I LOVE reading with a Capital L. I will be posting some reviews here of books I enjoyed reading. I hope my choices inspire you, too, and that through them, you may get to know me a little better.

Currently, I’m conducting a series of interviews with wonderful authors about the importance of love, writing about it and what it means for them and for their readers. These interviews are filled with words of wisdom and it’s fascinating to listen to what love means for these authors and why they feel it’s important to write about it and have it as themes in their novels. I feel we can all learn something important from them.

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KATHRYN BROWN RAMSPERGER

Kathryn Ramsperger’s literary voice is rooted in the Southern tradition of storytelling and is informed by her South Carolina lineage. She began her career writing for The Roanoke Times and The Gazette newspapers and later managed publications for the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland. She has contributed articles to National Geographic and Kiplinger magazines and many online publications. Writing from a global perspective, her themes are universal yet intensely personal and authentic. All of her work is about the connections we all share. She believes if we ground and heal ourselves, we can change the world, so she created Ground One LLC. She also created her own coaching modality called Step Into Your Story (TSM). A graduate of Hollins University (Roanoke, Va.), Kathryn studied under several esteemed writers including Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Eudora Welty, her mentor Richard Henry Wilde Dillard and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor. She holds a graduate degree from George Washington University. Winner of the Hollins University Fiction Award, Kathryn is also a finalist in novel, novel-in-progress, short story, and poetry categories in the Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition. The Shores of Our Souls won a 2017 Foreword Indies award for multicultural fiction and an America’s Best Book Award. It was a Reader’s Favorite for its depiction of social issues. Kathryn is a mezzo-soprano, has dined with artists ranging from author Marita Golden to musician and writer Kinky Friedman, and has traveled to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. She’s worked in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband. They have two adult children, one born in Switzerland, the other in China. If she’s not writing, reading, or singing, she’s taking nature walks, listening her cats purr, or traveling (more recently in her imagination).

https://youtu.be/CSmc_2b_16I

BEVERLEY LEE

From as far back as she can remember, Beverley Lee has always been held captive by the written word. Her earliest memories are of books and how they made her feel. She spent most of her formative years with her nose between the pages, or at the local library, devouring books, and losing herself in the worlds of fantasy and adventure. She was that child who would always try to find Narnia at the back of any available wardrobe. Even now the smell of paper in a bookshop makes her feel like she is eight again. Her writing journey began at the age of seven, when she created terrible, but enthusiastically written, cliché ridden pony stories, complete with illustrations, for her long suffering teacher. But she can’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories in her head, even when there was no chance to write them down. The closest thing to magic that she knows is creating characters and new worlds that never existed before. She loves the way the images and voices take form, and the way they take on a life of their own as the words spill out. Beverley is very much drawn to the darker side of fiction and the shadowy place between light and darkness where nothing is quite as it seems. She loves flawed characters – they have a depth and a tantalising wealth of possibility. Inspiration comes in many forms – a snippet of conversation, a stranger on the street, a song lyric fleetingly heard. Life is inspiration. The very best story is the one you have to tell. She is a people watcher, a dreamer, a lover of nature and simple things. She collects feathers, picks up seashells and likes to run her fingers over old stone. There’s history there. Stories just waiting to be discovered. The best way to grow is to support other people and she is passionate about helping other writers as they begin their journey.

LINDA STRADER

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage was released on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. In September, she became a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. She is currently working on a prequel. In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She resides in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

LORRAINE FLAHERTY

Lorraine Flaherty is an Author, Lecturer, Transformational Therapist, Artist and Pioneer of Inner Freedom Therapy. Her first book Healing with Past Life Therapy; Transformational Journeys through Time and Space and a set of Inner Freedom CD’s were published by Findhorn Press. If she had to describe what she does, she would say that she operates as a spiritual detective helping people navigate the realm of the subconscious, and all the data therein, to discover how they can heal. Over the last twenty years or so, she created a process called Inner Freedom Therapy, which is designed to help people deal with childhood trauma and glitches in their mental programming – wherever that may come from. It also helps reconnect them to their true spiritual nature and realign them with their true ‘Soul’ purpose. Lorraine’s spiritual journey started at a young age. She was always aware of other worlds, other lives and a deeper sense of who she really was. She spent her early years challenging priests and teachers with regard to religion and the things that didn’t seem right. It led to years researching other religions and the discovery of the esoteric sides – each of which stated that the answers to who people are were on the inside – not outside of them and that everyone is connected; all ‘one’ at a certain level. This led her to explore meditation and many healing modalities and spiritual development tools – including shamanism and psychic development. Her first career was as a hair and make-up artist where she focused on changing how people looked on the outside to change how they felt…but she soon realized that she wanted to change how they felt on the inside. A few near-death experiences woke her up and she went on a mission to find her purpose. Due to synchronistic events she found hypnosis and knew it was what she had been looking for. It was the key to the inner wisdom and all the answers she needed – for her and her clients. Her focus is helping people discover more of who they are, why they are here and helping them to break free from limiting beliefs and behavior’s, so they get to live their best life. Her spiritual journey and the learning that goes with that, is still on-going and will be for the rest of her life. Her life’s mission is to provide people with the knowledge and tools they need to set them free to live their best life and live up to their highest potential.

