, and they find themselves hunted by a cunning enemy through the thick forests of Veltos, Tally and Ben fight together to survive. And Tally has to decide if accepting the changes inside her will save them both, or be her doom.

TRAILBLAZER is a standalone novel, and the third full length book set in the world of the Verdant String.

Books in the series are: Interference & Insurgency (Two Novellas of the Verdant String), Breakaway, Breakeven, Trailblazer.

My Review – 5 stars

Suspenseful and adventure packed

This is an expertly crafted and suspenseful read with plenty of action and also a romance for the central character Tally. I was so engrossed in the story that after a while I felt as if I was living and breathing alongside Tally and her fellow trail walkers on the planet Veltos where much of the book is set. The story worked well for me as a standalone, although I feel that if I had read the earlier books in the series they would have only added to my enjoyment.

I loved Tally the central character. She is one strong woman despite the trauma she has recently endured of being the sole survivor on a ghost ship, where an alien entity has invaded her body and mind. This makes her vulnerable as she finds herself at war with herself. For although whatever it is that has burrowed inside her is determined to protect her, its host, from harm, she is sometimes compelled to act in ways that are at odds with her free will.

Sent on the Veltos trail to aid her recovery from what was a disastrous mission, she is at pains to conceal what has taken up residence inside her and her oftentimes new abilities. However, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from fellow trail members as they find themselves the quarry of an enemy who is stalking them. It is especially difficult to hide the truth from Ben Guthrie, a member of the special forces who is on a mission to find out what really is going on on Veltos. Ben too is a strong character and a worthy mate for Tally.

I found the whole premise of the book, combined with the central characters of Tally and Ben and the secondary characters, made for a cracking scifi adventure. The read has plenty of tension and suspense as the plot develops and truths reveal themselves. I was on pins with how far Tally could control the entity inside her and how others would react when and if its presence was revealed. and also whether they would survive the enemy stalking them.

Thoroughly recommended for lovers of sci-fi and space opera who also love romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given t me by the author for a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.michellediener.com/
https://www.facebook.com/michelle.diener.author/

*BLOG TOUR* ~ The Golden Shana Series, by A P von K’Ory: includes Author Post and Excerpts

On Choosing the Best Book Title

by Akinyi Prinzessin von K’Orinda-Yimbo
(A P von K’Ory)

I learnt much about choosing book titles through reading my favourite adviser, Chuck Sambuchino, in Writer’s Digest. He mentioned 5 crucial points to take into consideration, which I list below, but in my own words and assessment.

(1) You Can Base Your Titles on Theme: Theme-based popular novels Sambuchino mentions are Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. These novels are based on the subject the novels deal with. In my Golden Shana series, the love story of Roman and ‘Golden’ Shana, I’ve split the titles into The Chase (Roman determined to find that lady he had a glimpse of at the opera) and is determined to find; The Capture (Roman finally able to have a first date with Shana, the woman he’d chased after and found); The Untouchable (Roman faced with an unknown rival he’s determined to fight off his Golden, but blundering miserably in the task). I’m now on the fourth book: The Conquest, where this dangerous rival from Shana’s past has to be dealt with. The question is, who will deal with him most effectively, Shana or Roman?). But you always need a bit of intrigue to separate the title from the pedestrian and make it unique and memorable. The titles each give a hint of what takes place in each book.

(2) Your Protagonist’s Name: You can give your protagonist a catchy, memorable name. My Bound to Tradition books were translated into German by Droemer Knaur (a member of the Big Five publishers) and named Khiras Traum – Khira’s Dream. They chose to use the name of my protagonist for the title, adding the very ordinary word “dream”. But there are tons of dreams in all of us and the reader would wonder what kind of dream this young girl has, whether it is realistic, or in fact a symbolic dream.

(3) Your Protagonist’s Occupation or Other Qualities: You can also use your protagonist’s occupation as a title. Think of the works of Barbara Cartland such as The Poor Overness, The Wicked Marquis, and The Duke and the Preacher’s Daughter. In contemporary works, think of author Nora Roberts’ book The Witness, John Grisham’s simple but succinct titles – The Firm, The Associate, The Client, The Chamber or Danielle Steele’s novel titled A Perfect Stranger.

