Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller

The Daughter-In-Law Nina Manning #BlogTour @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks #PsychologicalThriller #AuthorInterview #PublicationDay

No one is good enough for her son…
As a single mother, Annie has an especially close relationship with her son, Ben. They have always been together. Just the two of them. So, when Ben brings home his mysterious beautiful new wife, Daisy, immediately Annie doesn’t trust her. Who is this woman who has taken her son away from her? And what is she hiding?
She’ll protect him with her life…
When Ben disappears, suddenly Annie and Daisy are all the other one has. Alone in Annie’s big, remote house, just the two of them, the tension is rising. And like any protective mother, Annie will stop at nothing to expose her new daughter in law, and the secrets she is hiding…

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Claustrophobic, menacing and yet so believable, ‘The Daughter In Law’, is a riveting read.

It was always Annie and Ben until it wasn’t. Annie can’t understand why her only child has left her and married in secret. Now he is bringing her daughter in law to visit, and she has to be prepared.
Daisy’s has secrets, her whirlwind romance with Ben offers her a new life, but still, she dreads meeting her mother in law.

Told from Annie and Daisy’s point of view, the story begins to unfold, and each chapter brings a new revelation making you uneasy as you read on. The characters are complex, emotionally damaged, but believable. Annie seems extreme in her dominance of Ben, but the bond between a mother and her child is strong, and not always easy to share.

The plot twists begin early on, and gradually you start to realise there is something sinister going on, but who is the true victim. The suspense building is excellent, making this a genuine page-turner.

The last few chapters are so atmospheric, creepy and visual. You can see the action unfolding in your mind, even though you are metaphorically watching through your fingers.

A classy psychological novel, with many unique elements, vivid imagery and characters that resonate.

Author Interview with Nina Manning – The Daughter in Law

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 What are the inspirations behind this story?

I was interested in the relationship between a mother and son and how it is different from a mother and daughter relationship. I was fascinated by how some mothers find it difficult to let go of their sons and how they can even feel threatened by their son’s partner. I wanted to explore that idea on a deeper and darker level.

What characteristics does your story have that makes it unique, in the popular psychological thriller genre?

The Daughter in law has many themes running through it, such as grief and love and friendships. It also tackles covert narcissistic abuse and the one thing that binds, Annie, Daisy and Ben are that they were all emotional neglected as children. My book also has book club questions!

Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?

It’s inevitable that a characters foibles, or the way they gesticulate have been drawn from observations of the thousands of people I have encountered during my varied and interesting life so far. But all the characters in the book are purely a figment of my imagination.

When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?

When I wrote The Daughter in Law, it was the ending that came first. I had in my mind, a dramatic climax to the story as well as a big reveal so I wrote the story towards that ending.

The second psychological thriller that I am writing at the moment is purely plot-driven. I have added characters in as and when I need them and then seeing where it takes me. But I have an overall plot in mind and again, that dramatic ending.

What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?

Writing has been part of my life since I was a small child. I have always had an innate desire to write. I have tried working for other people but I was always drawn back to my writing. I have never been able to conform and I have never been any good at being told when to be a desk/place of work and when I can leave. I am now thankful writing is my job and I can fit all my work around my family life.  

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I enjoy reading any kind of book as long as it has great prose, interesting characters and an engaging plot. I read a lot of books for my podcast, Sniffing The Pages which goes out every two weeks, so as well as reading books for leisure, I also review books. I have just read a women’s fiction book by Holly Bourne and now I am reading Circe by Madeline Miller. 

What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?

There are many best things but I would say being able to completely create an entire world, characters and scenarios from nothing, put them on to paper for the world to read and enjoy.

The worst bit so far is the painful part of getting that first draft done when you know what you need to do but it’s a struggle to get there. However, once the first draft is done, it’s an enjoyable experience moulding and shaping the novel to the finished piece.

Nina Manning

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. She lives in Dorset.

Nina’s Author Profile Website Twitter Instagram Facebook

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Posted in Book Review

Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight – Jenni Fletcher @MillsandBoon @JenniAuthor @rararesources #HistoricalRomance #MedievalRomance #BlogBlitz #Extract 5* #Review #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical

Married to a perfect stranger

Reunited with her warrior husband

When Constance inherited her father’s lands she had no choice but to marry cold-hearted Matthew Wintour. He left her for the battlefield without even a wedding night. Five years later Matthew has returned—a valiant knight! But Constance is no longer a frightened girl. And this time she must reach out to discover the honourable man behind the armour and what pleasures await them in the marriage bed…

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

A lovely ‘marriage of convenience’ romance, set in medieval times. The historical setting is perfectly pitched, the time of ‘Robin Hood’ when King John wreaked havoc. There are historical notes from the author, which provide important information about the conventions of the time, and the political climate.

Constance and Mathew married five years earlier, when she was only fourteen, after a brief marriage service, nineteen-year-old Mathew went to fight for King John, in France. His return to claim his bride is a challenging time for both, but despite the awkwardness, there is a spark of attraction that gives them hope for the future for a marriage based on more than land and power.

Against a background of political intrigue, a gentle romance develops between the two strangers, that demonstrates their courage and compassion, for each other and those around them. The historical details and intrigue, give authenticity, and depth to the romantic story. The vividly written characters are in keeping with the historical time period.

Constance and Mathew’s story gives the reader a chance to escape to a time of rebellion and romance.