CYNTHIA TERELST

Cynthia Terelst is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian scenery and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored. She lives in Queensland, Australia, where the sun shines at least 283 days a year.

CLAIRE DOYLE

Claire Doyle’s big inspiration came when she read John Fante’s Ask The Dust, and also Charles Bukowski. From these two writers, she decided to write in an alter-ego just like they did, and called her Laura McLove. She’s an older, female version of Fante’s Arturo Bandini, and just as half-crazed as he is. There’s a fair amount of biographical material in Claire’s novels as a result. Claire writes romantic fiction in the broadest sense of the word. She puts a lot of emphasis on ‘place’ and Laura’s relationship with that, particularly on a spiritual level. There is always, however, the pursuit of a man in the story. Laura is the pursuer, not the pursued, and she is permanently on an inner spiritual quest and she’s also meant to be funny. Claire’s writing is a serious endeavour but she aims to be a light and easy read. Claire has three novels now, all in the Laura McLove series. The first is The Naked Sommelier, based on Claire’s time studying biodynamic agriculture at Emerson College in Sussex and her encounter with a rather gorgeous young French sommelier who was obsessed with natural wine and a subsequent road trip to the USA.

 

 

MEG MACROSE

Author Jenny Finlayson writes contemporary romance under the pen name of Meg MacRose. She lives in Australia next to the beach with her partner and three children and writes from a little office nestled in the back of her garden, has a habit of talking out loud when she writes to an audience of wild birds, and mindmaps to get to her stories. Her take on how marketing influences our love relationships is an interesting and unique one.

 

 

SARA SARTAGNE

Contemporary romance author, Sara Sartagne, talks about love, sex – how much of it to write in a novel – and moving to Pocklington, a little market town, which has been a settlement for 1,500 years and lays claim to being the last place in England to hold a witch-burning.

Sara’s bio: Having wanted to be a journalist when I was a teenager, I actually ended up on the dark side, in PR. From there, it was a short skip to writing for pleasure, and from there a slippery slope into the usual self-doubt which goes alongside the first faltering steps into any new venture. I’ve relished my progress from the most hilarious romantic fiction course, to my first faltering steps of actually drafting something and finally, finally finishing it. I’ve turned to the bewildering task of self-publishing – and here I am. I’m learning about landing pages, websites, mailing lists, some strange technical things to do with Amazon and Kindle, and struggling to get a professional-looking cover produced on no money. When someone suggested to me on Twitter that after finishing the book, the real work started, I thought they were mad. I’ve since learned very differently – but I’m still loving it. I hope you enjoy my site, my blog and eventually, my writing. I moved from North London to Pocklington (about 14 miles outside of York) in January of last year with my partner. It wasn’t part of our decision to move here, but the little market town, which has been a settlement for 1,500 years, lays claim to being the last place in England to hold a witch-burning. The parish register for 1630 records Old Wife Green burnt in Market for being a witch.

 

 

BROWNWYN LEROUX

Bronwyn was born near the famed gold mines of South Africa. As a child ogling gold being poured, she could almost feel the dwarves’ fingers twitching to get at the goodies. Early in her teens, Bronwyn’s family moved provinces but she was never far from her beloved books. These magical years were spent on unforgettable adventures as she finished school and entered the realm known as “university.” During this time, Bronwyn met and married her Prince Charming before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. Peaceful years followed and Bronwyn was blessed with two children. Then the greatest adventure of all began – a move to America. Bronwyn’s family landed near the dark palace of San Francisco, guarded as it is by the majestic Golden Gate Bridge and partially surrounded by the moat that is the sparkling Bay. But this fairy tale land was not the place to raise a family, especially with a new addition. The magical pull of the Colorado Rockies was irresistible, and Bronwyn’s family set off to explore yet again. Finding a sanctuary at last, this is Bronwyn’s perfect place to create alternative universes where her mind can roam and explore and she can conjure up fantastical books for young adults. Bronwyn has written several journals, the Destiny series, a YA fantasy adventure set in the near future and will soon be releasing an urban fantasy novella. Her books are available at major online bookstores.