(4) Your Titles Can Also Be Inspired by Songs and Poems: The operative word here is inspired. Of course there are no copyrights on titles worldwide, but you want your baby to be unique, right? So you can get inspired by others’ song titles or writings. Take, for example, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, taken out of the poem “Comin’ Thro the Rye” by Robert Burns. When it comes to mystery and suspense genres, Mary Higgins Clark goes for songs to inspire her, such as I’ve Got You under My Skin (Frank Sinatra) and Let Me Call You Sweetheart (Bing Crosby).

(5) You Can Lift the Titles from the Manuscript Itself: This is similar to choosing the name of your protagonist or their profession to use as titles. Only in this case, you pick something else out of your book. Sambuchino gives the title of E.M. Forster’s classic romantic story, A Room with a View, which came from the novel’s first page when Charlotte Bartlett and Lucy Honeychurch complained about not having a room with a view of the Arno river, a river in the Apennines of northern Italy which flows westwards through Florence and Pisa to the Ligurian Sea.

Just keep in mind (I know, we’re writers not marketers, right?) that the title should match your genre, the crux of the story, (like I couldn’t title Secret Shades as Murder Most Foul, although that, in effect, is the crux of Helena’s secret and story – trying to murder her own biological heritage for good, and that is indeed murder most foul!).

The right title will bring you closer to capturing your target readers.

Over to you, and happy choosing.

Blurb: Golden Shana: The Chase (Book 1)

An evening at the opera house La Scala in Milan twirled the lives of five people into a web of intrigues, heartaches, human hunts, loss and revenge.
Roman: I never chased after a woman. It was always the other way around. Then I caught a glimpse of the woman I would kneel for, at the opera, and I didn’t even know her name. But I determined to find her if it took me the rest of my life.
Shana: He stood in the room with her. The frisson in the currents freaking between them was as solid as a steel portal. The mutual force of predator and prey blasted its way into her core … her soul … Danger. Keep far away from him.
Marie: Some men were born to rule the world; others were born to ruin it. Roman Alastair Northcott Broughton Castell was born to do both. But she loved him and awaited his baby.
Alyssa: He was the lover she wouldn’t tire of. Roman had something so damned perilous about him he was addictive. Who gets addicted to safe and riskless? Not her.
Grieg/Phoenix: Had His Girl interpreted that Friday night as abuse? He’d only done what she wanted – protection of her cherished innocence.

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Chase (Book 1)

What a difference a day makes… And it hadn’t been a day. It had been an evening in Milan. Brief moments of an evening. I didn’t care about the consequences to whomever. Through my obsession with Svadishana I became aware of the fact that I was a person. A human being, not an almighty god, with all the baggage that comes with being that. I too – eureka! – had a heart pumping white and red corpuscles through my veins. Blood, not icicles.

Was it love I felt for Svadishana? A woman I’d spoken three whiny words – Please call me! – to? Was it more than simple lust and desire? Did I want to possess more than just her body?

Pondering these questions alone was so unlike me. That woman had turned me into an alien even unto my own self. What I felt, my inner voice said, was more than the thrill of the hunt. More than lust, desire, need, passion, the excitement of possession, and subjugation.

Of course all that was part of it. But the basis or the source, the seedbed on which all that sprouted and was growing to full blossom in me, could well be something else.

When I thought of her, saw her image from Milan in my mind, watched how she moved in long smooth strides in YouTube, my brow beaded with sweat. I couldn’t pull my gaze away from the few photos I’d fished out of the Internet. Group photos at a family birthday or the authorized biography of her father. Her movements in a YouTube conference clip were springy and powerful even in their smoothness. She exuded strength all over the place, laughing, talking, gesticulating.

A breath-taking beauty. Such beauty that I dared not believe it at times.

And brains to go with it.