Extract – Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight Jenni Fletcher

Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight extract – Jenni Fletcher

This extract is taken from very early on in the novel. Constance and Matthew have just been reunited after five years apart (having met once, only briefly, for their wedding) and it hasn’t gone well. Matthew is on the verge of storming out when Constance calls him back.

‘Don’t!’ Constance waited until the very last moment, calling out as he lifted the door handle.

‘Why?’ Her husband looked back over his shoulder, his expression an unmistakable and somewhat intimidating blend of impatience and anger. ‘Was there something else you wished to accuse me of?’

She shook her head, wishing that she could go back and start the interview all over again. As it turned out, she’d guessed his identity correctly the previous evening, but meeting him in person had proven even more difficult than she’d anticipated. It had been hard enough confronting the man who’d usurped her inheritance and banished her from the home that she’d loved, but the sight of the daybed, drawn out from its usual place in the corner and set in the very centre of the room, had made things even worse. With her aunt’s advice still ringing in her ears, she’d felt like a condemned prisoner on her way to the gallows.

His appearance hadn’t helped. He’d looked just as stern as before, albeit less dishevelled in a pristine white tunic, dark breeches and black leather boots instead of the bizarrely pointed shoes the men in her uncle’s household had recently taken to wearing. Clean-shaven, however, his features had looked even sharper and more dangerous, while smiling still seemed beyond him, except for one small attempt which might easily have been mistaken for a grimace. The only softness about him was in his eyes, which seemed to belong in a different face altogether. They were a deep, almost black shade of brown, wide and soulful and fringed with lashes several shades darker than the rest of his blond-and-copper-streaked mane. There was something almost feminine about them, unlike the rest of him, which was undeniably, unequivocally, masculine.

She hadn’t been able to read his expression at first, but the way that he’d scowled as she’d crossed the room had made his feelings abundantly clear. Obviously, he’d been disappointed with his first sight of her, no doubt comparing her unfavourably to her cousins, though he might have tried to hide his reaction a little. Almost the very first words out of his mouth had been about her appearance and then all he’d said was that she’d grown! As if she wasn’t already keenly aware of the fact!

She’d entered the chamber determined to hide her true feelings and be ‘modest and obedient’ like her aunt had told her and then done the exact opposite, answering his questions with retorts and being generally belligerent instead. But how else could she have responded to his behaviour? ‘Modest and obedient’ were all very well, but surely that didn’t mean she had to tolerate disparaging looks and comments? Yes, she might have grown since their last meeting, but she could hardly do anything about that! And, yes, she might have been young when they’d married, but she certainly hadn’t been a child! She’d been more than capable of managing Lacelby! It was what she’d been trained for! Which her husband would have known if he’d actually bothered to speak to her on their wedding day. If he hadn’t just stolen her inheritance and left!

Jenni Fletcher is Scottish by birth but now lives in Yorkshire where she writes Medieval, Roman, Victorian and Regency romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull University and now teaches Creative Writing at a small university in the north of England. Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s northern.

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Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books

4#Review- Truman the Dog – My Furry Foster Family – Debbi Michiko Florence – Illustrator Melanie Demmer #childrensbooks #animals #rescue #dogs @DebbiMichiko @melaniedemmer

“T” is for Truman, tricks, and TROUBLE! Truman the black lab might be an older rescue dog, but he’s still got enough mischief beneath his collar to keep eight-year-old Kaita Takano and her animal-fostering family on their toes from morning till night. Chewed through and through, the playfully illustrated, Kaita-narrated chapter book promises plenty of canine fun.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Capstone via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There are lots of good things about this children’s story aimed at the five to seven age group. The story is well-paced, easy to understand and written in a fun, upbeat way. The illustrations are colourful and lovely, and they complement the text perfectly.

This book features the Takano family and their experiences, as they foster older rescue dog Truman. Told from Kaita, the daughter’s point of view, this story contains accurate descriptions of fostering a large dog both good and not so good, and manages to portray the dos and don’ts of fostering rescue animals, in an easily understandable and non-judgmental way.

This is more a diary of experiences than a story, but it is entertaining to read and does put the messages across well. It is also worth noting that the advanced reader copy I read is written in English (US), which does raise differences in spellings of keywords for the UK readers. Not a problem for adults, but may engender some confusion in young readers?

I like the sections at the back of the book, a glossary of terms, some questions to think about in relation to the story, and some activities. There is also a feature on the young girl and family who inspired the story, which is interesting.

This is part of a series of books on fostering animals, which will make educational and entertaining reading for the age group intended.

Author Bio:

Debbi Michiko Florence writes books for children in her writing studio, The Word Nest. She is an animal lover with a degree in Zoology and has worked at a pet store, the Humane Society, a raptor rehabilitation center, and a zoo. She is the author of two chapter-book series: Jasmine Toguchi (FSG) and Dorothy & Toto (Picture Window Books). A third-generation Japanese American and a native Californian, Debbi now lives in Connecticut with her husband, a rescue dog, a bunny, and two ducks.

Illustrator Bio:

Melanie is an American artist born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. She has been drawing since she was a little girl. Back then, her favorite canvas was pavement and her go to medium was sidewalk chalk. Nowadays, Melanie likes to create artwork digitally but also enjoys using watercolor, markers, colored pencils, and acrylic paint. Oh, and sometimes a pinch of glitter too! Melanie is a 2013 graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan where she earned a BFA in Illustration. The Michigan-native has since relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in illustration and design.