 

 

ANGELA CAIRNS

This podcast interview was recorded live at The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank in London – meaning not in a studio. Please, therefore, ignore the extraneous sounds and instead, enjoy the wonderful chat with Author, Angela Cairns, a wise lady, indeed.

Angela Cairns is a physiotherapist, acupuncturist and author. She writes women’s fiction and her debut novel, Touch, is now available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited where you can read it for free. Her second novel in the series, Dilemma, is coming out later this year. Angela also writes short stories in anthologies for magazines. Her relaxation/visualisation resources are downloadable and on CD together with her bereavement visualization called A Song For Ed, which is free to download from www.playpauseunwind.co.uk/ Currently, Angela lives in Essex. She’s married with two grown-up boys, three Gordon setter dogs.

 

 

LOUISE BRODERICK

Author Jacqui Broderick, who writes under Louise Broderick for adults, talks to me about her novels and about the importance of writing about love. Jacqui was born in Derbyshire, England and currently lives in Ireland with her husband, three children and many animal friends. Through setting up a glossy magazine, Jacqui not only met her husband when she wrote an article about him and later, also his biography, but it led to a three-book deal. Jacqui has recently published a crime fiction novel and has nine books coming out this year – two children’s books, three romances revisiting the world of her first books, three in a crime series and a non-fiction writing guide!

 

 

ALEXANDRA WENMAN

Alexandra Wenman is an alchemist, awakener and author. She is a healer, poetess and speaker, and she offers real-world and online workshops. You can also find her at The Alexandra Wenman Show on YouTube and as Alexandra Wenman on all other social media platforms.

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INTERVIEWS WITH AUTHORS ABOUT THEIR BOOKS:

If you go to Lorraine’s Author Page on Amazon, you’ll read that she is passionate about helping people to change their lives for the better. She says her experience through the years has taught her that the answers to all problems lie within the individual. Accessing the unconscious realms allows for this information to emerge and solutions to be found.

When she is not seeing clients, she teaches Clinical Hypnosis to Medical students in Universities all around the country including Oxford and Cambridge. She also runs workshops and retreats based on Finding Inner Freedom, which covers the entire range of the healing tools she uses.

You can find her here:

www.innerjourneys.co.uk

twitter – lorraineflahert
facebook – lorraineflaherty
insta – @lorraine.flaherty

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The author who’ve come to chat with us today and give us a glimpse into her writing journey, is Julia Blake, novelist extraordinaire!

Julia was born and raised in the lovely historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, where she lives with her daughter. She describes herself as a typical Cancer, in that although she likes to visit new places and see new things, she’s always very pleased to get home again.

Julia reveals she has been writing ever since she was old enough to pick up a pen but didn’t write seriously until her late thirties when the stories in her head suddenly began demanding release and she started to write furiously. Over the next ten years, she wrote six complete novels and in 2014 The Book of Eve was published.

You can follow Julia here:

Home


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13428242.Julia_Blakehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Blake/e/B00TN9C5IY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
https://www.instagram.com/juliablakeauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017784841349
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyAI8Dxs4Nx611g1IK02aJw

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Before embarking on his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” Richard had long cherished the idea of wanting to write fiction, ever since attending a literature event with Leon Garfield and winning first prize in its short story competition.

Having already been adapted for the stage, “The Cryptic Lines” has been described as ‘Dan Brown meets Agatha Christie’ and, as the plot weaves through its many twists and turns, we follow the main characters as they race against the clock to solve enigmatic puzzles in the many dark corners of the ancient manor house, Heston Grange.

And now the author asks: Dare you enter this crumbling mansion, with all its secrets..?

The adventure awaits!

But there’s more…

Richard has now added another three novels to his collection, plus the first four volumes in a new Ruritanian Saga. All his books are available in print, as well as for Kindle and in audio format.