In love or not, I knew what I wanted and Svadishana was the answer. I wanted her and would do anything short of suicide to get her. Who knows – perhaps when it came to that as the only means available, I’d really murder too. I didn’t in the least care about the consequences, as long as they got me to where I wanted to get to.

Svadishana’s arms and knickers and… heart?

What obsession, Roman. Get back to real.

No chance. Real was Svadishana.

Blurb: Golden Shana: The Capture (Book 2)

Roman finally gets together with Shana. But he finds himself wedged between three women and the man intent on killing him because of Shana. And there’s the secret of Marie’s unborn baby.
Roman: I wanted to eat all of her. Even within that fortress I longed to erect around her to hold her captive in, to keep her away from men not worthy of the sight of her, I’d devour her.
Shana: Roman was deadly sex. She had no antigenic for immunity against him. Instead she lay there on his bed, in an impossible state of sluttish disarray, holding her breath.
Marie: “So you didn’t bring your rich old cow with you.” The bitch was ten years older than her, years older than Roman himself. Weren’t men supposed to prefer younger women?
Alyssa: She was not going to let Roman treat her like a hole in the air. He started this triangle and she was going to make it equilateral.
Grieg/Phoenix: His philosophy stated that peace was bondage, and war was freedom. His Girl was his territory, and no other man’s.

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Capture (Book 2)
I picked her up and carried her like a bride. Or a sleeping child. She nuzzled between my neck and shoulder. I kicked the door shut behind us.

We were both ablaze, and I needed to check that, wind it down a notch.

“Like to lie down on the sofa and cuddle till we both slow down a bit?”

“Bed.” Her voice vibrated against my neck.

We left the entrance hall behind us. The flames kept on leaping.

“Overriding my sensible decision?”

“Yes. Bed.” Tremulous once, tremulous twice.

“Just got me, and you want to run away with it.” I bore her past the living room.

“Bed.”

“I’m getting a restraining order on you.” I took the first stair, chest tight again.

She lifted her head off my shoulder and her Huskies sent megawatts to my blues. Unveiled desire. My balls clenched. At this degree I risked coming where I stood with her in my arms. I was tempted to close my eyes and summon my control. For the first time I felt life surge through my veins for a woman, the whole woman, not just sex with her. Again, I experienced that powerful instinct in me to guard and protect her, the fragile and most precious thing in my life. She had a pull on every cell in me. Her masses of loose curls gave warm slaps through my chinos to my hip, sending the sergeant into planning guerrilla warfare for its freedom.

The witch. I was hypnotized. I had to stop climbing the stairs and get my head cleared. She was as necessary to me as the air I breathed, yet she knocked that air straight out of my lungs. Her naked desire was intoxicating. Insanity mingled with reality. I really had her back in my arms. She came to me, came to my home for the first time. And ordered Bed, not a mutual shower. She was the first and only woman to take me to this Newland. She was my perfect balance. I’d fallen hard and didn’t even want to get back up. It happens to the worst of us ingrained rogue playboys.

The Huskies still pinned me in Newland. “Skirting around the deed, are we?”

“Protecting my golden goddess.”

For sheer survival, I broke the lock of our eyes and started up the stairs again.

Blurb: Golden Shana: The Untouchable (Book 3)
Roman doesn’t even want a harem. But the harem relentlessly seeks him. No sooner has Shana left Roman than Grieg/Phoenix is marking time on Roman’s door, out for a war, not a fight, over Shana. And so is Marie, whose pregnancy Roman still keeps a secret.
Roman: I loved owning women. Then I found my woman. But she would never be owned, not even by the gods. She left me. Still, her dangerous admirer and I began wars over her, not merely street fisticuffs.
Shana: Roman scares me in every way and the fear excites me. I’m brainless in his arms, brainless just from thinking about him. He makes me navigate so many labyrinthine passages and secret doors that I’d never even been aware of before. My body knelt and wept for him. My common sense made me flee from him while I could.
Marie: I sold Roman my heart and soul. Only to realise my body had not been consulted, and was therefore out for war.
Alyssa: I really got all that about Roman. The super-ink indelibility of him, the substance of him that stamped his four-figure-euro Ferragamo Oxfords, the supernatural charisma that rocketed him all the way up there with Lucifer. His square would never fit my round. But hope springs eternal, right?
Grieg: “If I have whoever your girl is, why don’t you simply come over and take me off her or her off me?” Roman had not reacted like a man who had received that damning message. Over the phone, he’d sounded as if he didn’t have a single feather ruffled. Time to start the war.