You can find Richard here:

www.richardstorry.com
www.crypticpublications.com
www.instagram.com/richardstorry

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Jacky Dahlhaus is a horror short story writer and vampire romance novelist.

Jacky is a mother of twins, dogs, and wife to her husband of twenty-five years. She was born in Adelaide, Australia, raised in The Netherlands and has lived in France, the UK and Australia. She was trained as a veterinarian and a high school science teacher and is now a full-time writer. Currently, Jacky lives in a Victorian house in Scotland from where she pens her stories and novels at a Chippendale desk.

I’ve read Jacky’s first novel in her Sucker series, Living Like A Vampire, and I loved it. It’s refreshingly different from any other vampire book I’ve ever read and I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

You can contact Jacky here:

Email:
jackydahlhaus@gmail.com

Twitter:
@jackydahlhaus

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/jackydahlhaus/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Jacky-Dahlhaus-Author-166614624053352/

Website:

Home

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14924554.Jacky_Dahlhaus
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JackyDahlhausWriter
Amazon Author Page (US): https://www.amazon.com/Jacky-Dahlhaus/e/B01ABUL24G
Amazon Author Page (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01ABUL24G

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Amy Reece is the author of YA romance novels and Contemporary Suspense Romance.

Amy lives in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband and family. She loves to read and travel and has an unhealthy addiction to dogs. She believes red wine and coffee are the elixirs of life and lead to great inspiration. She is the author of The Seeker Series (YA paranormal) and The Way to Her Heart (YA romantic suspense).

I’ve read two of her novels in the De Luca Family Series and I adored both. Now, I’m dying to read the rest!

Here are all the ways you can connect with Amy:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/areeceauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AReeceAuthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alreece12/
Website: http://www.amyreeceauthor.com/
Blog: https://amyreece.wordpress.com/
Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/AmyLReece
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amy_reece/

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D.J. Doyle is the author of Horror Novels and short stories. The settings in her novels are around Irish Heritage sites. She writes wonderful original stories drawing on the myths and legends of Ireland and her writing is imbued with the lyricism and wit for which Irish writers are renowned.

I’ve read both of her novels, The Celtic Curse: Banshee and also The Celtic Curse: Newgrange and I LOVED both. I can’t wait to read her short stories now – I’m especially intrigued by Christ on a Bike!!!

If Horror is your thing, you won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Links to D.J. Doyle’s social media platforms:

FB author – https://www.facebook.com/DJDoyleAuthor/
twitter – @djdMar123
Denise’s horror group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/198428734085055/
email – authordjdoyle@gmail.com
website – http://djdoyleauthor.com/
Author.to/DJDOYLEBOOKS

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Joanne Carlton is an author of young adult novels, children’s books, thrillers, short stories and more. Her books include Heart Beat and Kill Me Again. I’ve read Heart Beat and LOVED it, and can’t wait to read more from this talented author.

Those of you who know me, know that I have conducted interviews about and with performers for many years, but I’m particularly chuffed that Joanne had agreed to an author interview with me.

You can find Joanne’s Heart Beat here:
http://amzn.eu/ex5WOCu

Links to Joanne’s social media:
www.facebook.com/authorjoannecarlton
www.twitter.com/authorjocarlton
www.instagram.com/authorjoannecarlton

Joanne Carlton has been writing for as long as she can remember, publishing many short stories online for years, before switching to books. She writes mostly psychological and paranormal tales set in a contemporary setting, in Dutch and English.

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Phoenix Rainez is an author of romance novels and a female poet. Her books include Second Chances, Moments of Love and Whispers of Love. I’ve read her books and LOVED them.

Those of you who know me, know that I have done interviews about and with performers for many years, but I’m particularly chuffed that Phoenix had agreed to an author interview with me.

You can find Phoenix’s books here: amazon.com/author/phoenixrainez. Her twitter handle is @PhoenixRainez and you can find her on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez2 and for authors wanting support from Phoenix, go to www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez3.

This is a short biography for Phoenix:
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now live in England, working as a carer for the elderly. Thirty-nine years married with two adult daughters and five wonderful grandchildren. I’m an incurable romantic and love long walks on the beach at sunset. Obsessed with the colour purple and a total chocoholic. Poetry has always been my first love and passion and started writing poems at the age of ten. Thanks to the encouragement of friends and family I wrote and published my first romance novel, Second Chances. I recently published my first poetry anthology Moments of Love and my second poetry book Whispers of Love has just been published and presently working on my next novel.

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I’m delighted to announce my first Author Interview with Mary Anne Yarde, International bestselling, multi-award-winning author of the Du Lac Chronicles.

Those of you who know me, know that I have been interviewing performers and experts associated with singers and performers for years.  https://soundbath.wordpress.com/

So, this is a particular pleasure to be able to do so now for authors whose books I love.

Enjoy!

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I LOVED it and you will too!

I LOVED this great sci-fi fantasy story. Not only is it very well-written, but the twists and turns and laughs add to a cracking tale. <br /><br />It’s not easy to write such engaging characters, but this author has succeeded in bringing each character to life in a way that makes you feel you’re there with them, experiencing what they’re going through, and if you were to meet them in your everyday life you’d be hanging out and chatting like old friends.<br /><br />The descriptions of the settings further add to this original and unexpected story, enhancing its charm. I can’t wait to read the next novel in this series. Highly recommended!

 

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THE BEST I’VE EVER READ IN THIS GENRE!

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. But I’m not going to talk about the story here – I don’t want to spoil the deliciousness of it – save to say that this book starts where the previous one ended. In my opinion, always a good thing.

Ms Yarde has again taken us on a wonderful journey into the Arthurian world but this time, she has outdone herself. The Du Lac Princess is the best book I’ve ever read in this genre. Think Game of Thrones, Outlander and Vikings all rolled into one. Seriously, I can see this story as the next big TV hit.

Not only is the writing superb, the research thorough, the story exciting, but the characters are wonderfully drawn, each with their own distinctive personalities, quirks and presence. This is no mean feat as we’re dealing with a number of powerful alpha males and amazing women often suffering through circumstances not many of us could imagine for ourselves. Theirs was a brutal time in history and Ms Yarde brings these amazing people to life brilliantly. The heroes are wonderfully complex and intriguing, and the villains are fabulously villainous.

Of the many great characters, my favourite is Tegan. She says it how it is and doesn’t tolerate nonsense from anyone. Tegan is the old pagan woman who was once a Knight at the Court of King Arthur. We learn that she had been in love with Lancelot and most likely still was despite having married another man with whom she’d had a good life. But Tegan is a tough old bird who’d been through much in life and lives with remarkable fortitude and vitality despite her advancing years – a wise survivor after my own heart. Upon meeting Merton, and immediately realising that he was one of Lancelot’s sons, she helps to heal him after his horrific torture on orders of the usurper, King Philippe.

I was breathless by the end of the novel and much relieved that Merton and Amandine ended up together, ready to continue their story – hopefully – in the next novel.

I’m delighted that the author has decided to continue the story in a series of books, rather than in a trilogy. I’m already missing the characters who had become friends, and look forward to the next novel when I’ll meet them again.

***

Brilliant Psychological Thriller

I loved the way the book starts with action and continues with it all the way through. It’s certainly fast-paced and keeps you on your toes.

I felt beyond sad for Helen King because she had been betrayed by nearly everyone in her life from a young age, starting with her parents. Her mother did nothing when Helen had been abused by her father and his cronies. But there was only one person she felt she could rely on. In the end, even Ash betrayed her, however. Having said that, I was deeply disturbed by the way in which she sought to wreak revenge on people who had betrayed her in her past. The fact that she came across to other people as normal and not a killer, made me wonder how many Helens we walk past daily without knowing it. A scary thought!

The characters were all well-developed and brilliantly portrayed. I didn’t think I would but fell in love with the somewhat cynical and ambitious DI Belinda Brennen.

If you like great psychological thrillers, then this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

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This was a gripping account of a young girl’s horrific abuse by her father and his paedophile cronies. It was a difficult read because my heart was bleeding for the vulnerable little girl. But it is extremely well written and left me feeling battered and bruised and yet inspired by the confirmation of just how strong we are. I wish with all my heart that such abuse towards defenceless children can stop. Highly recommended.

***

Five stars for a fantastic story!

I was tempted by this novel’s title and intriguing cover and expressed my interest in receiving an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was not disappointed. This is a terrific story, brilliantly told. Although a novella, the story is an entirely satisfying experience. The author immediately pulled me into the world of the billionaire, his dysfunctional relationship with his son and his cynical outlook on life. Money can buy him anything he wants but the one thing he craves may cost him everything including his life, in a way you may not imagine. The twist at the end is inspired. I can’t wait to read more stories by this talented author. Highly recommended!