Excerpt from Golden Shana: The Untouchable (Book 3)

I heard him change the phone to the other ear. “Castell, you’re a kid running a billion-euro crib, you pervert.”

My system actually waged wars for me to jump out of my skin. Control, Castell.

“Oh, yes. I’m about as straight as the U-bend under a sink, fuckwit. So is this the problem? A pissing contest based on having some beef about your wallet being a little anorexic in comparison? Have I got that bracketed?” I heard him swallow again. I decided on a blind knock on that, although for all I knew he was drinking water. “By the way, I’d ease up on the drink. Otherwise you won’t manage to solve the square root of bugger all, let alone remember if you have any other name but Sggirb.”

“I know you right up to your fucking perve room, Castell. I delivered the CD—had the CD delivered – right into your fucking office, practically into your hands. You know nothing about me. So you better watch your smart mouth.”

“Ah, you thought you’d simply storm the Bastille that’s my home and be discreet about it, then slink into my office building and show me the dot over the i that amounts to your balls? You’re right, I know nothing about you. You’re not even in my periphery, private or public.”

“I’m not a ball of yarn to your kitten, so watch your fucking mouth, Castell!”

Just to keep him put off his stroke, “Who would you say has all the tools for annihilation, fuckwit, the kitten or the yarn?”

“You’re lucky I’m—”

“Luck is basically mythical. Reality is called chance. How about we meet?”

He said nothing.

Not good, because now that I was screwing him hard, I needed to keep up the pace. So I said, “You could make it your mud hole or you could haul your arse back here to my city. Then we roll up our sleeves, or whisk off our T-shirts. Then we start doing a little tribute to Muhammad Ali out in the Congo with Joe Frazier.”

He said nothing. I heard him swallow at intervals during the silence. “I’m rapt with attention, fuckwit Sggirb, so let’s have a date and then – to quote your countryman –you are an American – float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

“You think you’re so fucking cool…” He rumbled the word out long: Coooooollll…

“Oh, I don’t just think it.”

“Just keep your hands off her, Castell. Keep your hands off My Girl!”

“If I have whoever your girl is, why don’t you simply come over and take me off her or her off me?” I paused for a reply, none came. “Or is this the sheep being docile until they get utterly famished?” Another pause. Silence, so I continued, “You sound like you wouldn’t find a clitoris if you were armed with a compass, street map and a fucking NASA telescope.”
“You can’t intimidate me, Castell.”

Which only exposed to me the wound I’d ripped open in him. Time to add chilli.

BUY LINKS IN KINDLE – Please note that the books are also available in paperbacks:

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Chase-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B00WA7M3OC/

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Capture-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B06X1DGGMZ/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B07H1YY28C#reader_1725967073

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Shana-Capture-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B06X1DGGMZ/

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry-ebook/dp/B07H1YY28C/

UK Untouchable PB: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Shana-Untouchable-von-KOry/dp/1725967073

Website http://www.Akinyi-princess.de

Twitter https://www.twitter.com/Apky11162

Facebook

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAPVonKOry/
Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/apvonkory
FB Golden Shana Series: https://www.facebook.com/Goshanaliterotic/
FB Editor/Services: https://www.facebook.com/KOrindaYimbo/
FB AuthorMePro Press: https://www.facebook.com/Professionaless62bloggerP/
FB Readers & Reviewers: https://www.facebook.com/AkinyiReadersReviews/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/A-P-Von-KOry/e/B00MDHD7ZS

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/a-p-von-kory/

Click on link below to enter:

Enter for your chance to win a Kindle copy of one of A P von K’Ory’s backlist books!

 

*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. 🙂