***

 

Fallen From Grace by Nikki Landis

Dark fantasy and forbidden love

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Fallen from Grace is the first novel I’ve read by Nikki Landis. I LOVED it! A dark, suspenseful paranormal love story brilliantly told, I devoured the book. It reads like a piece of music – exciting, thrilling, intense – a roller coaster of emotions while at the same time, you don’t realize that you’re reading – only the best writing does that.

I particularly enjoyed the development of Emily and Bash’s relationship. The twists in the story held me on the edge of my seat throughout, and the ending makes me want to read what happens next immediately.

A triumph and a novel I cannot recommend highly enough!

***

Du Lac Chronicles cover

The Du Lac Cronicles, Mary Anne Yarde

A timeless gem.

Set at the time just after King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were around, this is a wonderful story of Lancelot’s sons and what happens to them. In particular, the story focuses on Alden, who loses his kingdom to Cerdic, the cruel King of Wessex. Alden is taken captive and tortured, but saved by Annis, only daughter of Cerdic. As they run for their lives, they fall in love along their journey to seek help from Alden’s ambitious half-brother, Budic, King of Brittany.

I LOVED this book. I could not put it down. It is very well written and the characters are wonderfully developed. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages and I’m looking forward very much to reading the next one. And lucky for me, Ms Yarde had the next installment available…

 

 

 

 

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Stealth Moves cover

Stealth Moves, Sanna Hines

A great story excellently told and well written.

I loved this novel for young adults. Stealth Moves takes us to Boston where three young people are kidnapped. The story follows many turns and twists to a satisfying, albeit surprising, end.

What I particularly enjoyed in the novel – apart from the fact that it is a fast paced and cracking thriller – was the outstanding characterisation of the cast of characters who range through a variety of ages. The author portrays each character perfectly according to the nuances of their age group.

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51KyIt5qdSL._SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_

The Martian, Andy Weir

In our crazy busy days, it is sometimes hard to find time to sit down with a book, and if you’re anything like me, if it’s a good book, like The Martian undoubtedly is, then the world stands still until I’ve finished reading it, often through the night. But whose schedule allows for that these days. That, coupled with a renewed decision to go for daily long walks instead of the gym, it spurred me on to find good audio books to accompany me on my walks – two birds with one stone, type of scenario.

I have been wanting to read this book for a while and had it saved in all my wish lists. Then, signing up to Audible, Amazon’s audio books division, I saw it there and simply had to get it. It was a great decision.

What a fantastic, gripping story, and what a wonderful narrator. I can highly recommend the audio book, narrated by R C Bray, a great acting voice.

The story is about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars when his crew members think he had           died after a horrible accident in one of Mars’s fabled storms. They leave, and he spends eighteen months alone on Mars.

It’s a wonderful story of survival, and of how people pull together to save one man’s life against extreme odds.

In our climate of reality television, this scenario is easily imaginable. But what makes the story even more remarkable, isn’t his ordeals, but the astronaut’s sense of humour, his ingenuity, his fight for his life, and his growth as a human being.

The book is chock full of sciency stuff and will appeal to science buffs, I’m sure, but it is told in a way that even someone as unsciency as me, can understand.

I will be first in line to see the movie.

Highly, highly recommended. A wonderful work by Mr Andy Weir.

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The Holiday Home, Fern Britton

I was very curious to read a book by Fern Britton, because I had watched her on television for years. I knew she was a great presenter and a brilliant journalist, so expected that she would be able to write very well.

When The Holiday Home fell into my email inbox via Bookbub, I took it as a sign.

It does what it says on the tin: the book is about The Holiday Home, it’s about a holiday and it’s a lovely, easy read. But it’s also about so much more.

Fern expertly shows the start and development of sibling rivalry. It started when they were children, choosing a room each in The Holiday Home, one sister always manipulating her way into getting the best, including the best room. But their rivalry intensified and caused a real rift when during their teenage years, a boy got into the picture.

As adults, dragging along their husbands and children, their rivalry continues with the race to get to The Holiday Home first, in order to get the best room. Thankfully, their children, a son for one sister and a daughter for the other, get along far better than their mothers and seem far more sensible.

When the boy of their youth, now a man, reappears, simmering emotions surface and we understand more about what drives the characters. But the tension rises even further when the mistress of one of the sisters’ husbands arrives uninvited and his infidelity becomes public knowledge.

There is a twist in the tale at the end and all in all, I found The Holiday Home a satisfying read.